Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Pursuit of Happiness…but why?

Wondering what has got me to pen this down? It’s the persistent make believe statement, that we all need to find our happiness!! And why….you ask? Because it is a hard to find, RARE commodity, that requires a lot of blood and sweat to be achieved.
I mean seriously? Who makes up all that stuff?!
SO coming to the point… here are certain questions that I’m throwing at you…that have got to make you wonder why being happy is not that big a deal as it is considered to be.
Okay so has it ever crossed your mind, why “crime investigation” shows are selling like hot cakes?
Why the newspaper headlines always and always talk about death, rape o
r murder? And why would an approaching stranger bring doubt and fear as a natural response?
Why have we been made to believe, that happiness is that faint light at the end of the tunnel and we need to suffer and walk through utter darkness to get to it?
Why are happy people considered away from reality? And why is positive thought such an effort for us?
In case that has got you thinking…I believe I have conveyed my point… but let’s probe it a little further.
The answer is simple. We have been made to believe (through generations and generations) that the world cannot be happy on its own. So it has been infested with this plague of despair so that all of us are on a lookout for a relief.
Crime shows warn us to be careful so we look at every stranger with an alienated eye. The news papers have made us believe that this world is like the BIG BAD WOLF and so the poor little Red Riding Hood is always on the run! They have coloured our vision so dark that any light that passes through it, cannot reach our mind.
But is this how it really needs to be?
In case you answered YES…. You should probably quit reading further, but if you’re one of those who can see ‘that light at the end of the tunnel’, trust me, the light is yours to take!!!
So here is what we can do…
Can we have a newspaper that delivers only good news? Don’t you feel that warmth when you ready about something happy?
Can we in some way, teach our children to trust, love and be happy for no particular reason at all? (this would require loads of effort since it would be difficult to unlearn what has been etched in us…through generations)
Can we remind ourselves that life is to be lived and not fought with? ‘Get out of that cushy flimsy world and face the real life’, I’ve heard that phrase a zillion times.. and that only tells me that we have made our minds believe that our lives are a fight and we need to slog it out, day in day out!!! That last bit is true though. To achieve something, you need to put in the effort.. but why make the whole deal sound like you are going to WAR?
The world is not as gloomy and depressive as we have made ourselves believe. This is the only side of the coin that we have seen and believe that exists. SO leave that shrug, be your own SUPERMAN or SUPERWOMAN and get out there because someone has got to make everyone believe that fairytales do exist and there’s a HAPPILY EVER AFTER and it starts with YOU!!!!  

Saturday, 4 April 2015

A Big Grin at the BIGRIN !

I’m back to my laptop, my fingers quickly roll through the keys as I can hear the sound of rain falling on the rooftop, with an Arijit Singh rendition playing in the background. His voice is soulful. That however, is not the reason why I’m writing. I am attempting to pen down the coziness of the Bigrin, a cafe here at Clement town (honestly I had lost hope, a little too soon though) that is sure to get you into a nostalgic affair. 

The mild drizzle yesterday evening was an invitation for some really good coffee. We wanted to head out to the nearest cafĂ© and be home on time, other commitments followed. And then out of nowhere one of us with the Mentos effect (Dimaag ki batti jalade), remembered, ‘there’s a very small place right here in Clement town, but I guess you’ll like it’. Like it, No! We loved it!!

After battling to park our car in the busy and narrow street, buzzing with students, we made our way into the place. A warm and laid back affair, all set to swing you along, with some fellow guests on a six-string, a book in hand with a zillion on the shelf next to you, soaked in caffeine. This is precisely what BIGRIN offers. Their walls speak their testimony, with snippets on tissue papers telling the tales of friendship, love and warmth. Bigrin just brings it all together.

A humble but diverse menu, they remind us that sometimes all you need is some comfort food and the ‘poor man’s tea’ to go along (they did not forget the coffee lovers, offering six different ones). Maggi and chai were our choice for the day. The drizzle called for it. Something like the ‘Chai-Samosa’ affair at the 'Chemistry' canteen at Panjab University. It is quite a romantic entanglement and has witnessed many as well.

Food always makes memory (good and bad both!). The first bite of the meal and the first sip of chai took me almost a decade back. I was reminded of the college time when cozy food and a good company meant the world. Life was simple. We were a gang of four, (what people called us; amuses me every time I think of it) and I instantly picked up my phone and sent them a picture of the modest meal, laid in front of me (God bless whoever made Whatsapp). For my memory, it was priceless!

For now, the rain has stopped and on special demand I’m heading back for more memories. Bigrin is calling me back. Ciao!

(Kept my camera handy again! Enjoy!)

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Because failure is a choice.

Failures are hard to accept; repeated failures, even harder. It takes a lot of courage to accept it, and probably a lot more than a gallon of water to gulp it down! And then once it’s done and over with, you wonder, ‘what went wrong?’, ‘why did it not work out?’, ‘who was to blame?’

Blaming oneself, that’s something we’re all yet to imagine. Blaming someone or something else, it’s a piece of cake!  So why do we get into that blame game; the vicious cycle of putting things on others for our own miseries, to make a sorry figure out of ourselves, to escape reality.

God has been kind. I’ve had things work out for me, more often than not. So the times when it doesn’t work out, it’s punishing (not that we should get a hang of it). Success makes you greedy. And well, you start taking it for granted. Sometimes the amount of effort you put in also goes down with the overconfidence it brings along. It is very dangerous.

