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.

Day 9 – F.A.M.I.L.Y.

There are some days which are meant to realize the greatest gift of our life, the gift of our close ones, people who are and who will be there by our side, always. I am not much of a family person, but there are a few people in my life, whom I look forward to meet every time. They just help me being who I am, just by being who they are. Compassionate. Loving. Welcoming. 🙂

It is my family I am talking about. We live together, we often have agreements and disagreements, but in the end, it is our love that keeps us so warm and welcoming towards each other. And slowly and steadily, with time, I have realized the importance of family in my life.

Our family comprises of the people we start and end our day with the selfless devotion we share for each other. We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together.

We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayers. Every moment we spend together adds to the bond we share. Family relationships have taught me that Love is really spelled as ‘time’. 

And this is true for all relationships. Home is where all the learning begins from, the starting place which stands to define our roots. Precisely the reason for it being synonymous to peace. 🙂HappinessFamily_100WritingDays

“As you get older you find out that true happiness is not in how much you make or how many degrees you have or how big your house is or how fancy your car is. It is finding peace and joy and calmness in your life that will soon become the most important thing to you. Your family is what matters to you. Love is what matters to you. Things that are of quality, not quantity. “

 

Day 8 – The “1 minute” art

My friend told me this wonderful story about a performance artist, whose work mainly explores the relationship between performer and the audience, limits of the body and possibilities of mind. The story was about this artist, how she met another artist and how they both started working together and fell in love. They did wonderful pieces together but after some 10-12 years, they decided to call it off.

Their breakup, too, as dramatic as their work, was called “The Great Wall Walk”, wherein they walked towards each other from opposite ends of Great Wall of China, met in the midway, and said “Goodbyes”. It must have been one hell of a spiritual journey! Anyway, artists do stuff like that so I will let it pass.

The artists are by the way, Marina Abramovic and Uwey Laysiepen(Ulay).

In 2010, Marina performed The Artist Is Present, a 736-hour and 30-minute static, silent piece, in which she sat immobile in the atrium of Museum of Modern Art while spectators were invited to take turns sitting opposite her for a minute.

One of those “1 minute” retrospective interactions were so special that Marina had tears in her eyes and she held out her hands.

The person who received such a special reaction was no one but Ulay. They had not seen each other in 30 years, and as she opened her eyes, there he was!! And all I can think of after watching this video was what all she would have felt in that 1 minute?

The surprise of seeing him there, in front of her, the happiness and the fast forward flash of all the good times they have spent together. The desire to live this one minute as much as she could for the feelings in this particular interaction was way different than the others. The hope of seeing him again, which she would have buried deep down  must have surfaced and reassured her that life is indeed full of such wonderful surprises!!

And what about Ulay? I loved the way he reassured her with the gentle nod and blink of his eye. It was like the most beautiful gift, an “All the best” wish he had planned for her.

I won’t really call this one a love story. It is an art of sorts, in every possible way. A moment, to be precise, where you understand a human heart. You simply feel the connection and the emotion life presents two people with. The bond build over the years, reaped with love, scarred by some conflicts, dusted with the long break, perhaps healed with time. Sometimes, one minute is more than enough to live it again.

Day 7 – Keep blowing your mind away

There are some days which do not start with a bang, rather they begin slowly as they carry on their shoulders the heavy weight and backlog of sleep accumulating through the entire week. Yes, I am talking about a Friday. They usually begin slow but end with an excitement as the weekend slowly creeps in.

With such a beginning, I needed a small push to wake myself up a bit – a cup of coffee and a slight nudge of motivation to end the last day before the long weekend on a high note by finishing all the work I had been assigned to.

Luckily I landed upon something which just blew my mind away. A three minute video. It was the trailer of MS Dhoni – the Untold Story.

Frankly, I would not call myself a cricket fan. But I am an Indian at heart, and well, one of the typical things about being an Indian is the family time spent watching the important cricket matches. I have admired Dhoni ever since I can remember. From his overall personality, his game, the famous sixes, the helicopter shot, to the never ever imagined but always secretly wished for World cup victory and many more wins he led Team Blue to – I have always liked our captain. I have seen him as lead during the times I could really make sense of the game, and almost all the times, he led us to the winning side. That too in the mostly dramatic way possible. Naturally, for me, he is one of the best captain Team India has ever had.

I have seen his glorious days come alive but I have not really got a chance to know the real story behind his struggle. And this curiosity is exactly what the trailer fed upon. A simple dream, with a determined effort. The same old parental pressure for a secure job, but the desire and thirst to do something bigger.

The simple reminder that success does not come in a single day. Neither it stays too long after a single big shot achievement. It has to be continuous, every day.

