SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Friday, October 30, 2009

Viva la India!



I feel happy that my daughter is part of a schooling experience that really exposes her to different communities and cultures. I may have many other cribs about the school, but The Kendriya Vidyalaya schools have one thing that they offer children, an exposure to India and the essence of living in a cultural Pongal Pot(Pongal is a kind of Khichidi, or a rice and Dal mixture)!!
They have inspection days, basically days when the children yet again don't study but prepare cultural shows and programs. Don't harangue me, but sometimes I think they do nothing else, so that is my crib!
I cribbed about getting her dressed up yet again, just to stand there for the arrival of the chief guest.Yet she loves this, so ok, but please dont agree to every get up the teacher assigns to you, I told her. "Mean" you may think, but I have to draw the line somewhere, otherwise I will be stretching my creative abilities.
She had to go as a Maharashtrian girl. So some running around and I got her dressed up. She really looked good!. Cutie that she is !
I am not finished as yet. The point of this blog is what happened when she greeted the Chief Guest. It turned out he is a Maharashtrian, and he spoke to her in Marathi!!
...She is a smart Tamil cookie!! She managed to answer him; in English though.

Yet I wondered how she understood what he asked, and she says thats because she has a couple of Marathi friends, who keep talking in Marathi!!...
Wow, I thought, where else will my kid get such an exposure?
Viva la India!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Daughter and Mom time



Don't berate me on the quality of the pictures, but I just wanted to capture what my daughter and I landed up making after I saw these lovely Yarn Paintings. Yarn Paintings are part of North American Culture or so I am told. These were actually illustrations for a story "The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer" reviewed in Saffron Tree, as a part of their on going Book Review Festival.
You can follow this link to see that story review, and many others...click here
It is extremely simple and my daughter who is the creative one, really loved the idea. All you need is some yarn, wool in different shades and gum, paper. If you twirl the yarn around into concentric circles, it really looks good. I guess art is all about doing and experiencing.
She could not complete it and Sunday morning, she was at it without even brushing her teeth!!
The one above is hers, and the one below is mine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

For the Love of Blogging

I love this world of blogging.
I want to personally kiss and hug every person who I have read and identified with. (Or show them any other permissible form of affection!). I can see so many of my passions mirrored in others, so many thoughts that are similar, and so many life situations that are same.
It energizes me to see such thoughts and ideas bouncing back and forth within this electronic media, connecting people, connecting lives, connecting visions and dreams.

8years back, I remember raising my baby in isolated misery. Now I look at all the forums and blogs on babies and child rearing and amaze at the kind of information that is available for every one to see and share and learn from.
For all those who may ask whether I could not have accessed all this 8 years back. I don’t know. We had a computer and I remember my husband using it…but I kind of used to relegate it to his domain and never ventured too close. I really don’t know if internet was all that friendly, even 8 years back. Blogging, I think did not exist.
Any query was answered by the resident Paati, or Aunt, and you know where that would lead us to…Old is Gold and all that came later is pure Mould…!!
Dr. Spock gave some antiquated advice and what with cleaning poo and pee, and milking oneself like a cow, it felt like there really was no one who could understand.
Now I find so many women have shared similar times like mine and who went through similar difficulties. (Please find the rewind button for me, I wish to do everything again, aka, with a more informed outlook!)

Books are my other passion, and I am in Seventh Heaven. I amaze at the number of people who also share my love, and who are doing such creative and wonderful things with it (I read up about all the writers who contribute to this great blog called Saffron Tree).
I have told my husband a zillion times that any person who introduces me to a great book is my friend for life! I don’t forget them or the books they suggest.
My book shelf is an eclectic mix of philosophy, fiction, non-fiction, and children’s authors. Throw in some classics, from my “classic phase” during college, some picturesque cyclopedias, and many, many slim fit books from CBT. I don’t even throw away the textbooks, kept my English readers and collection of poems too!!
My inheritance!! Heirlooms to be passed on! (God knows whether the inheritors, my daughter/son, will praise me or curse me for this)

Story telling and Travel: any and every passion of mine has been written about and is being written about. I feel like Charlie with the Golden Ticket in my hand, and with a click of a button I can transport myself into any land, to savor the flavors of Interest and Passion.

