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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

PLAYING THE GAME OF LIFE

While in a thoughtful frame of mind I pondered over the much discussed assertion -Is life akin to a half full or half empty glass? However the analogy is debatable because to characterize it one way or the other depends on each person’s own take on life. Life as such appears to be a spectrum of hopes, despairs, paradoxes, contradictions, incertitude and much much more. There are no constants in it. That is why the Existentialists say,

Man is always in the process of becoming.’ Every day is a new day, a new challenge.

There can’t be any objective definition of life. For Soren Kierkegaard the Danish philosopher ‘life is all about subjectivity.’ The fluidity of life defies all logic. As a simplistic statement let it be said that it is an ever-changing collage of myriad patterns, drawn by some unseen power, which is steering the fortunes of the inhabitants of this mysterious universe.

A cynic’d say, life is a Big hassle but there is no escape and we are condemned to live it.

Then some say life is like two inseparable sides of a coin, thereby sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. When your mental baggage is too overwhelming, nothing gives comfort. To escape the heat of the plains you rush to the hills and life’s hassles are transported with you there. You do require a few minutes of uninterrupted solitude for a rendezvous with your self in the form of introspection, meditation or a soliloquy but modern day hullabaloo and maddening distractions keep interfering. Is there any escape out of this maze of life’s ‘givens’? ‘No way’ say the ‘existentialists.’

So we’ll have to extract some meaning out of the absurdities of our life by being the masters of our life. The French writer Albert Camus emphasized this approach in his critique “The Myth of Sisyphus” which is a great book to comprehend the predicament of our stay in this world.

The other side of the same coin is a diehard motivator. It exhorts you to seize the moment, enjoy the exuberance of those transitory moments which make you soar in the sky by giving you imaginary wings of which dreams are made of. Time is fleeting; the darkness on the other side follows you like a shadow. Brooding and wining won’t take you anywhere. Wishing wells are for those who act and not for those who decry their fate and wallow in inertia. Flex your muscles and make grass greener wherever you go.

The basic truth is that, duality is juxtaposed inherently in our existence. Life is a paradigm of co-existing opposites. Happiness is insignificant without pain or sorrow.

Therefore let’s not allow joyful moments pass by unnoticed. Let’s drink life to the lees like Homer’s ‘Ulysses.’ Thomas Hardy’s classic statement in his ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ sums up the reality of life thus, “Happiness is an occasional episode in the general drama of pain.”

Life’s joys are akin to a spider’s web, so marvellous, intricate and ethereal which appears like magic on a special morning and disappears as suddenly. Likewise life springs surprises here and there to keep us beguiled. Indeed the show has to go on. Sagacity demands not to go over the top, rather try to take things easy. Flow with the waves of time and don’t push too hard, is the lesson worth remembering.

Monday, February 27, 2012

CHANDIGARH ROSE FESTIVAL

Finally we did make it to the Rose Garden Chandigarh, on Sunday, the last day of the three day annual Rose Festival.Thanks to dear hubby who drives me wherever and whenever I request him to oblige. From the crowds on the adjacent roads, it looked as if all roads led to only one destination i.e. Rose Garden. It was a gala affair for the residents of Chandigarh, my city of yester years. To reach the entrance after wading your way through the milling crowds spoke volumes about the popularity of the festival. The entrance was embellished with taste and elegance and there was a display of photographs of major varieties of roses in a covered area which was also done
very beautifully. Once in,  there were two ubiquitous sights - roses and roses all the way  and crowds and crowds all the way.There are hundreds of varieties of roses in eye catching hues of red,white, yellow and pink growing in beds of all shapes and sizes and inviting one and all to have a visual feast of their bountiful beauty and soak in their sweet fragrance.
Men, women, young boys and girls, children and couples like us who believe that life start at sixty, all were there in their fashionable best and enjoying the  captivating beauty of the thorny bushes adorned with magnificent blossoms. There was



clicking of photographs contageously, posing in front of rose beds and some figurines - a butterfly, a camel, a woman carrying a pitcher on her head- prepared with petals which were hot favourites for pretty damsels and excited children.What was most observable was the nonchalance and gay abandon flowing in the the body  language of those present in that isolated world of immense splendour. Such are the moments which one longs for in the stressful world of today. Forgetting all their worries and despairs everybody was feeling blessed, at least that was the overall impression which was manifest on their faces. People were also showing keen interest in watching singing and dancing performances presented by troupes from various states and students from local colleges.
Actually it was the childern who were making the most of this festival. Across the road there were exciting joyrides and swings and so many other entertainment mediums. There were plethora of rubber toys sold by urchins who had come from other states to sell their wares. Outside there were stalls selling fruit chat and fast food items.
Chandigarh aministration did  a wonderful job of arranging an event of such magnitude so successfully. Three cheers for the members of the team who were at the helm of affairs.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I LOVE FLOWERS

