Why do we let out a loud cry as we come into this world and have a peaceful silence as we go?
Do we know this life would be of conflicts and to go means we’ve resolved each one of them?
Why do we dream and why doesn’t every dream turn into reality?
Is it saving us from our dark dreams or is it depriving us of a bright one?
Why do we struggle to survive?
Are we looking for an absolute constant and can’t come to terms with the variable reality?
Why is it that what we want doesn’t happen?
Are we thinking too much and working too little? Or is it the other way around?
Why do we smile and others smile back?
Do we also cry when others do or have we even stopped smiling back?
Why can’t it all remain simple?
Does a complicate path define our victory? Does simple equals easy and not worthy?
Why do we have questions all the time?
Maybe we are in search of answers all the time.
Why ask the same question again and again?
Maybe we want these answers to fit in our present.
Why? Why? Why?
Maybe and just maybe, we want to become less wrong than we are.
‘This way sister’, ‘salwaar set hundered rupees only’, ‘You are looking nice’, ‘DDLJ parallels also available’, ‘See my side once sister’, ‘ ‘many patterns’, ‘Sister’, ‘Sister’…
Before the culture of malls and franchises there existed a complex full of shops. There were neither fragrances nor air conditioning at such places. These shops didn’t give big size advertisements on the roadside hoardings. They neither collected information like email address/name/birthday/how did they hear about the shop from people who bought clothes in their shop. They still did business. I was once their customer too. In the 90s and early 2000s Bangalore’s Majestic, Malleshwaram, Gandhi Bazaar, Jayanagar had such complex and shops. They still do. There used to be many sales boys at the front door who’d keep shouting those phrases, you know, ‘this way sister’ sorts, so that people walking in become their customers and buy clothes from their shops. I think most of the sales boys were less good at sales and took this exposure as an opportunity to tease girls. I remember pacing in as fast as possible to a shop which had none of those boys and had one or more women in the shop sales team. Generally in our family, shopping was a rare affair and yet I dreaded the whole experience of shopping for clothes, footwear and accessories as a teenager. There was a fear for no wrong doing of mine. I expressed my hatred for such teasers. I suggested we must teach them a lesson. Like every girl I was told to ignore them. There were many shops in many cities; I was asked how I could change everyone. They convinced me that it was a society menace. I didn’t have the courage to battle it all by myself. The helplessness had turned into my irritation for shopping. Then I grew up. So did the malls and franchise stores. I used to find them very expensive and yet would go onto buy only because I didn’t want to go through the ‘sales boys’ harassment. I wonder how many girls like me put an end to these small shops and drove to chain stores in the malls, for this reason. I worry how many didn’t / couldn’t and have to still go through this. For many years I had a suspicious eye for every sales representative, even the genuine. Probably, I still do. The way business is done might have changed over the years, but, the picture isn’t rosy yet.
We still have teasers in ‘many patterns’, in all lengths and forms. They are not only in these markets, they could be anywhere.
I was reading a book called ‘An elegy for easterly’ by Petina Gappah. In one of her short story she mentions a Zimbabwe market where a sales boy calls out ‘Sister, sister, this way’. When I read this, like a jolt the Alankar Plaza and sales boys that I thought I’d kicked out from the deep and dark corners of my memories, came back in a lightning speed with their haunting voice calling out ‘this way sister’. However this time, I wouldn’t walk away with fear. I say NO to teasing and bullying. Teasing is an ugly social behaviour.
A new year has begun offering us another chance to pick our new canvas to paint with colours of our choice. I wish this year brings happiness and peace to all. Any New Year resolutions you may ask? Unusually, I’ve begun many things along the way in 2017 that I’d want to keep going for in 2018. I want 2018 to give me the patience to pursue them with conviction and perseverance.
Like every year we shall grow older and hopefully wiser too. What do I wish for to happen in 2018? I wish to lessen the chaos in my headspace and help me open up for experiences. A less chaotic space in the head is a better home for fruitful thoughts. I wish to nurture ideas that can bring about positivity; positivity in my thoughts, words and action. I wish to love unconditionally. I wish to quieten my ego, to remove any pain of guilt, to become my own and remain comfortable under my skin. I wish to strengthen my body, mind and soul. I wish to have more hygge time. I wish to wilfully be in the present. I wish to read more, hear more and travel more which allows the immense knowledge to pour in. I wish to keep it simple.
I’ve realised numbered goals are making less and less sense for me. I want to continue to have fun at my fitness classes. It would simply erase the happiness if I start to tell myself that my fitness goal is to lose ‘X’ kilos. I want to continue to have fun with the words that feeds my brain while I read stories, essays and blogs. It would burden me if I tell myself to read ‘Y’ books every week / month / year. I want to continue to have fun sharing my thoughts in my writing. I do not want to mark a tick at the end of 2018 with ‘Z’ blogs in my list of ‘what I did in 2018’. I know sometimes deadlines and numbers can help us push our boundaries to conquer better results. But, isn’t it a good idea to also give focus on the journey rather than just the destination? Every time I travel I realise it’s the journey that formulates our experience and learning which is far more satisfying than the mere destination which without a doubt shall give us a sense of victory.
Well, well.. 2018 has begun well. The supermoon illuminated our skies.
I read some amazing books in 2017 which spoke out to me elevating my moods with inspiration, humour and perspectives. It continues to echo its waves for 2018. I’m currently reading ‘A man called, Ove’ by Fedrick Backman, a Swedish writer. It’s a story of an angry old man next door. As I read halfway into this book I’ve begun to adore Ove. He’s angry, but, he’s also a hero. What I like about this book is, it’s a story narrated in such a way that anybody from anywhere could relate to it. I recommend this book for its simplicity. You could also watch the movie if you prefer.
