the fire within

Fire, the destroyer and the creator, just like its counterparts (air, water and earth) is both powerful and indispensable. It has the unstoppable energy to make or break, the assertiveness to make its action binding and the passion to burn brilliantly. Its spark can bring down everything to ashes if it gets outraged or it can instead illuminate the surroundings, if a different path is what it wishes to embark.

And right now, this is the element I could relate to the most.

It all started in my grandparents’ house, when sitting besides my grandmother, I could imagine the necessity of fire to purify the soul of my loving grandfather. The flames did their job, rising up and beyond the pyre, leaving behind nothing but ashes, to mark the end of a beginning, re-announcing the inevitable truth in the most supreme form – ‘Nothing is permanent.’

Little did I realize, amidst the chaos in my life, there was another fire, slowly spreading through the book of my life. The pages which were once written with utmost love and care were suddenly caught up in flames as I went through some unforeseen turns. A few got lost, while the leftover yellowed parchments still struggled to preserve the precious memories. It was an indication to move forward, I guess, along with the cracks. The book now consists of blank pages, to be written afresh, yet the stories which once existed are now being held as shattered pieces, their remnants still flying in the air as light ashes, the tiny black crystals withering away from the corners, illuminating like a firefly in the backdrop of the extinguishing flames.

Just as I was about to establish the nature of my relation to this element, we met yet again, this time with a different purpose. My family was gathered to witness the marriage ceremony of my cousin, and there they were, the flames once again doing their job, to take in all the offerings and mark the beginning of a new relationship. The fire burned slowly, brightly and brilliantly to purify the newly created bond, showering blessings over everyone present.

It occurred to me then, that perhaps it was not I who was encountering fire in those places, not the least bit by chance. It has been always there, simply trying to reflect what I felt during all those times – my deep desire to cry out loud for the loss, to get past some dead-end bridges and to enjoy the warmth of a happy occasion.

And so, I hereby acknowledge and bow to the fire within. The fire, which has brought me back to the place which defines me, yet again. 🙂

 

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Day 19 – Peace.

There is a different kind of wave floating across the country. After the Uri attack and the corresponding “surgical strike” by India, the entire landscape seems at a whole new level.  Cold War. Boycott. Hatred. Intolerance. Nationalism.

I am not here to advocate any of these or talk about what happened. I am just a civilian and I am worried.

I do not doubt my army, rather I care for it. I have utmost respect for the Indian Armed Forces and that is primarily why I want to advocate peace as they will be the first ones to face the consequences of a war, if it happens.

I am worried for the lives which in turn will be effected internally, in our country and theirs, with people losing their loved ones and living in constant fear and uncertainty.

I am worried for the so called attempt at Cold War, for not working with Pakistani artists, for stopping indulgence with anyone who belongs to that country. Even if it seems rational at some remote level, how far would we able to do that? We can not completely erase the cultural traces, not all of a sudden.

We have a huge history and our relationship with the neighbour is as always, quite complicated. All this calls for a well thought out and a planned step further, especially keeping in mind the internal state of the nation.

Kashmir has always been in a pickle. Army strategies have been politicised by all sides. Every few days, there is some sort of ruckus happening near the border areas. Capital city has been on alert ever since the attack. Villages surrounding border had been evacuated causing farmers in Punjab great losses as they left almost around harvest time. Pakistani TV shows are going off air. Directors are declaring that they will not work with Pakistani actors any more.

No one knows what will follow up next. All I humbly hope for is peace. Just like everyone out there.

 

Day 16 – My story behind Dhoni’s “Untold Story”

My dad cleaned bowled me this Sunday. No, it is no longer 90’s when he used to play cricket with us. But he still managed to pull it off by offering to take me to the movie I had been cribbing to go for since morning that day.