Dear friends, here is the first picture ever which I've transferred on my blog. This one is just average, but i think okay as a first try.
My front and backyard are having these flowers blooming to glory in small beds and in pots. A visual feast with resplendent  hues of purple, yellow, orange, pink and white. The petals are narrow and thin, but strong. The unique thing is that these open their petals in the morning in sunlight and close with the setting of the sun.
I don't know their botanical name but my gardener calls them 'Barf.' These have small thick leaves and grow hardly four inches above the ground.
These have enlivened my surroundings and invite me to stroll around many times during the day. I bow my head in gratitude to this boon of beauty and freshness.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

THE AGONY OF LOSING INTERNET CONNECTION

Dear blog friends, I was off the World Wide Web for almost ten agonizing days because of the inefficient handling on the part of those who are supposed to look after the functioning of broadband connectivity. I felt like a lost child who got separated from his parents in the crowded fair and though was offered all the goodies which he had been asking his parents for, yet he only wanted to be reunited with his parents.
I took internet connectivity for granted (till this black out) and blessed the people who were manning it. How naïve of me to be so unrealistic! In our country expecting an uninterrupted supply of any service is like asking for the stars. And here I was enjoying constant broad band connectivity and without giving a thought about how lucky I had been.
My hubris got busted when our landline phone went dead and with it I lost the internet connection. Complaints got registered with BSNL our service provider. After enough heartburn and desperate reminders the telephone connection got restored. But I never expected that our internet facility’d be severed in the process. That is exactly what has happened. All these days I’ve been deprived of something which has become as important as food and sleep. Nothing matters any more. I only want the internet like the lost child crying for his parents. But I am wallowing in helplessness and haplessness. It is the eighth day and two personal visits to the facility and a number of phone calls notwithstanding, no light is visible at the end of the tunnel yet. In frustration I’ve been pestering dear hubby to ring here and ring there and the calls went unanswered. So my fate hangs in balance. Three days back I was hoping that the work force in the department will join their duty after three holidays all refreshed and‘d be hurrying to redress the complaints of the hapless consumers. How stupid of me to expect such a treat!

But for how long I am to grope in the dark and not provided any relief in spite of crying hoarse? Helpless like the lost child I’m crying for my rights.

Dear friends, the connection got restored just now and here I’m.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

AN UNFORGETTABLE VISIT TO GRANDMA'S VILLAGE

It was more than half a century back; I was about seven or eight when my mother took us along to visit her mother my Nani. It was always a pleasure to go to meet grandma. She was a great woman-blue eyed, tall, healthy and full of life. She used to greet us with open arms as if on seeing us she had been blessed with some treasure. Love poured out of her being like rain from heaven.
We’d stay with her for a few days and I remember seeing her running around doing chores and making something special for us. On this visit by chance, one of my cousins was also there. She was much older than I and well versed in village life as my aunt (her mother) was married in a landowning family in a nearby village. However, in my heart of hearts I was resenting her presence, especially when I noticed grandma showing equal affection to her as well. I didn’t like grandma dividing her attention. In my innocence I thought that grandma was wholly and solely mine. I couldn’t hide my feelings and asked my cousin, “Is she your grandma too?” Her amusing look implied that I’d asked a stupid question. Soon, however, I got reconciled to her presence and became friendly with her.
One of these days I accompanied her to the farmhouse which was about half a kilometer away, where my grandpa had kept milch cattle and two pairs of oxen. A young looking farmhand looked after and fed the cattle and yoked the oxen to plough the fields for sowing crops. On that day my cousin was entrusted to carry out a specific task of milking the buffalo and bringing the milk, the job which grandma used to do.
To reach the place we had to cross a small, low, wooden bridge, built over a narrow water body. But as we came near the bridge what did I see floating in the water? - A bright red thick cloth filled with something and tied with a red thread. I noticed it instantly and pointed to my cousin. Without waiting I took hold of a stick, approached the bank and started pulling it towards me. I got hold of it and unknotted it. I don’t recall exactly what it contained but it had strange objects like red chillies, a tiny black ugly doll and small portions of other substances. It didn’t interest me much and at the insistence of my cousin it was pushed into the water again. I was too young and ignorant to know what it was and why it was there. I was simply attracted to it as a curious child does to something new. And like a child’s short attention span forgot about it there and then.
We reached the farmhouse soon after and my cousin got busy. She took some water and washed the teats of the buffalo one by one and then placing the pail in between her knees, started squeezing the teats with the fingers and thumbs turned inside of both her hands and lo, streaks of milk started falling into the pail. She took a pair of teats alternately till there was no milk left. I watched her though the smell of cow dung repulsed me and then off I went to explore the place. I stepped into a large room where mountains of chaff were stacked for the cattle. Outside birds were tweeting in a maddening frenzy on the dense ring of trees as if settling territorial hegemony at the end of the day. The atmosphere was eerie as the sun had set and the fiery afterglow created a mystifying aura around the trees. Till my cousin called me I remained absorbed in the novelty of the surroundings.
Finally we came back with the pail of milk. After dinner I went to sleep as usual. But in the morning when I got up, I felt awfully sick and was running temperature. Grandma got worried. She made enquiries. At this my cousin blurted the previous day’s incident out. Alarm bells rang immediately in the household as I had touched something dangerous, something which was the act of sorcery meant to harm whosoever looked at it first or touched it. Grandma was furious at my cousin for not preventing me from doing what I did, as she had known the implication of the acts of black magic so rampant in villages those days.
Grandma right away went to fetch the village priest who passed off as an herbalist as well as a trouble shooter for the village folks. In no time he came with grandma. There was an air of concern and uneasiness. I could make out that some kind of ritual was to be performed. Preparations followed. The priest- tall and straight, clad in a loose ankle length white shirt and donning a white turban took off his shoes and entered the room. He made me sit on a mat on the floor. My mom sat by me with my baby brother in her lap. He squatted in front of me on a sheet spread for him. I was asked to narrate the previous evening’s misadventure. Then he instructed me to close my eyes and to concentrate on the thumb of my right hand which was slightly extended in front and report whatever I’d see with my shut eyes. I was overawed and felt worse than before but did what I was told. The priest started chanting mantras and I think even made peculiar gestures. It was all weird. After a considerable passage of time he stopped chanting and made me open my eyes and describe what I had seen.
To speak the truth I did see an image clearly- a family sitting around a sick child’s bed in the courtyard. A few more questions and it became clear to grandma and the priest as to who had done that evil magic with malevolent intention of transferring the sickness onto somebody else. Grandma conferred with him in whispers and he seemed to be reassuring her. Thereafter he went away. The upside was that I felt okay by the evening and we came back the next day.
The imprint of that incident has dwelt in the recesses of my subconscious as a fossil all these years. Many times I’ve pondered over that happening in retrospect. I can’t comment on the rationality or otherwise of my conclusion. But since I was directly involved in the event I do find a clear correspondence between my falling ill due to the evil spell and subsequently my getting well without taking any medicine- to the disabling of the evil power by the priest with his mantras. I can vouch for the images which I saw and described.