I thought I was just MRK (Married and Raising Kids), but having unearthed my interest in writing and also finding conveniently anonymous readers who I don't have to actually know.
It gives me immense pleasure to be a part of the online writing world, where any one is a great writer, everyone has something to say, and it is our prerogative to be read!!
(I am just another Blogger, trying to leave some of my bits and bytes on this electronic terrain for others to relish!!)
Happy Blogging

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Here is the Ganges

 

 
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Here is the Ganges. Serene, and peaceful, she is the narrowest here. I believe she is only 20 metres deep here. This place is called Bithoor, about 30Km from where we live in Kanapur. It has one of 3 temples to Lord Brahma on it's shores. If you expect a beautiful temple, it is disappointment time. There is a small shrine which says, Brahmesvar that's all.
It is dirty in parts, more muddy than dirt. I would say it is much cleaner than what I expected. A lot of effort is being put into keeping the Ganges clean especially in these parts. There is one organisation called "ecofriends" here, that is doing a lot of work on the Ganges.
There is not much to see, but one can do some boating here. We got into one. It is fairly a medium sized one and we did a peaceful turn of the Ganges. My husband was asking for the Mae vests..(hahah..Traveling abroad does that to you!!)

It was quite thrilling for me to see the river, as I imagined the many Kings and Sages who had touched this river. It is the river of our Myths. It made me feel minute in the wake of it's immortality.
It also connects Kanpur to many other cities and we sat wondering how many different people and things would have gone up and down this river. So many colours and hues would have used this river... for so many different purposes...

Near this Ghat is a shrine to the Sai Baba, a beautiful temple, similar to the shrine in Shirdi. We paid homage, took the prasad, and returned back to Kanpur.
A simple peaceful day, well spent. My husband too had a good break.

A New beginning

He stared at the ocean with unseeing eyes. There was no other place to come, but here. No where else would he be able to synchronize with the roar that he felt within his heart. They beat in tandem.
The waters beat relentlessly against an indefinite shore, while his heart beat within unable to break free. So many thoughts and feelings confined within his mind begged for release but he refused them that relief. He held back the tears, the feelings, the emotions.

How many times had he come here with her? How many times had he run circles around her on this very same sand? Sometimes tickling her with his humor, bringing a smile to her face (Oh, how he loved to see her smile), and sometimes irritating her with his incessant words and queries.
She never let him out of her sight. Yet her control was not blatant, just a little subtle, as she constantly challenged him and his immature view of the world. They had a bond that not many shared, nor could understand. A relationship soaked in many hues and chiseled by many facets.
The understanding and the bond was inborn, not taught, and he had always felt that a part of her was in him. A part that taught him to respect and acknowledge. A part that taught him equality, a part that helped him see reality, a part that would make him what he was meant to be.
He could feel the emptiness within him, an ache, a slow tearing of the soul. He stood at the threshold of adulthood, and so desired to have her with him. To see him grow into the man that she had wanted him to be, the man she had created and nurtured.

Is any one prepared for death, when it wishes to enter your doors too soon, or too suddenly? What about those who are left behind?

He stared vacantly at the twilit horizon, and tried to merge his soul with the waters. The waters apparently silent but seething within. Eddies and currents that one cannot make out, dancing to distant strings distant powers. He felt the same powers acting in his life, the same seethe within and the apparent calm outside.

He had seen the slow decline, felt the pain of disease in her. The cruel treatment’s disfigurement and the agony of knowing life was a declining plane. The impact on her was not less than on him. As he learnt to handle his own feelings and present a brave shoulder to her. She had to accept this final blow and yet face it with equanimity, at least for his sake.