He had been quite busy, just like every Sunday which begins with his typical military schedule to finish maximum tasks. Apparently, that is what Sunday means to him – Spend time finishing all the non-office work. (Sigh! I know. That is how my brother and I get to laze around. Because he keeps things in motion. :P)

So, easing my way for the last day of the week, I grabbed the Sunday paper and landed up on the review of “MS Dhoni – The Untold Story. “. I think that was the final trigger. The ultimate reminder that the movie is out, finally! I had been waiting for this one anxiously ever since the trailer was released. If you don’t believe me, check this(Yes, I have proof.):

https://pallavisinghal.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/day-7-keep-blowing-your-mind-away/

I was almost ready for the worst case ‘go alone scenario’ after no one in my family seemed interested when my knight in the shining armor swooped in, making his princess stare at him in surprise! Yes. That was my Dad’s filmy entry in the story. I was so taken aback (and quite suspicious that this was just a way to cancel later)  that I told him about the timings and the duration of the movie twice!! Anyway, we made it to the movie, well before show time. 🙂

Now,  coming to Neeraj Pandey’s latest creation – MS Dhoni, The Untold Story. What I really loved about the concept is that it is the story of a living legend, whom we all have seen rise and shine as the captain of the Indian Cricket Team. This makes him a curious subject for a biopic, for he is someone we know, not too well of course.

And that is why, the famous world cup scenes, his typical shots (the helicopter shot!), his different hair styles – all ring a bell. Even so, the ever so real characters in the background, be it the father who wants him to focus on a secured and safe career, the mom who butters the tough dad once in a while, the teasing but lovable sister, friends in good and bad times, coaches, colleagues, his boss, the mentors, his love..everyone seem to make his world believable and so damn real.

These characters bring life to the story, which unfolds layer by layer, and even though it gets a bit too extensive at times, you want to go with the flow and crave for a bit more. The end brings a sense of satisfaction by completing the circle at the ODI World Cup of 2011, wrapping up at the high-point of Dhoni’s life perhaps. After all, it is supposed to be the untold story of the “journey”.

The movie made me realize how amazingly appealing yet difficult it is to achieve simplicity and hardwork. Dhoni clearly reflects the two qualities. His life is like a clean slate which had that one goal of being a cricketer clearly written in bold letters, and rest everything followed. The love is a bit unexpected, making him no better than any of us dealing with the heavy emotions.

The journey is interesting, making it subtly evident that Dhoni is a man of actions more than words. He speaks whenever necessary, putting his thought process clearly even when he is bombarded with so-called mild “depression”. His inner struggle reflects clearly on the way he improved his game and that is why he is an inspiration.

A special mention to the way the sponsors were advertised. Point scored there!!

I feel non-cricket fans would be able to enjoy equally as there are lots of emotional moments to be savored in addition to the adrenaline of his shots. Overall, a well bundled movie. 🙂

Personally, I liked it. More than that, loved the company I had. 🙂

Day 15 – Not everybody is running a marathon

Two years back, I finished a 5km “sample” marathon run and to my surprise, I was able to complete it, without much practice. This year, I got over ambitious and signed up for a 10K run. And as I manage to get my ass in the park every other evening (with some unavoidable breaks) and struggle hard to finish the milestone for the day, I realize that this is one thing I had estimated a bit too much on the positive side.

During the breaks, I look around to see people strolling in the park, kids running around and ladies walking leisurely, sharing their daily dose of gossips or newly tried recipes. As I absorb the surroundings, I am able to mentally visualize that the scene in the park would have been the same for the past 45 minutes I spent there, the only difference being, I noticed it only when I sat down to relax.

When I reach the park, all I think about is my goal for the day and how I can improve at least a bit today. Everything else seems irrelevant at that point. While I am on the track, I  notice other runners closely, their stamina and their style of running. And sometimes, luckily, I come across coaches who come there with their students, slipping me a tip or two, encouraging me and making my day.