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Dear friends, please give your impressions of the incident in comments section. 
image courtesy Google.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD FOR ME


Liebster means ‘dearest’ in German (Source)


I've been nominated for this award by Pattu who is an enthusiastic organic gardener. She is blessed with magical green fingers and grows vegetables and flowers in her terrace garden successfully. She perseveres to cultivate her hobby of experimenting with new techniques for growing her favorite plants.

She has a keen sense of photography and expresses herself  beautifully in her write ups.She is a great inspiration for would be gardeners.

Her blog: gardenerat60.wordpress.com has an apt header “Pattu’s Terrace Garden”

Thank you so much Pattu for being an affectionate blog friend throughout.-:)))





Accepting the award I nominate my favorite blog:

http://theadventuriouswriter.com/

Laurie P K is the creator of Quips and Tips blog series and has authored several e-Books. She is  Vancouver based freelancer and in her Quips and Tips for successful writers, she uses her unique style of pairing quips of various authors with tips of her own for helping writers to write better. I’ve benefited immensely by her articles. She is altruistic by nature and exudes charm.

here are the rules ( copied )
Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
Pick (up to) 5 other blogs who fit within the award parameters (less than 200 followers). -I am not sure about this .
Inform them that you have chosen them by leaving a comment on their blog.
Copy and post the award on your blog .

My sincere thanks to all  readers of my blog and request them to post their comments. It'd mean a lot to me.



Thursday, February 9, 2012

TRAFFIC MESS ON INDIAN ROADS

Travelling is not only travail but a downright nightmare in India today. No mode of transport is reliable anymore. You get a seat booked in the train and you reach the station on time, only to be told that the train has been cancelled because at some point the agitating farmers are squatting on the track. In the corridors of power files move only, when the aggrieved party adopts an agitational approach and the general public is inconvenienced like hell. The other option of going by air remains botched more often than not, owing to strikes by staff or unfavorable weather conditions or man made glitches. Now if you opt for the third option i.e. driving in your own car if the distance is short, don’t expect any smooth sailing either. Consider it a windfall if you reach your destination unobstructed.

My own experience of driving (with my husband) from Amritsar to Patiala has a story to tell. Amritsar is notorious for its maddening melee on the roads. The bus and truck drivers blare horns continuously and scare you to no end. They take recourse to brazen aggression and recklessness to make their way out of the crazy rush.