And this is all about random stories which come by, often blow my mind, effectively enough to keep me moving. 🙂

 

Day 6 – Who is Irom Sharmilla fighting for?

I have not really been able to take out enough time to read the daily paper lately, but today as I did so, I came across the news about the legend Irom Sharmilla deciding to call off her 16 year long fast. Truth is, I know about Irom Sharmilla because of this long fast she had been keeping and whatever little I read in the news. So I decided to dig a bit deeper and find out what the issue actually is.

Irom Chanu Sharmilla has been fasting for the past 16 years, a struggle which began in November 2000, when 10 civilians where shot while waiting at a bus stop in Manipur. It was after this incident that Sharmilla started fasting to repeal against the AFSPA ( Armed Forces Special Protection Act, 1958 ) where in the Governor of a particular state can declare a particular locality as a ‘disturbed area’. And if you reside in such disturbed area then the armed force can search your home, arrest you or even shoot you. They will have legal immunity to do so.

Her legendary struggle found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the longest hunger strike ever. She has been arrested repeatedly for attempting suicide and have been force-fed by the state.

And now, she has decided to call the strike off. She wants to contest elections in Manipur, become the Chief Minister of the state and repeal AFSPA.

As she stepped out to break her fast, she had nowhere to go but the hospital where she had spent 16 years as no body was ready to accept her. People have perhaps misunderstood her decision. There have been posts comparing her to an icon who has just let people down. Is that really so?

Why do we need AFSPA in Manipur in the first place?

To maintain security and peace. AFSPA was imposed in Manipur on September 8, 1980 to tackle the lawlessness created by four main insurgent groups through dacoity, ransom and killings. To maintain law and order, the army needs special powers infested to them through this act.

So basically, AFSPA has been in Manipur for 36 years, and for most of the north-eastern states for that matter but the situation has not improved enough for this act to be done away with. AFSPA being ordered for such long time simply means that the north-eastern states have been in a state of “disturbance” for more than three decades. Except, Tripura.

Yes, the state of Tripura has gotten rid of AFSPA after 18 long years. Tripura is now one of the fastest developing states in India, and it has improved its law and order situation significantly enough to be an AFSPA free north-eastern state. Manik Sarkar, known as the “poorest CM” of India, has been the Chief Minister of Tripura for 15 long years, and has supported significantly for this development.

In such a scenario, if Sharmilla has decided to quit her silent struggle, a fast to which she had given 16 years of her life, and wants to contest elections for the state, it does seem practical. There is nothing wrong in trying to change her ways if she has not achieved it in 16 long years. She has shown courage to accept that she needs to try a different approach.

We all have idolised Gandhi and so many other great leaders who have sacrificed their lives and in the end  were able to do justice to their struggles. If we really think about it, Gandhi changed his ways as per those times, he was the first one to lead such a massive non-violent struggle in India. And it worked.  He tried a way he believed in and it had not been practised before.

If thought about in the same direction by keeping change as the only constant, Sharmilla deciding to contest elections and asking for support, especially for the cause she has given 16 years of her life to makes sense. She has been fighting for the people of Manipur, her state, for peace and justice. She needs the support of people, her people to make a difference this time for if she loses, it will not be just her loss.

“It is no use saying we are doing our best. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” -Winston Churchill

Disclaimer: This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not anybody else’s.

Day 5 – When notes still meet, words still strike.

It was one of those days when I felt like I was happy almost the entire day. Towards the end, which actually came a little late than usual, I was still dancing around, because even by the end, I could not figure out if I was happy because I worked so much or I worked so much because I was happy. Still can’t tell. 😛

I started my day by listening to one of Arijit Singh’s medley, the one at GIMA awards 2016, and there is a part of it which really holds me. I leave everything when I am listening to it. An unusual combination of songs and it just strikes. I can’t really explain how but it does. That is the thing with music and lyrics. You just can’t tell because they speak directly to your soul.

 

Music has the power to connect people instantly. It does not need any language. It is the ultimate peace maker, a source of mediation and well, instant mood changer. Someone once told me, you listen to the beats when you are happy and you focus on the lyrics when you are sad. Well, maybe. Maybe not.

I consider myself as a Bollywood fan and I absolutely love retro hits – the 80’s to be precise, sung by Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi. I love their lyrics. I love the music. But that does not mean the new ones are behind in any way. I love the new ones with the same heart.

