Just Zindagi

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. 🙂

 

Advertisements

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 10 – My blue blooded notebook

And then there are days which I expect to be good, because, well I am mostly an optimistic person in some sense or other. But once in a few weeks, without invitation, there happens one small thing which hits at a place, that makes it so hard for me to recover that all I want to do is grab on to that one thing which I love the most, that one thing which is like my big ice-cream bucket.

I bleed. And I bleed blue. In my little notebook. My best friend. I used to do it often, but as I have grown up, the frequency has sort of exchanged itself with intensity. I need it then. To pull my legs close to my chest, curl up and to let it out.  To bring out that chain of thoughts that tugged at my heart, breaking free the ocean of emotions.

I use music and words to explain the unexplainable. Music gives the rhythm and words the flow to try and tell myself that there is no right or wrong, no left and centre of the situation, it is just a feeling and I have felt it in my own unique way, coz after all I am simply a human. A beating heart.

There are times, when life seems like a  dead end. A long day, and in the end, it just does not feel enough to feel alive. And my humble notebook silently listens to all my cribbing and complaints about life. In one tone. In the aggressive handwriting. In that rush to say everything at once. When I am done, it still remains equally peaceful, somehow magically absorbing all the negativity I had in my head.

There is a reason I love this little thing. It has meticulously held all such lows and highs, making me realize that indeed, the journey has been a mix variety of such curves. My journey. My story.

Food is Memory. Cooking is a craft. Size does matter.

A lazy Saturday morning. Last page of unread weekly magazine. A few articles. These three separate headings, connected as dots in my head.

Think Food

Think food, and my head pops up images of several utterly delicious entities which often melt in my mouth, giving me immense sense of satisfaction and energy to go about all my tasks everyday. It is often linked to parts of my brain I do not specifically remember, but the ones that come out randomly, when I try to relate to sensations of happiness, good conversations or perhaps disappointments. Coz as much as you want the experience of eating out to be amazing, more often you end up being dissatisfied. Ahh but well, just like everything in life you gotta move on, keeping in mind places you are never going to see again and marking in your head places which are worth paying a second visit.

And while wandering on these thoughts, I remember my friend S <a self proclaimed foodie, who is never really satisfied with the food he is served, but when he is, it is eternal bliss for us :P>, his craving for chole bhature at Sitaram’s RK Ashram Marg , Upma at the little south Indian joint at Patel chowk, black coffee at Indian Coffee House, yummulicious pasta with cold coffee at NSP and all the long conversations and random plans that led us there!

I remember BYD, and that stupendous breakfast I had all by myself there once <and the fact that getting a table for one was so amazingly easy! :D> I remember Indore, Wanna Puff, the cafe with the hill view and all the food we could not resist ordering. I remember Truffles in Banaglore, and all the waiting that was worth it. That spicy kadhai paneer in the randomly chosen restuarant on a pleasant night in Coorg. That Pav Bhaji in Mumbai overflowing with butter. That Hyderabadi biryani. Those differently flavoured chutneys with the unusually lengthy dosa at Chutneys, those random mouth-watering chaats, those pancakes and hot coffee with friends on a special weekend brunch and mom ke aalo ke paranthe with unlimited supply!! Aaah!! Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like as S said once, a restaurant where they proudly place their food in front of you and say, pay only when you like the food. <Imagine! :D>

FoodExperienceWhich brings me to next point, to make food a memory it has to be crafted right? To know the craft and to be good at it. Because good cooking means good food. And this reminds me of Virginia Woolf’s – A room of one’s own which I am reading on the go these days, a book which I would funnily remember as I was so engrossed in it that I got out of the train at the right station, thinking it was the wrong one. I got lost in it at a point when she was talking about a lousy dinner and wondering how to often begin a good conversation, you need a good meal. A bad meal spoils your mood, killing your desire to talk about good subjects because all you could think of the not so good food you have just had. On the other hand, a well crafted meal has the power to make people feel heavenly, good enough to spill the words that start a thread which might enlighten the crowd.

And well about size, tiny portions of pretentious food or hearty offerings of a delightful meal? We all know the answer to that one. 😉 When I am going out to eat, that means the serving size should be good enough to make me full. It is annoying when I take my time to decide what I want but the serving size disappoints me and I have to order again. It is even more annoying to pay more for the food that does not deserve it. It should be both about the quality and the quantity that is served. As long as both these are taken care of, I am always ready to lose some extra shillings. After all, good food is like an art. You gotta relish it. 🙂

Anyway, its almost weekend, where are you heading for a dine out this time? 😉

DineOut?

The pause

Never underestimate the power of a song, because even a moment of it can do so much more than you can ever imagine: Wonder. Miracle. Magic.