There are things which you know only when you start “doing” them rather than simply planning them out. I now know that I cannot be like my athlete friend who can finish 10K easily. Since running is something that I had picked up only last year, that too only in small proportions, I have practically understood that I am an ordinary person whose stamina is even more ordinary! And to improve, I have to really push my limits.

I have started loving these little sessions as I try to chip them out from my schedule everyday. They are important not only because they make me feel energetic and good about myself, but from time to time, they unknowingly drop by small life lessons which I often need to be reminded of.

“You choose your own battles. And once you do, you find your own companions, you identify your own angels and demons. Not everybody will be able to help you. Not everybody will be able to understand you. You will be on a different path which you carved for yourself and the sooner you accept that fact, the better off you will be. Because, not everybody is running a marathon.”

 

 

Day 14 – The “Dream”

Does life really get in the way of your “dream”?

So your childhood wishes eventually have to vanish into thin air because there are other things that come in the way?

Think about it. The dream. Your dream. Or have you stopped dreaming altogether?

I know I stopped some time back, when in my foggy head I was “busy”,  but in reality I was absolutely clueless to where I was heading. In fact, it was more or less the feeling of being half-dead, a zombie race where I did not know what I was doing!

I didn’t do anything for all that I had wished for and began to lose track – slowly and eventually, like a domino effect. I wanted to start college again, work on a select number of things that interest me, earn money through them and live happily ever after. (Yeah, that was pretty much it!)

But in the hustle of trying to do what is meant to be and what I wanted to be, my end line became a little too blurred. I just kept moving, without any definite meaning. In fact I even forgot that I used to have a dream because the constant not happening of so many things prevented me from going forward. It was like a vicious circle from which there was no easy escape. And amidst all the hustle, the dream became a lost hope, where in it was shadowed by the unlimited ifs and buts – “Perhaps, it is a bit too late. Maybe the moment is gone and so is the dream?”

And then I met a child. A 6 year old girl with a dream -to become an actress. A confident and determined dream that never seemed to look beyond the heart’s desire. Another 10 year old. He wanted to be an astronaut.

Without even realizing, instantly, these little angels brought me back from the half-dead world. Life sprang up into that child in me, who was hiding behind the heavy desk of the over analysing adult. The child who always dreamt and desired without any boundaries started dancing happily inside the practical adult, who now deeply wished to balance out both – a combination of practicality and wildness, imagination and perspective.

I now have that zeal to experiment and do things that interest me, keeping in mind the other tasks that need to be done within the limited time I have. Everyday, there is one thing crazy and one thing which keeps me sane. And I am happy. Happier than before. 🙂

Turns out, it is never too late, at least not to dream. There is always a third door. A way out. Dreams are meant to be seen and fulfilled. Weird, ambitious, funny, amazing, fascinating, fantastic – whatever they are, they should be met with the guts to pursue them. Every time, all the way!:)

 

Day 13 – A thing or two about love

No. I am no Love Guru. I am just another young soul who has had her share of dreamy ideas for this ever so talked about four letter word. It has made to my blog often in different forms and yet here it is again, winning the spot for the day!

A few years back, I extravagantly used this word. Anything that felt good enough was the feeling of “Love” for me. I happily declared that I loved my friends, not liked them, but loved them. It was that simple. As I think about it now, I realize it is indeed that simple, only in a different way.

Amongst the numerous things that life has taught me, the most important one is the fact that there are only a few people in this world I can possibly love. I really cannot bring myself to feel that way for everybody. time_100writingdays

And eventually, for these people, I have come to understand the perfection behind their tiny imperfections and how even my simple day to day gestures seamlessly incline to suit and sync with them. I have actually surprised myself with the way my relationships have unfolded. I am happy, people around me are happy, and everything is good and beautiful as these are all two sided affairs. (Way to go!)

But, as always, there are a few complicated scenarios ( the quite so often “hanging in the air” ones! Sigh!), where there are so many strings attached, so much to do and say, yet not understood, or rather misunderstood, lack of time, ever so increasing distance, feelings shattered and hearts broken, or well, may be on the verge of it. I think everyone gets a fair share of one of these scenarios at some point or the other and even though the after effect to the very least, is not the end of the world, it does leave us a bit torn apart.