When death happens suddenly, then we cannot comprehend the loss, it takes a while to understand, a long while to reconcile. While death that comes after a slow and agonizing waiting period is like dousing water over burnt skin. The relief is immediate; we are relieved that our loved one is free from pain. Yet like burnt skin, the scar remains forever, etched in the heart and mind, a constant reminder of the suffering that one witnessed and experienced.

Unable to share his thoughts and unwilling to let go of his cascading emotions, he had sought the ocean to unburden himself. Just staring at the inky black sky he could feel his own insignificance and minuteness. He could literally feel the unseen powers helping him sort out his turbulent insides. He felt the unknown touch. A strange calm descended over him. He felt lighter. He knew what he had to do.
As one life disappears another appears to take its place. So also he felt his insides calm down of their own accord. He could hear her voice gently reminding him of the greater struggles ahead of him, and the challenges he still had to face. To make a life that would be meaningful to him and to others. He knew she would want him to fight through this turmoil, to succeed and not make her a cause for his failure. This thought eddied through his mind and he allowed himself to hear her voice. The tears started.

Any end is just a window to a new beginning.

He now willed himself to make a new beginning.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dedicated to A Soul

People inspire me to write more than things/objects. I am that way. The events and circumstances, personality and thought processes that go into making an individual fascinates me. Their history, their lifestyle, their individual preferences,problem solving abilities...
There are some people I revere, am in awe of. Some are my closest confidants. Some I keep my distance and then there are some others, who I would like to emulate, just try to be like them, but something basic called "my personality" comes in the way!

I talk with one person in mind specifically, it was this person's birthday today. Not being a computer geek, she will not know I write about her, nor am I going to tell her. Please don't think I am going to belittle her, in fact today I am doing the opposite, I want to take time to describe her to all of you, and make you the judge.

These are souls,(I cannot call them human beings because they have transcended to a greater level) who touch every one with their spirit. Positive, cheerful, never a negative word or thought.They go through life accepting and living in the moment. Atleast thats how they come across, I guess even if they have negative thoughts, they channelize it to something positive...

Simple, they don't have over annoying ambitions/goals or thoughts. They seem to infuse their spirit into the world around them. People automatically open and speak to them. Their simplicity and ability to listen, being in-born and not learnt. (Right from the garden sweeper, to the Commanding officer, who made it a point to wish her first thing on this morning, have been touched by that inner warmth that she radiates.)

These are people who don't have fancy degrees, but loads of common sense and practical living. Somehow when they speak or do things it seems right and things fall into the proper perspective.

Is it the mind-fullness that is talked about? Are these people the mindful ones?

They live the moment, they enjoy the act of doing now, they have no other thought or preoccupation.

When a person retains his/her simplicity and is able to live the moment aware of his/her own limitations.
A person who has confidence in their own capabilities, without being confounded by past mistakes or regrets of what could have been or should have been.
A person who is spontaneous in their gratitude, who gives without a moments hesitation.
A person who automatically looks at the solution and not the problem.
What do you call them...

A soul

When we find such a soul, we need to hold their personalities in our minds, to use and emulate at opportune times. Some may not see the point in this. But I tell you as a person who is on this endless search for the self, it makes me wonder whether I am not in search of a false identity.

Is that other job going to make me a better person?
Would marrying some one else have made me more successful?
Or living in another city given me better opportunities?
What if I had done something else?
Why could I have not had little more intelligence/confidence?
Blah...Blah...

These questions are worth asking providing, they lead us onto the path of happiness...and not despair...

Intelligence does contribute to better choice making, but more I look around me, I find that mindful living is the key behind happiness.

Finding happiness in even the smallest activity, doing that minute thing with our complete self, be it washing dishes or preparing for a big presentation...it helps to be here and now...

Friday, October 9, 2009

burning bridges

It’s about burning bridges. I don’t want to bore one and all about my past, my history, but I have this chronic problem that I land up burning bridges…
Please don’t think I am some naxalite…
The bridge I talk about is the one we create when we pass from one phase in our lives into the next. I can very clearly de-mark things into neat categories. Every category has a bridge linking it to the next stage, and these are the bridges I am talking about.