During Christmas holidays I happened to spend some fun time painting this:
The season changed. A cold winter is right here giving us a chill. It’s been many weeks since I blogged here. I haven’t been busy at all. In these weeks I have been taking it slow. Doing one thing at a time and doing it at ease. It’s a self prescribed therapy to untie those knots in my body and mind.
In my world – multi-tasking is a norm, being busy is a norm, working hard is a norm and relaxing is usually meant for vacation. I’ve been a very competitive kid too. I have this urge to excel in anything I do. This pattern probably resulted in critiquing every move I make and my mind is forced to be very hard on me. There is also an enthusiasm to push my boundaries which would eventually burn me out, but, I wouldn’t slow down or stop. This kind of lifestyle is definitely full of energy.
Also, I enjoy discussions. The varied topic offers my brain with something new to learn. It’s a perfect meal for my butterfly brain.
So, being the quiet and slow would mean days are going to be different. This can get me very uncomfortable. You could imagine what a leap my mind has taken to challenge me with such behavioural change and has ironically decided to call it a ‘therapy’. There is nothing wrong in being either fast and furious or quiet and slow. It’s just a challenge to bring a new perspective in my life. I’m beginning to practice a quiet and slow life. I’ve started the process of slowing down with simple things like, appreciating the time I’ve got, acknowledging how grateful I am to have this life, taking care of every cell in my body, encouraging myself to read more and speak less.
Let’s see how this journey goes.
I’ve become a big fan of ‘movement’, in it’s very literal sense. I enjoy going to the park for a walk, jog or run. There are three ways I enjoy such moments. One, I quiet down to hear my heart beat giving the rhythm, breeze tuning in like a flute, birds joining in with their chorus to transform the distant voice to a high volume music. Second, it’s time to have a conversation with myself, the deep dialogue necessary to get my shit together or a peppy talk to up my spirits. Third, I’m walking beside marido and we are having some funny conversation or narrating stories. Essentially my best hour of the day.
Last week my thoughts were something like this:
‘Ever since I was born, the earth has revolved around the sun for just thirty one times. I’ve seen thirty one summers and thirty one winters. In these years so much has changed – the way this planet looks, the way we look, the way we travel, the way we communicate, and the way we think. Thirty one, might make you think I’ve centred myself in this story. That isn’t true, but, what’s true is I could be my only reference. When I was born I didn’t know I’d walk so many miles and leave my footprint in so many places across this globe. Every travel, every place and every person I’ve interacted with have gone into a special space in my memory map.’
‘It’s also crazy when you realise there is absolutely no-one who has walked exact, same-to-same life as that of yours. You must know you are so unique that even with time travel no one would be able to repeat all the things you’ve done at that point in time. You and only you’ve got the magic trick to time travel on the moments you froze in your brain disk.’
Mind jumps like a monkey and leaves no trail. At the end of an hour of walk, jog or run I wonder where did the conversation begin and how did it flip through so many topics.
I started reading Amy’s ‘Yes Please‘. She starts off by narrating her early days on stage playing less interesting roles. She explains her urge to blurt random new dialogue on stage and how it turned out funny. Reading her memoir I was taken back to my school days where I was dragged into a handful number of plays. I was far too focused on delivering right and I never thought much about the role I was given. While I was five, I was transformed into a vegetable girl with necklace of carrots, chilli belt and brinjal bangles for a fancy dress. Seriously, a vegetable girl! starts here and doesn’t get any better. We did a play for environment day. It was called ‘mara mathanadithu’ (a tree spoke). Moral of the play was to stop cutting trees. We who played various roles were a gang of girls who grew up in the same neighborhood. We’d practice this play for about 15 plus days in a park at our layout. Everyday after school we would get together and practice for hours. Everyone struggled practicing their dialogues and emotions. A friend and I had a very crucial role to play, yet, didn’t need any practice. We were the trees. Seriously, trees! They could have kept cardboard, but, no. We were made to attend every practice session. I wish I blabbered some ghostly dialogues while we were on stage. Cheap thrills! Ha ha.
Well Well.. On a serious note, I think my love for nature grew all the more after we performed this play. Last weekend we went camping amidst the Exmoor National Park. It was our first camping and trust me the preparation felt more like shifting home than vacation. Marido and I went crazy with shopping, packing and traveling. As we drove into the national park, mesmerizing country side view started to tell us that it was worth the efforts. The farm we camped was almost at the heart of this national park. We had our lunch and got on to making our tent. It was a struggle and finally after a good 45 minutes we’d built our home. We wanted to slide in and sleep for hours, but hey, getting our barbecue ready was on our mind. Delicious food v/s Good sleep, the great battle of mankind.
The facilities in the camping farm were amazing. The showers, cleaning and washing areas were very convenient and made our stay comfortable. The nights got biting cold. Even with our additional quilt and pull-over we shivered all the way. We got so occupied with small walks, cooking with the charcoal, washing vessels and arranging everything in our car. In the spare time we either lazed around on the grass under the beautiful sky and read some stories or watched others build their tent or saw the ducks and hens walking around the farm. Amidst all of this two days flew by. This camping was in no which way ‘rough’. Even then, it checked our endurance and definitely made me thank for the home and comfort I have in this life. If someone asked how my camping experience has been, I wouldn’t say ‘I loved camping’, ‘I’m excited to do another this weekend’ or ‘this was a relaxing vacation’. I think I’d say ‘I’d camp again probably next year and we’d prepare even better’.
That’s my raspberry lemonade cocktail in a plastic glass. ‘To nature. To camping’, Cheers.