But the crowded roads simply can’t contain so many aggressively driven and overloaded vehicles and some ridiculously oversized contraptions with narrow snouts and abnormally wide rears grazing and denting cars with impunity, without a glance behind. When stuck in serpentine queues of vehicles- which happens every other day- people outdo each other in going ahead and causing complete breakdown of rules and stonewalling any movement of the traffic. The scenario shifts to harrowing jams which run into miles and no body moving a little finger to do anything. You’d be lucky if a cop appears from somewhere to monitor the suffocating line up.

Coming back to the scary journey of seven hours I underwent a few days back with tensed up back, aching shoulders and frazzled nerves. Within five minutes of our starting the journey we were holed up near a bridge. Sitting in your car and imprisoned in the middle of the traffic you never come to know what is causing the blockade. When the traffic cleared partially we could move at a snail’s pace. Finally on entering the GT road, we thought that the worst was over. But we were sadly mistaken. We kept on facing sporadic halts throughout, sending shivers of fear because the evening was approaching and we had a lot of distance to cover. At Phagwara we were suddenly made to stop by cops and ordered to take a detour via other towns leaving the GT road. It was like putting salt on raw wounds as if the previous journey of zig zag meandering was not suffering enough. It was getting dark and we were not familiar with the topography of the area. To make matters worse, even there, chaos, confusion and unexplained jams stared us in the face. At times it looked like if something happened to us we might scream or wail at the top of our voice, no help would possibly be forthcoming in the deafening din of men and motor. Oscillating between the twin emotions of extreme fear of personal safety and hope we managed to finally join the GT road again at Khanna, where we expected to have some respite from those tortuous traffic snarls. Time was ticking fast and already it was night and the rest of the journey we covered by crossing our fingers and beseeching the Almighty to take us safely home, while braving the blinding oncoming traffic.

The sad part is that we continue to be complacent about the road safety measures and have closed our eyes to the disturbing statistics of innocent lives lost every day, to the countless man hours frittered away and to the tons of wasted energy. We persist in our stubborn noncompliance of traffic rules. We become utterly selfish and intolerant and display road rage which many times take an ugly turn. We don’t believe in ‘better late than never’ maxim and our youngsters fall prey to speed thrills and jeopardize their own and other people’s lives.

The need of the hour is deterrent and stringent punishment to violators of traffic regulations. Rigorous written and driving tests before issuing of licenses and launching of road safety awareness campaigns regularly should become, must do exercises. Most urgent is the need of concerted efforts both by Govt. agencies and NGOs to put in place procedures for population control, otherwise all measures will fall short of the desired results, when so many new vehicles would continue to hit the roads every day.

Friday, February 3, 2012

WRITING IS NOT A RANDOM PROCESS

The oft quoted statistical exposition that, ‘writing is 99 per cent perspiration and 1 per cent inspiration,’ tends to emphasize 99 % at the cost of the more significant 1% . But, without the all important creative stimulus which constitutes that 1% per cent, even buckets of perspiration will fail to move a finger on the keyboard. Actually that one per cent is like the magician’s hat from which springs the freshly innovated lexical landscape.

Writing as a casual hobby depends on your capricious will to make a move and lets you breathe in a comfort zone. But the moment it develops into a passion, it morphs into a bug and chases you all the time and forces you to exorcise the mood demons out of your system. Then writing dons bossy attire demanding priority over everything else and becomes the toughest taskmaster ever. Its unique persona disallows any kind of dithering or procrastination.

However the process of writing is not a random activity, there is a method to it. First is the incubation of ideas phase in which you try to concentrate on capturing the chameleon like ideas in your conscious grip. Ideas are whimsical like the mighty kings. They don't care about the French Philosopher Descartes' dictum I think therefore I am.” Moreover, the creative spark has the characteristic unpredictability of weather. It appears surprisingly like lightning in a fraction of a second, if not taken care of there and then, disappears as suddenly. Then you nag yourself for failing to catch it in the fly net and disabling it by spinning a yarn around it. (That is why note pads are kept under pillows to freeze the spark forthwith, in some form, even in the darkness of night.)

Securing the angle of your potential creative effort mentally you follow some technique, may be mind mapping of ideas through brainstorming sessions internally and then the free flow of writing spree around the basic theme. One caution, while pouring out the hidden impressions of your subconscious, the internal critic be manacled lest it should discourage you midway with its ifs and buts and the highly elusive ‘Apple Cart’ of ideas may bust like a soap bubble.

Writers are strange creatures. They feel intensely and write compulsively. Somerset Maugham rightly remarks, “Writers do not write because we want to, we write because we must.”

A writer’s keen vision and deep sensibilities gift him the ability to have psychological insights into situations and circumstances to enable him to build literary castles upon. For a writer the semantics of life acquire sharper, more abrasive edges which prick him, stir him and  keep him in continual unease. His life becomes an axis around which moves the bouts of success or failure.

Friends: What do you think of the process of writing?

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