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Friday, January 31, 2014

ABC WEDNESDAY

The post is about the letter C.....
The letter ‘C’ conjures up so many word images. Some denote abstractions and some objectify.  Spontaneously the word Care takes center stage in my consciousness. Sweetly it has merged itself into the semantic parameters of our oceanic emotional reservoir. How a mother cares and nourishes her child to steer him into the right direction, to help him make something of his life and to imbibe in him wisdom and righteousness! We care for our parents and siblings and the people whom we respect and admire for their qualities of head and heart. Can we ignore the tender care given by a caregiver to an elderly person who is sick and unable to look after himself?

We care for our country and our patriotism comes to the fore, when something derails its upward movement. We are prepared to embrace dangers for upholding the integrity and sovereignty of our country. We care for the sacredness of our constitution, laws and regulations, which govern our lives.

There is another manifestation of our caring attitude, the way we care for our pets and love them like members of the family.



  'C' also brings into focus the immensely popular grain ‘Corn’ for its versatility, its fiber rich properties and its sunny looks.  Can you beat its taste in Corn tortillas, corn flakes, grill roasted corncob and baby corn embellishing healthy salad palette. Then there is frozen corn, steamed or sautéed, seasoned with mild spices and finely chopped onions and garnished with sprigs of fresh coriander. We all love munching  popcorn watching a movie at home or in the theater. In the west the milch cattle is fed corn for enhancing yield and to fowl for fattening.

  'Cute’ is a word used ad nauseam in polite conversations with numerous connotations. In fact, it is a word in fashion .  It signifies glamor. It is an abstract noun and a concept with a wide semantic field. Moreover, it has intriguing implications. A chubby rosy-cheeked baby is called cute so is an ordinary looking baby of a neighbor or of a friend  referred to likewise. You keep hearing  generalities like ‘cute looks,  cute dress,  cute garden, a patio  and the décor of a house can also be termed cute and  scores of other things on which this word marks its footprints.  Amusingly I recall a time, which is history now, when my hubby who has a generous heart otherwise, but used to  get choked if  ever he attempted to utter an endearing word for me,  had a slip of the tongue and called me cute once, in an unguarded moment of course.

A grave issue, which grabs headlines repeatedly, has association with the word ‘Cattle’.  I mean stray cattle menace in India.  Reams and reams of paper has been blackened to highlight the issue, but it rages on unabated. Imagine how frequently we confront helplessly and hopelessly the meandering cows and bulls in the middle of the inner roads or highways or them chewing cud sprawling on road berms. The number of road casualties and injuries due to this free for all is any body’s guess.

An amusing reference to this word just intruded the hemisphere of my grey cells that of a union minister referring to the economy class in air travelling as ‘cattle class.’ However, this unsavory phrase cost him his cabinet birth temporarily. And then who in our country the phrase’ dumb driven cattle’ is used for?  It is too insipid to be qualified here. You are welcome to hazard a guess. 

Bear with me for a passing reference to the word ‘Croon.’ I don the avatar of a bathroom crooner both in extreme winters and in humid summers. You know why?  To con shivering cold and stifling heat respectively. In winter I take up crooning my favorite song, "dunian me agar aye hain to jeena hi parega" etc. etc.  I croon like a broken record when I have to do the dumbest thing and to drown the outrage I automatically serenade "yeh zindgi usiki hai jo kisi ka ho gaya. I know you know the rest.

 The beads of the C string are many and colorful but let the above suffice for now.

Friends,what do you think of this experience of mine?
images: courtesy Google

Monday, January 27, 2014

MANY FACES OF WOMEN



Whenever I go for my ritualistic walk in the forenoon, I'm privy to such common sights very often on the roads encircling my favorite park. The laws are lax and villagers use our roads as short cuts. A few days back somehow, I was inspired to click a particular twosome with their children in tow.

Our community which is known as 'Urban Estate' is carved out of  acres of uncultivated Govt. land and is sandwiched between villages inhabited by poor and lower class people with small holdings or daily wage earners- carpenters, masons, plumbers, iron smiths, gardeners et al. All sorts of handy men. Some small farmers by dint of hard work saved enough money, bought more land and acquired a new status of  being farmers. Over time, they've become economically strong and own all household gadgets, bikes and even cars. Their children go to English Schools in buses, wearing neat and clean uniforms and look much smarter than their parents.