Music is an art. It evolves. The old inspires the new, but change is the only constant and the art of music has always been embracing it beautifully. There will always be all kinds of it, with new ones adding on and old ones staying like gold. 🙂

So, in this post, I would like to share my list of eclectic eight “new” songs, with lyrics absolutely brilliant (as opposed to the common perception that nowadays lyrics are simply put there to fit in!) and music which would strike the chords of your heart. Play yourself to find out if you like them too! 🙂

  • Lamhe Guzar Gaye, Piku

  • Main Rahoon ya na Rahoon, Arman & Amaal Malik

  • Ikk kudi, Udta Punjab

  • Teri Meri Baatein, Piku

  • Tum Saath Ho, Tamasha

  • Phir le aaya dil, Barfi

  • Moh Moh ke dhaage, Papon

  • Tu Jo Mila, Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Day 4 – The unusual trap called “Reading”

Yes, you heard it right. No, I am not against reading. I love it. But I think I love it way too much, enough to know the pros and cons.

I have always been telling people around me to read. I love people who read and I am often spotted with a book in my hand. I am a proud owner of Kindle Paperwhite. (Not to brag, but to stress the obsession. Okay, a little brag. :P)

My friends can vouch for the numerous conversations we had and the recommendations I gave them, which, as a matter of fact, helped them to realize that reading is indeed fun. I gift books to people and well, it is very easy to find a gift for me (too obvious, right?)

Anyway, coming to the point, there have been too many posts and rather books which can tell you countless pointers why reading is good for you, and why you should read everyday. I might offend some of them. Hopefully, not much.

I just finished reading a book, and it was brilliant. The one I mentioned yesterday, Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts. It is an interesting story about a prisoner who escaped Australia’s prison and comes to Bombay. He some how manages to get into Bombay’s mafia world. As much as it sounds that the book would deal with the dons and their fight etc etc, it is not, except for a few parts. I found it to be a metaphor of sorts, (because, I always look for them. Can’t help!) where he explains in an honest and simple way the basics of life, love, work, ethics, choices we make and on top of all survival and freedom. I liked the way how he used so many different worlds and settings to portray that- be it his experience from Australia, India, heart of Bombay and the other places he goes to.

Well, there. That is the point. I read this book, and I have been reading it for quite some time and that is the thing with the obsession. I have been reading it on my way back from office, before sleeping, sometimes during my small breaks in office. I can’t seem to concentrate on any other thing, once I get the taste of the book, just like what the taste of a prey’s blood does for a hound. I have to read it. I have to know what happened. Everything else suddenly takes a lower priority in my head. My work, my meals and my lovely night’s sleep!

Reading strikes off that perfect balance which I had worked hard to maintain – the office in the morning, a little bit work out once I am back, finishing off some personal work and then going to bed on time to be able to start it all over again. As soon as I pick up a book, it knocks everything over. Clean bowled.

It makes me lazy too. I just stick to my favourite spot with that priceless book and not a soul dares to ask me to move. (Except my mom!) I can not leave it unless I know who was killer in the end, and then once I know it, suddenly I realize the urgent need to stretch and take a peaceful nap.

Reading can be a little tough to maintain sometimes. It is born out of habits. And habits die hard. You only notice the blunders after they have been done. 😛 But by then, there is a huge compensation waiting for you, gift wrapped, in the words called “The End.” The epic realization that you have reached your destination, and the journey has been so wonderful, that you failed to even notice that there was something else going on around. The patience (whatever little you maintained) paid off.

There is always a story, like the one I just wrote, and it would not have been possible had I not read this book, or several others before that, and experienced the devil myself. The devil, which has become too dear to part from. 🙂

 

Day 3 – That thing about Bombay

I know I am a little late for today’s post, but some unforeseen tasks came up suddenly, right before I settled down to write.

Finally, as I settled down and wished to come up with a topic faster, my mind refused to cooperate and went blank with an even faster pace, for my day today had no inspiration or a thought which really intrigued me. And I accept that fact. It happens. There are days, in fact many days, when you feel like they just passed away without teaching you anything. But, that is the sole purpose I am trying to defeat these days. I would like to believe that there is no day like that. Even if you have an illusion of such days, they too, add up in the long run. 🙂

A chunk of my time today was spent on reading this brilliant book, called Shantaram, which is kind of based on Bombay. Lately, the books I have read referred to Bombay in one way or the other. These references always take me back to this city, as the flashbacks from my memory coincide and find their own room in the author’s description.

Bombay. The city where dreams come true. The amazing city with the charisma that makes everyone fall in love with it. And I too fell for it, twice. And I would not mind a third time!

I can so readily relate to it when people tell me, even authors in their peculiar way, how they come to love this city, piece by piece, person by person. Perhaps, the reason lies in the fact that Bombay is one of the few places in India where I travelled alone and absolutely loved it. For me the city signifies freedom and life. It gave me moments, which I can undoubtedly mark as the ones when I “felt alive”.

