We all stood in the pillared hall of the Hastinapur palace, with nothing but the clothes on our back. The five Pandavas stood before us, calm and steady. Draupadi and Mother Kunti stood behind the Pandavas, shuffling on their feet and wiping their tears with the end of their angavastram. Both of us, my brother and me, we stood further behind the two grieving women. Continue reading “The Dream I Remember Most”
Confusion. Mixed feelings. Opposing thoughts. Warring personalities. That feeling when everything that you thought worked, doesn’t anymore. And the new things that you learnt and replaced the old ones with? They don’t work either. So you’re basically lost. Once, you knew exactly how to handle situations. Now you don’t. Then you learnt how to handle it differently. Now it doesn’t work. So you let others take over. Something you never did before. Because you feel incapable now. Once, you weren’t. You were independent. You were self-sufficient. You were you.
You ever feel like a part of you has been lost somewhere in the past? You know what you lost, but don’t know how to correct it. You don’t even know if you ‘should’ be correcting it. Even if you want it back, you don’t where to look, because you don’t know where you lost it. And sometimes, you know that if you could get it back, it would be worth it. But you don’t know the consequences either.
Like you made a mistake. You know you made it. You know approximately when. You just don’t know why or how. You don’t know what happened. You’ve thought, looked, searched a long, long time but never got closer to getting the answer. Maybe because you don’t want to know the answer. Or maybe because you already know the answer and you don’t want to admit it. It’s possible that you don’t know the answer at all, of course. And you do want to know it, because it’s a missing part of your life. Of you. Isn’t that why you’re searching? Isn’t it? Or is it? You think you’re searching because what you lost is precious, was precious. But you too are lost when you try to find it . Lost within yourself. So you stopped looking. Or you pretended that you did.
But the people looking, they don’t care. Not about you at least. They care about themselves, so they broke you. The freedom that you had? They wanted it. So they tried to take yours. They didn’t get it, but they had the satisfaction that you didn’t either. The strength that you had? They envied it. So they melted you. And it seeped away from you, away from them. That opinion that you had? They didn’t understand it. They wanted to make it their own, so they twisted it. And it flew away from your mind, no more your own. That faith that you had? It burned bright. So they doused it, soggy and wilting. So it disintegrated before you. That heart of yours? They squeezed it empty. Your blood was too rich for them. Then you didn’t have any. You aren’t a threat anymore. Just an empty shell. A shadow. They don’t care. Not now.
So you try not to care. But who are you fooling? Every time you zone out- unwillingly- that’s what you think of. And you never do get the answer. You don’t know when you made the mistake. You don’t know whether you want that part of you back. You don’t know if you searched deep enough, hard enough. You don’t know how it will be if you got it back. You don’t know how you feel about it. You don’t know what to do. You don’t know if it was all worth it in the end. And now, you just want to know what it was worth.
I’ve always had this weird habit of trying to interpret words or signs or symbols in different ways. Or ponder about the different things they could mean. Or why they are framed how they are. But I never had anyone to confer with- not about my thoughts or theories- about these kind of things.
For example, when you read an emotional book or see an emotional movie, why do people use the term ‘crying like a baby’? I mean, a baby cries for more need-based things like food, or poop, or water. And babies bawl on the top of their voices. But when you see or read anything emotional, it’s because you understand the depth of emotions or you relate with the character or plot. A baby can’t. And you sob or weep silently. A baby doesn’t. SO, on what basis do you say ‘crying like a baby’?
And then I found a person I could actually ask these kind of things to share with. I asked a teacher of mine. My English teacher, one of the best I’ve met. She said the basis of relation for ‘crying like a baby’ is the fact that a baby cries uncontrollably, without thought about who’s watching. Just as we do, in emotional scenarios.
Today, I asked her – If you see pictures of people giving something to anyone, even in the slightest philosophical sense, the hands of the Giver are placed palm-down over the Taker’s. Always. And always, I wondered why. How does it matter how you take it? Taking is still taking. The Taker gains something and the Giver loses something.
So she said that it matters because of the ‘attitude’. The Taker is below the Giver. Because the Giver has, and is willingly giving. The Taker doesn’t have, and is the one benefiting from the Giver’s benevolence. It was about the attitude. If the Taker places himself above the Giver, then he is impertinent, and the vice-versa makes him humble.