Irrespective of caste and creed every one in these villages has progressed economically and also in social awareness, within a few years. The change is more apparent among women folk. Their eagerness to improve their lives is exemplary.They move out wearing clean clothes, hair in buns and washed faces.

Wives of many of the artisans and working class people in these villages work as maids and cooks in our community and earn handsome wages plus invaluable interaction with educated people and off days in between. Actually these maids call the shots and all try to help them with money and pieces of advice. In fact the demand for them outstrips the supply. They are smart and energetic, possess mobile phones, exchange  information with their mistresses in emergencies.

However, there is one segment, though  better than before, still lags behind in pro-activity. It is to this group that the above women seem to belong to. Their men, lazy and addicted to intoxicants- which are freely available- miss work days often because of recurrent illnesses  and remain cooped in their own unhealthy practices. They don't allow their wives to work out of ignorance. Hence they wallow in poverty. The women have to go to collect dry  fallen  twigs from the trees standing on both sides of the highway to cook food. After the back breaking exercise of couple of hours,  they stoically manage to feed  their brood.  Still they appear to be happy with their lot as I found one of them busy talking on the phone and smiling. Another thing which is conspicuous is that no man is ever seen carrying  such bundles.It is always a woman's prerogative.

I wonder why these women don't send their children to school even as education up-to middle school is free and compulsory. The reason obviously is parents' apathy. 

Friends, welcome to say something.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

TO MOTHER WITH LOVE!



Mother's love is delicately layered, fragrantly pure and brightly hued like the petals of a perennial bloom! A humble tribute to the memory of my dear mother, whose death anniversary coincides with MAKAR SANSKRITI.

Makar Sanskriti (14th January) is a religiously sacrosanct day. It stands for the first day of the month of Magh, the eleventh month according to Nanakshahi calendar. Magh symbolizes the cleansing process of the mind and body, devotion, charity and selfless service.

People flock to religious places to offer special prayers and listen to hymns and the name of the month from the lips of the priest. They take dips in ice-cold waters of the sacred water bodies including the ones on the premises of the religious places of their towns and cities. They wish each other happiness and good health for the days to come. Such is the holiness associated with 14 January, which falls on the next day after Lohri festival.
.........
For me the pious day carries the memories of a deeply felt loss. The passing away of my dear mother leaving me shattered, forlorn and orphaned. However, it also serves as a catalyst for commemorating her unique persona.  As the holy day dawns, I become conscious of the juxtaposition of an acute emotional vacuum together with the substantive feeling of her soothing presence floating lovingly around. My thoughts instinctively create a pathway of remembrances:  of her charm and steadfastness, unconditionality of her love, the privileged freedom to take her for granted, the foolish neglect to acknowledge her benevolent generosities, the occasional incivility to her in the foolhardiness of youth and the selfishness of childishly expecting whatever from her.

How grandly she bore it all!  While turning the pages of the book of memories my inner being resonates with a paradigm of images, though blurred but mirroring the myriad connotations of the purity of her soul. My heart contracts, cries, a lump gags the insides and hot tears come rushing down of their own accord. The questions raise their head inwardly as to why was she always selflessly toiling and looking after our needs, when many a time my siblings and I behaved like brats actually deserving reproach. Why did she always forgive and overlook numerous slips of the tongue and deviations on my part? When I recall   those moments, my mind strangely picks up the hazy pictures, my heart wrenches with unspeakable emotions, chokes and sheds silent tears.

How I envy mother’s fearlessness!  The strength of a steely character and a value system, which could overcome all obstacles, were innate to her. Her faith in the Almighty was unshakable. When I was young, often I’d hear her recite hymns in her sonorous voice creating an eerie mystical effect.

I imbibed the essence of her piety, and that has impregnated my being as an inheritance. Though far away somewhere in her heavenly abode, yet the sweet sensation of her protective fold lightens all sorrows. Her gentle and holy touch pervades my consciousness whenever I detach myself even momentarily from the hustle and bustle of daily living.  

My communication with her stays on an uninterrupted, unobtrusive, effortless zone. It floats forever. Unknowingly her soul merges imperceptibly with my interiority and anchors my life, guides me, listens to me and always stays close to me. Whenever life’s dilemmas had waylaid me and pulled me down, she responded to my silent prayers and instilled courage and confidence. My mind’s eye treasures the images of her beliefs, her pearls of homespun wisdom, not available anywhere anymore.