Bridges are great as it marks a mental spot where and when we make a paradigm shift in many ways. A shift in perspective or a shift in maturity, a physical move in terms of space, or a mental move in terms of feelings/thoughts/insights.
I like bridges. For me these bridges, that I can so clearly visualize, were gigantic in terms of dimension and depth. I look back and literally see how I changed and altered at every such bridge…
But the people who I met and who were such integral parts of every phase are no longer any part of me. That is what I mean by burning bridges.
Inseparable friends who don’t figure in my life in any way today. In each phase I made some very close friends, but once I crossed the bridge I was/am unable to keep in touch with them. (Is it only me or does it happens to people?)
These were valuable people and I only wish that I had kept in touch, taken that extra effort, maintained my balance.
It is true that through the internet and with communication as it is now, where we don’t have to rely only on telephones/snail mails, connectivity and communication are much better. I am back in touch with the same people that I so missed in life. Yet the time that I lost not keeping in touch with them will always rankle. I feel I had isolated myself into a cocoon and now only emerge out to view the world. To see how the world has changed while I have not!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Why things happen the way they do??

I am really bugged and irritated. Why is it that whenever I expect something I am disappointed?
I believe He gives every one a fair share of negatives and positives. In that I have been given an overdose of tolerance and patience.How I detest being known as the patient one( though this status did change moderately post marriage), that aspect of me (impatience) was reserved for my family to see. So for the general public, I was still the "Patient one".
Can I get it exchanged? Please tell me where I can borrow and internalise some intolerance and kick ass attitude...
I want to scream and shout and yell and hit. Why should I bear stoic face and say that it doesn't matter and there must be a logical valid reason, why? why???
Ok that feels better...
The feeling for all this came from this:
I volunteered to do a puppet show, for the Ladies Club, as it was Navarathri time and I have this nice story on Mahishasuramardhini. So far so good. As the date of the show neared, I fell ill and did not feel upto doing the show, which required some practice with another person. Well, before that I must say that the script had to be translated into Hindi, but I found a willing and capable person for that, who was also willing to give the voice over for that.
We practiced for just 2 days. And I had to get my puppets online too..They were stick puppets and what with our moving and transfer, some puppets were quite damaged and I had to make new ones. Some other puppets I found would be too small for the large stage on which the show was to be done, so I had to enlarge the puppets. Quite a bit of work, but pleasurable, and not too time consuming I must say..

The rehearsal went well and with minor hitches, when the power went off , the Show on the final day also went off very well. Everyone appreciated the uniqueness of the programme...I was elated and floating...after all I tell children, and even when adults enjoy it, it makes one feel great....

The problem is when I went to get the photos, so that I could blog about it...

I couldn't believe that the cameraman had not taken even one snap of the show...??!!
My folly was not having someone take snaps with my camera, I just assumed as this was a show in the unit, I would be able to take the snaps from them.
Why? What Happened? Did the cameraman have a fainting spell and fall down flat when my programme was on, only to recover immediately after and take snaps of every person alive there?? Was he so bored/uninterested/disgusted/apathetic to my show, he could not take pictures of it? What the h*** happened?
I was and am furious.
The feelings that swell from inside me is inexplicable. I may be over reacting. I do and I will, I don't care.
But is this fair?...

The worst feeling in life is when you go with expectation, and it is totally annihilated in a moments turn of events. That is the worst feeling.

I know I rationalized it, calmed myself down, talked to myself, told my husband to give the camera guy a piece of his mind( he is from Hubby's unit).
Yet...a disappointment will be a disappointment..and I feel cheated, after all I wanted a few measly snaps to feel good for myself, and why am I being denied that?...
Sometimes I feel most things happen this way with me...

I know I am feeling sorry for myself, please bear with me...after all where else can I pour my heart out...and indulge myself in a little bit of misery. I can only do it in words, cos my public image demands I be patient and tolerant and mature about such things...

I will get down to the end of this mystery of "The photos that were not taken"...