I asked her another thing I had personally experienced and was more culture oriented. Indian mothers and grandmothers have the habit of taking the child in their folded lap and gently bobbing his head on one knee. Simultaneously, they would sing a lullaby and gently pat the child’s head in rhythm with the song and bobbing. The children always slept immediately to a sound sleep. I was too big and old now to fit into the lap, so these winter vacations I placed my head in my grandmother’s lap. She did that bobbing-singing-patting thing, and I feel into a dreamless sleep (rare for me). Why was this so comforting to a child?
Her answer- The movement is similar to the movement a child experiences in the mother’s womb due to the mother’s movement in her daily life. The gentle patting was also something the child was used to, due to bumping around in the mother’s womb. Also, there are arteries that run in the lining of the stomach. The mother’s strong heartbeat are also something that cause the bumping movement in the womb, therefore adding on to the safety that the child feels by the patting. So, for the child, this way of sleeping was as if it were back in the womb. Comforting. It also applies to older people, because it temporarily transports you to the womb. Safe.
What do you think?
I suppose in the end, the whole of life is an act of letting go. But what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye
– Pi Patel,
Life of Pi
I blinked the sleep out of my eyes. The light outside was still soft and musky. Still groggy, I was wondering what woke me up so early on a Sunday. And then I heard it again, the laughter. I pried the windows open and peered through the railing. Light streamed in and by the time my eyes adjusted to the brightness, I could hear more laughter. Unhindered, unshackled, carefree laughter. I smile spread on my lips as well, as my spirits lifted on the sight I beheld. A huge group of giggling and screaming girls were playing on the swings and slides outside. That garden always used to be empty, barren and forlorn. And suddenly, this morning, it had been graced by the cheerful presence of these girls. All the joints of those metal structures creaked, not in protest, but in joy as they fulfilled their purpose at all. I just leaned on the window sill and watched the girls run about in their frocks and braids. I smiled and remembered my own childhood, as carefree as the apparition in front of me. Scraped knees, muddy palms, and torn shorts were always a part of my childhood, followed by a hot water bath where my mother scrubbed me to cleanliness…
Question 1: What’s a Bucket List?
Well, the problem starts with people not knowing that ‘kicking the bucket’ is a Euphemism for ‘dying’. People who still don’t know this? IT IS!!! So when I say Bucket List, it means a list of things I want to do before I kick the bucket i.e. before I die. My Bucket List blog (http://vedantilist.wordpress.com/) caption says that out loud!
Question 2: What do you include?
Personally, I think it shouldn’t be life’s aims and goals like I want to achieve Nirvana or I want to become Warren Buffet. It shouldn’t be some obvious or inevitable thing like I want to become a mother or I want to buy a new sofa. I think it should be more about things you want to experience, or are interested in, or think will benefit yourself or others. For examples, please check my Bucket List! (http://vedantilist.wordpress.com/) But then again, it’s my own opinion. You can totally add weekly waxing or 2 beer-glasses to your bucket list…
Question 3: Why do you need one?
Because you want to do those things? OK, fine. If you say that those things are in your mind, so why do you need a ‘list’ as such? See, the thing is that sometimes (read, most of the times) you get so tangled up in every day life that you forget to do things for yourself, spend time with yourself and basically be selfish. It’s required sometimes! SO, this list is a way for you to keep what you want to do in front of your eyes. So you never forget. Or grab every opportunity to go get it!
Have I convinced you? I hope so!
If you imagine a wedding as bride and groom just saying their vows, your perfect picture is about to get shattered. A Punjabi wedding is the ultimate Big-Fat-Indian-Wedding which can be described in four ‘D’s- Dance, Drama, DJ and Drinks. It’s a four-day ‘pest’. It is the most tortuous event leading to the ‘happiest’ day(s) of your life. It kills your bank balance, then your sleep, and finally attacks your heart.
The marriage proceedings must begin with the two families deciding the dates for different rituals. Once that is settled, the first step is to get the best dance floor and DJ. That there will be drinks goes without saying. Pump up Daler Mehndi songs, throw paneer in the food and pour alcohol in the glasses. Money? Of course you need money. Don’t have it? Take loans! BUT NO COMPROMISE ON THE ABOVE. Continue reading “How to Conduct a Punjabi Wedding”