My heart fills with pride to realize how trusting she was considering present day unsound social alignments! True to herself, she never hesitated to speak her mind. Guarding her own interest above what is righteous was totally alien to her. Her simplicity is stuff for stories. Many expensive jewellery items she had, and never thought of wearing them herself and gifted all to her children.

Perhaps Mothers are like that!. Self-effacing, self-sacrificing and regal!

That the Almighty chose this hallowed day for her departure from this world--- was truly in consonance with the purity of her soul.

image courtesy: the internet. 

Friends, awaiting your thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

STILLNESS IN THE LAP OF NATURE




Though it is peak of winter, this bush is aglow with pink woolly flowers

 Friends, I'm passionate about  articulating my impressions about the unique manifestations of nature, whenever I feel inspired. In fact it is my love for nature which keeps me going. Here is one simple personal insight.
 
The majestic row of trees in the park. I took this pic around noon

Quietude is a very graceful and desirable sensation. However, do we find it in the mad bad world of din and commotion of too many people in too little space? One feels lucky to receive this benediction occasionally. I was that lucky today. After a gap of many days, I restarted my ritual of a morning walk. I was propelled to do so unknowingly. While peeking out of the window for a glimpse of the outside world, I found it deliciously inviting. The sun was rising up on the horizon.  The mere sight was uplifting. Elevating! No wonder we pined for its sweet warmth. Dense fog and   bone chilling cold mauled our spirits. The golden hued light was too much to resist. Suddenly it looked priceless.

In the park, there was palpable silence. The hibernating trees seemed to doubt sun’s full presence. Smarting under the cold wave, they were crossing their fingers as to not show hasty delight lest it should again depart behind some sudden haze.

Though weathering the onslaught of wintery days, the trees looked regal. The stoic calm and pride was clearly visible. Not even a hint of despair in their bearing.  They don’t preach but teach by example. If one were conscious, the intellect would comprehend the cues nature unfolds. I gazed at them to assess, if they were acknowledging my presence, it appeared they hardly cared.

 In fact, they are conserving their energy. Perhaps they are making meticulous plans for the coming days, for ushering in the heavenly splendor of spring. For that, they must have put in place, a secret communication line with one another. May be allotting turns. For who would wear the green dreamy shoots first, who‘d follow suit, who’d be the last to spring a surprise. Thoughtful indeed!

 Though bereft of freshness, they exuded pleasing vitality. Their stately demeanor evoked a sense of well being, confidence and power within me. I lost myself in the towering presence pervading all around. The surreal sensation was part of an awakening, a confirmation of the mystery of our existence. Sorrows and unkindnesses of life lose their sting, when blessed with such ennobling moments.

Let us emulate nature. It bestows unconditional generosity. We’ll be enriched, if we have the ear to listen to its silent sermons. It withstands so many upheavals but never skips its wondrous cycle. Courage, self-belief, righteous path, dignity, patience and selflessness are the words, which float in the ambience.

The experience reaffirmed my faith in the holistic power of nature and its inimitable manifestations.

While immersed in these impressions, I slowly made my way home.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

OUR UNIQUE MINDS




A healthy human being is gifted with a unique potent force of a conscious and awakened mind, which is wondrously dynamic. It is also generously enabling. It indiscriminately blesses us the wisdom to ensure a life of purpose, great abundance and success. How to use it, solely rests with us?

Human mind  visualizes and envisions the plan of action needed to achieve the desired results. Its imaginative power coupled with intuitive insights keep creating profound literature, pieces of art, dance forms, mind-blowing canvases of colors, artefacts and medical breakthroughs.

It lives out meditative practices to still its spinning wheel for attaining peace and tranquility for discharging the myriad tasks of everyday living. It prays to the Almighty to grant it the discriminating wisdom to adopt the righteous means to achieve goodwill and prosperity for all. Its thinking power has the potential of creating life-changing possibilities through discipline and confidence.

Though formless, our mind has infinite reservoir of love and oceans of varied positive emotions, which mostly remain untapped because of our narrow selfish considerations. Our pure consciousness, a nonphysical state possesses inimitable properties of acting out things to help us succeed in achieving the happiness, which we deserve from life. It has magic unlimited to change the course of our lives to our advantage. Sometimes it sets in motion day dreaming for thinking big genuinely and facilitates the brain to negotiate the process of action. In fact, mind and brain are complementary to each other. When the mind is crowded with thoughts, the brain tries to figure out how best to clarify and enhance the quality of thoughts for most effective execution. Mind by prodding the brain to fall in line turns invisible goals into visible reality.