And pertaining to such situations, here’s my thing or two or rather a small pointer about love. I cannot say I have known the feeling completely, but I have survived and lived through a scenario where I was completely cut off from one person I love dearly, not because we were fighting but because there was no means of communication between us.

During those months, I could feel my love for him grow, in bits and bytes, in leaps and bounds. I started to appreciate his importance in my life like never before. Even more, I began to understand how much I had ignored what I have always had and instead cribbed about what I did not. His absence made me realize how lucky I was to spend those infinities together, which in turn, gave me a bucket full of memories, enough to cherish forever.

So, I started paying attention to the little things, decorating my moments with what I had,  cherishing every day with my special people and realizing how abundantly blessed I was.

Isn’t that is what love supposed to feel like?

A blessing so surreal that you float in happiness. A smile that flickers on your face out of nowhere. A feeling that makes your heart beat. A life that can breathe and thrive beyond words, beyond time and beyond distance. A moment that is forever. A ray of hope that brightens your world.

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Day 12- Don’t break the flow.

Wise and successful men have always prophesied the importance of continuous efforts. To finish what you start not in a day, but in bits and bytes everyday, in small steps that will lead you to the destination you had envisioned. It has always been the most trusted method, the one which has been tried and tested since ages – Small droplets of hard work everyday leading to the ocean of success in the end.

I am writing this because I have mostly failed at an attempt to follow this advice. I begin things and lose the momentum as I try and juggle between various tasks. I am certainly to blame for breaking the flow of my challenge of writing a post everyday. There were short trips, people I had not met for a long time, birthdays, too much work, family time and what not if I want to jot down the reason. But then, there will always be. And the truth is, I do not want to give a reason anymore.

I know it is hard to come back once you break the flow. It  has always been for me. God knows how many things I have left lingering behind as I was too lazy to continue. The inertia never let me begin. Life happened. There were things which were always in line to occupy my priority list. There were numerous excuses. Several so called important factors to weigh trying to talk me out of doing it.

Amidst all those conflicting thoughts, there has always been only one deciding factor for me. My heart. That small and little inner voice which feebly tries to tell me what to do, and gently asks me to bring down the chaos in my head and listen to it, at least once. Calmly. Clearly. Intently. Because whether I believe it or not, the little voice knows that once I know what I have to do, once I know what has to be done, there is no one on this earth who has the power to stop me, except me, myself. And some times,  I got to trust the little voice which has never betrayed me.  After all, nothing worth having is easy! 😉

Picking up the pieces from where I left. #100WritingDays.

Day 11 – One year is a lot of time

One Year. 12 Months. 52 weeks. 365 days. (And even a bonus day every 4 years!)

One year sounds like just normal amount of time, 12 months seem like something, 52 weeks feel like a good lot and 365 days make you think of the ample available chunk ahead. One year is seriously a lot of time but also, an illusion. No matter which way you count, it will slip away, like grains of sand from your tightly held fist, and there you will be, looking back over years not just a year.

I met a couple in my office last year. They were about to leave for a different country for work when I first met them. After one year, they are back, along with a 3 month old baby daughter. Their entire life has taken a huge and a beautiful turn, in one year.

I was away from home for a year, and I had practically lived a whole new life, in that one year. Made friends like family, travelled like crazy, learnt to survive on my own, became independent and perhaps a tad wiser too.

A friend of mine completed her post-graduation in the language she loved, travelled five countries, got a job and will be staying in yet another country for the same, all in one year!

No matter what, the earth will rotate and create a day. Each day will add up to make a week, month and eventually a year. So, plan accordingly. Have patience. Instead of a day, think a year and think big. Spread out your lists and tasks, and see the little work add up enough to turn into something magical. 🙂

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