The serenity of Haji Ali, the walk around Jehangir Art Gallery, the grandeur of Victoria Terminus, the sense of millions of lives moving around in the local trains and the spot where the Maximum City stays still, Marine Drive.

I think I really fell in love with Bombay when I was at Marine Drive, for the second time, at the end of my solo day. I had come there before. But it was a whole different world then. I came there with my friends and we sat and talked, for like hours. And this time I was alone. I missed them badly. The fact that you are alone at such a terrific place can kill you and make you at peace at the same time. You see a flashback of memories, and suddenly you are not alone. I think it is the infinite sea. The calm sea and crashing waves. Memories come crashing to your head, trying to hit your rocky heart, which then slowly melts and calms down like the sea, taking up each memory at a time, feeling it, kindling it and then leaving its mark in your eyes.

It all settles down then. Sitting alone, thinking about your experiences, good and bad, about people you love and miss, perhaps finding a part of yourself. It becomes meditation of sorts.

And you need such meditation. You need this relaxation. You need to find yourself, the pieces within you that have been ripped apart, and the pieces which are still left, for all those pieces complete you in one way or another. You need all those pieces so that you can carry, all of your self together, for the journey ahead.

Marine Drive

Day 2 – The inevitable truth

I was as usual working in office the other day, when we had to check the validity of a certain product we were using. The deadline of our license was December 2016. Well, good enough. 4  months to go.

We went ahead with the product for the time being but it left me with a sudden realization that December 2016 is, in fact, just 4 months away. 4 more months, and that’s it, before I know it, I would be welcoming 2017 and then would have an entire year to look back!! I was simply amazed at how fast time flies.  In fact, a bit scared too.

Perhaps, that is one of the reason why I took up this challenge, to do that extra bit in every way possible for the things I love, because time waits for no one. Everyone has only 24 hours in a day. And the lucky ones get to see another day. Another week. Another month or maybe a year.

I have been coming across this inevitable truth quite frequently nowadays. I don’t really know if it is a sign of some sort (I hope not!), but I have been encountering instances based on this inevitable truth of death. There have been quite a few occasions which brought about stories like,  “Who would have thought!? Such a tragedy. A sudden heart attack. Oh! It just happened.”

These stories and this truth is shit scary and it is way too real. No one knows what is going to happen even in the next second, and yet we plan so much ahead, being highly optimistic. A small deviation in our so called master plan, and we become upset, like a baby!

Frankly speaking, I have been really scared by all these thoughts. To experience the loss of someone close, and to continue living the same way seems impossible, especially for an emotional person like myself. We take people for granted, we take ourselves for granted, and little do we know that perhaps there is some other master plan being devised in another parallel universe.

The point of me blabbering all these serious and dark thoughts is not to scare you, but to draw a thin line to the reality we know, and the reality we take for granted. We get upset on small things, we get rude with people, we do so many useless tasks every single day, which perhaps we would not be doing at all, if we realize that we have limited time left.

Talk to people who are on their death  bed, for they would take up all your useless worries with a smile. They know the importance of life, which we are neglecting right now, and perhaps they would have done the same in the past.

So, the point which I am very subtly trying to make here is – to make everyday count. It is the most beautiful gift you could ever get. The ability to live. To do things which make you happy. To be with people who make you feel alive. Let that heart beat with a smile. 🙂

TagoreOntime_100WritingDays

P.S. Quoting Tagore, on his 75th death anniversary. The man whose work made him immortal. A true inspiration.

Day 1 – Creating Memories

It has been a long time since I have posted anything, and I do not have any one to blame except myself. So, as the post suggests, this would be a fresh beginning, where in I would post (or at least try to post) everyday. The inspiration comes from #100HappyDays, a challenge which I took up some two weeks back and thankfully have been continuing since.

100HappyDays made me realize the importance of habits and challenges. Challenges make you take up something, anything, and push you a step ahead from your comfort zone. Slowly and steadily, without even realizing, whatever extra you do for that challenge everyday, becomes a habit. And habits, well, die hard! 🙂

But apart from the habit, there is something else, which keeps me going with the Happy Days Challenge – Creating Memories. Whenever I look back at my Instagram history, I feel a sense of happiness from the moments I captured. I created memories, maybe for a challenge, but I did, and I know that when I will look back after a year, they will still be there, reminding me of the moments I would have easily forgotten by then, the moments which made me happy at some point in life.

Life is all about memories. You breathe, you live, you meet new people, you work, you play, you love and in every little moment,  you experience a sort of old-new feeling. These experiences are what you live for. These experiences are what you cherish when you grow old. And these experiences always keep you going.

Keeping in line with the lovely experiences, I hereby, take up another interesting challenge, #100WritingDays, and who knows what memories I might create here 🙂