Mind’s exceptional supremacy over us intervenes to help us bid adios to mood swings and adopt positive orientation to face life’s umpteen challenges. Studies have shown that a psychological practice ‘auto suggestion’ (Self talk) helps in training the mind to focus on a mantra of one’s choice for self-improvement and better health. Likewise cynical mind‘s obsession with negativities can be reversed into faith for the future through human mind’s healing capacities.

Our mind encloses eerie properties. Its unpredictability is sometimes scary.  It feels sad at sudden reminiscences or as a reaction to some unpleasant episode. It is thrilled likewise at a significant occurrence or some jolly memory in a context. It forgives wrongs done by others but also has the obduracy to nurse a hurt for a lifetime. Many times its whims and fancies stir us to perform unthinkable acts of generosity to others and many a time its narrow considerations turn us into inexcusable misers.

Its ripples of love have a wide range of categories. Love for siblings, parents, unconditional love of parents for their children, for those who rouse sympathy and tenderness and for great works of art and literature.

Our mind nurtures hates, perceived or intensely felt for people or things, which dwell in the subconscious and come to the fore suddenly by some trigger point. It harbors intense passions, to achieve which; it surmounts all obstacles, while inversely it amazingly exhibits complete apathy, disregard and detachment for many other existential matters.

Our mind never rests and unbeknown to us, spins a movie of our life nonstop. Even at night, in our dreams it is embroiled in situations better avoided in real life.  Many a time adversities of life pull its spirits down and at other times, it may feel being on cloud nine after enjoying a gourmet meal or baking a perfect cake or receiving an unexpected gift. Its emotional bounty is enviable. In the span of a single day the mind’s stream of conscious flow, if threaded into words can turn out to be a piece de resistance
Our mind smartly disallows to be trifled with and owns sweet guile and acuity to prevent curious intruders to have access to its core thoughts, racing in its lanes and by lanes.

 If given free rein to its naughtiness and skewed thinking, it can take recourse to violent means   to achieve questionable ends. However, with its good sense and astuteness, it can mobilize right thinking people to start a social movement for probity and social justice. It has a powerful ally in its conscience, which is the voice of sanity. When its arrogance stalls that voice, it degenerates into maddening behavioral patterns and suffers ignominy.

 In a woman the power of the mind can metamorphose her into the spirit of goddess Kaali, out to combat injustice and cruelty  or into  goddess of love and compassion when need arises.

Since times immemorial, great men and women harnessed mind’s miraculous prowess to act courageously for the larger good of human race. They were men of steely determination, who at the cost of their lives won freedom for their country, engineered the end of the curse of apartheid and managed to banish slavery, the inhumanity of man to man. They made history through their deeds and left indelible footprints on the sands of time.
 
Men like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs with their exceptional mental proficiency have revolutionized the communication systems, erased the man-made boundaries and created a global phenomenon. Their grit and never say die attitude born of their extraordinary mental ability speaks legions about their creative competence. There are examples unlimited of men and women who climbed the ladder of success in science, arts, music, medicine, social service, with unfailing mental courage and devoted their lives for the betterment of humanity, restored cultural heritage, gave joy and succor to the ailing and the needy. 

The gifted minds of scientists are pursuing unrelentingly the possibility of human habitation on other planets. The architects and engineers are designing mammoth bridges over water bodies, rail and road networks to connect cities and towns.  The ubiquitous presence of skyscrapers in metropolises don’t surprise any more. The committed minds have exploited waterpower, wind and sun-rays to generate power to run our factories, rails and make our lives much more comfortable and glamorous.

The steady and steadfast minds of theologians have pondered since centuries over the spiritual aspect of our faiths and beliefs and challenged our dogmas and perceptions. Great thinkers spent their whole lives for ruminating in-depth about the universal phenomenon and our place in it.

One can go on and on in describing the absolute being which nestles within each one of us. Which anchors our lives each moment.

Robert Browning's lines enthuse me to keep endeavoring to express myself.

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made.

Have we ever paused to analyze the infinite potentials of our minds, which apparently, we so meagerly utilize?

Friends, I welcome your perspective on the subject. Do say something. 

Image courtesy: Wikipedia  the free encyclopaedia