It was like one of those days in office, when I have so much on my plate, time seems to run out of my hand as clock ticks away and all I desperately look for is something to calm myself down so that I can get my head sorted.

So, sort of irritated but determined to make things happen, I continued to fiddle with my work when I took to my all time mood saviour, music! A quick song or two and I knew I will be in the work mode.

“Aankhon ke Saagar, hothon ke sagar..

Le doobe hame..”

I chose this song randomly and as it began slowly, I  could notice the calming effect. I started afresh with my work, focusing a bit more on it, while the song , catching up the pace, soothingly played in the background.

“Palko ko aise, palko se chu le..

ke jab dil mile, to manzil mile..”

The music caught up in my head and I slowly started to find the tune within myself. Mouthing the lyrics, tapping my foot along with the rhythm and feeling a bit lighter. And amidst all this, came the pause. The one second pause which was so beautiful, it made this song special. That earnest pause, which filled me with anticipation and excitement. That pause which literally made me stop for that one moment,which made me feel alive and I could not resist a smile!!

“Tadapna mera, hasna teraaa..

nindein meri..sapna teraa…”

This pause made me realize that often it is important to stop and then move again. To take a pause from the rushing life, to stop and breathe, to feel alive. How the little breaks make us feel more lively than the long work-loaded days!

I played the song again, and this time it felt like the kind of pause one takes before going for a leap! And so, I carried on with my work with much more enthusiasm and mind it, I finished it on time. 😀

This is for you. Relish the pause.Enjoy the song. Probably add it to your playlist! 😉

What it takes to be AWESOME ?!?

 

look-barney-stinson

I have never been much of a HIMYM<How I met Your Mother> fan but I have always admired this one character, the way too AWESOME Barney Stinson. And I have also met a lot of people who simply love him for all the craziness he possesses. Recently, I was going through some of his quotes in a post and I found this:

Believe-it-or-not-I-was

Hell yeah! Bummer. Even the LEGEND<..wait for it..>DARY Barney Stinson says he wasn’t as awesome as he is now. This reminded me of some of the episodes where Barney used to go in a flashback, told some random bullshit stories about what he did some years ago, and eventually turned out to be cooler than he began the story with!

But I could not help but wonder, what makes someone awesome? or Cool? What is the definition of awesomeness anyway?

So I go back to Barney Stinson, once again. Whatever I know of Barney, I gather one absolute thing, his life has been full of incomparable and countless EXPERIENCES- something which he cherishes and uses to his advantage. <A lot!> He has been through so much crazy shit, that there is nothing left to hold back from. He always got something out of everything. <Be it waking up in the dumpsters after a hangover! :P>

Which brings me to another chain of my thought process,

Our life is what we make of it. It solely depends on us as to how we want we shape it. It is our most priced possession and our experiences are one of the best things about it. We earn them and we own them. Our experiences are the moments which make us realize that we have breathed through them and felt alive. Relished the good ones, outlived the bad ones and together, used all of them to move ahead!

The point which I am trying to make here very subtly is :

No Secret ingredient             <Ahh! and the Dragon Scroll says it. Enough reason to believe!! :)>

Yes! There is no secret ingredient. Awesomeness lies within us and each one of us is awesome in our own way. We all uniquely define ourselves and make our own choices.

Often when I look back, I realize that I have made mostly two kind of choices:

Choose the path

The SAME OLD SHIT which made 15 years of my life practically one year repeated 15 times over or

The CRAZY NEW SHIT which made each one of those 15 years accountable.

And to be really frank, I feel a sense of pride in all those crazy decisions of mine, which then seemed out of the box or impossible. I remember them most dearly and vividly. I realize that whatever I was then, and whatever I will be in a few years, solely depends on the choices I make. It is a beautiful feeling to know that the choice mostly has been mine, and it will continue to be so if I choose it to be.<Inception! :P>

But more importantly, in life, it does not matter what you do, what matters is you DO and get something out of it. You will end up being AWESOME! No worries. 😀

So what say? Challenge Accepted? 😉

This Diwali, try something different!

A long day at work made me tired enough to sit through the commercials as I did not bother to get the remote. And amidst all my tiredness, I witnessed something which was not only creative, but admiringly different and to the point. It was the Big Bazaar’s new advertisement.

While the Supreme Court ruling recently refused to ban the fire crackers, (keeping in mind that it is more of a personal choice and people’s way to celebrate the festival) this ad showcases a beautiful way to make your own CHOICE and make Diwali more environment friendly! 🙂

The ad clearly makes you realize one of the important things in life, that if you want, you can find your own ways to be happy and make others happy too!

Just plug in and let the creative bulb shine! 😉