And when the ball moves out of your court, you blame the court, you blame the ball and you blame all that is in between the two. You want to rewind and go back to when things were on your side, but real life does not work that way.
Failure might bring along a sense of dissatisfaction, the pain is unmatched, but doesn’t it also bring along the opportunity to bounce back, and make things even; let’s think of it that way!

My husband and I, (as with most couples) act as mutual shrinks (or motivators), so when one of us is low, the other one takes over. He tells me, ‘you must learn from a tennis ball, the harder it falls down, the higher it bounces back’. Only if we could treat life this way, nothing would keep us from reaching higher.
Failure also makes us compromise on direction. One failure and we lose track of things. Perseverance might be the key, but staying on track and keeping firm about it adds a lot more sense to it.

We fail, at some point of time, all of us do. But it’s never permanent. It has as much life as we want to give it. What we do with it, is what makes all the difference. I've met people who fail, crib and blame. And then there are those who slog through every defeat, give it a good fight and come back as winners. It is always a choice.

Monday, 30 March 2015

From this life to next..............

Certain situations make you question your existence on this planet, the reason for it. It was a pleasant evening today, the Doon chill was in the air, very encouraging to go out on a walk. I was encouraged! After a good half an hour walk I felt it was time to head back home.
Lost in my own worries and whims, oblivious to the world around, I walked. Going further ahead, my attention was drawn to something that was being probed and inspected for life. My curiosity furthered up my speed, and as I approached the spot, I saw a street mongrel moaning and crying in pain. An elderly gentleman and his wife were trying to find out what was bothering the poor little thing. I joined them. With every touch, there was a dull cry that sent shivers down my spine. It had a bleeding jaw, but what caused it to be immobile was still unknown. We lifted it, checked it for a broken spine, but nothing made sense.  The concept of ‘People for animals’, was out of question. Everyone wondered if it even existed in station. Random people passing by would stop, look and go (if only they’d followed the same at the traffic lights). But no one helped.
We managed to call a vet. He was too far off. We were ready to drive the distance. Life is worth preserving. The dog made the dull aching sound again. My heart hurts, just thinking about it. Someone managed water. We poured it around its mouth since pouring it in would send it in shock.
I noticed its eyes roll over, but they would still fall back. It was juggling between hanging on and letting go. The tongue was turning blue. The jaw still bled. It seemed like we could do little to undo the damage that had been done. It seemed to be a victim of reckless driving, a very disturbing site indeed.
I wished that its pain would go away, that it could rest in peace forever. I reassured myself that maybe, it was done with its business in this life and it was time to move on. And then, as I was still thinking it to myself, it took a deep long breath before letting it out, one final time. It was time to go.  
We requested one of the shopkeepers there, if it could be covered till it was taken away from the site. And then we got on with our chores.

On my way back, I wondered if I could talk to animals; tell them to stay off the road. I wanted to tell them that nature had given them as much right on the ground they walked on, as us. We were the intruders. I wanted to assure them that staying away would be their best bet to a better life. A speeding car spoke more value for time than for life. Animals would listen. They are way more close to nature than us. If only they could speak!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The good and bad, that turns ugly!

I’ve always wondered why we fight, why there are arguments that turn into fights, and end up damaging relationships, instigating hatred and aversion. We are after all, members of the same species, made of the same fabric and share the same emotions. Why then, do we not understand each other, or attempt at the same?
I’m not talking about the international disturbances, the war against terrorism or any such high profile fundas. This is a very gharelu affair. I’m sure most of us have, at some point or the other wondered, ‘Why did we fight?’ and later regretted, ‘I should never have said that!’
Everytime I fight, I introspect. And all that thinking has lead to one solid conclusion, we fight to be right, to be the good over evil, right over wrong. And in this race, we forget that ultimately we’re all on the same side. Somewhere, between that ego and righteousness, we all long to co-exist, peacefully. Here's how we can make that happen.

Difference of opinion. Reminding yourself that you need not have the same opinion about everything, all the time. I’ve started practicing it every time I feel the conversation is heading towards an unwanted argument. Surprisingly, it works!

Keep calm until the storm passes away. So there’s this quote I read a couple of years back by Timber Hawkeye, that totally makes sense now, ‘You can’t calm the storm… so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass’. It always needs ‘two to tango’ (here tussle) so if one of the parties’ quits on being headstrong about their view point and let the agitated one vent out till they’re cool, the damages after the storm can be averted. Being patient is the key!

Words are like an arrow. Sometimes, verbal confrontation can be a lot more damaging than the physical one. It scars the emotions and creates a negative chain reaction. So the next time those words pile up in your head, you know what to do; never let them out! 

So if you ever see yourself succumbing to an argument, just question yourself, 'Who's more important, the person or the point?'. Let me not sound like a shrink here, I’m one of you, a mango person. And this is just a realization!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Tickling the taste buds.

I relate happiness with food! Not only do I (and many others like me) like to treat my taste buds with new dishes, but I like to experiment new cuisines as well. Kitchen has been a second lab to me (The first one being my professional home for the last few years). 

But one Indian savory that has maintained its place in my heart and my taste buds tickle at the very thought of it, is the humble Golgappa! The round and crispy flour shell filled with water, that has a perfect blend of sweet, sour and tanginess (I am Drooling!!). 

It is nothing less than an explosion of taste and flavours, the perfectly proportioned Indian spices with an after taste that ensures you want to have it even after a meal (or you can make a meal out of it, I DO!).     

It is not only the tempting taste, but the way it is served and consumed that makes Golgappa an ever favourite with most people. The vendor carefully punches into the flour shell (ensuring he doesn’t break the whole thing), then fills it with some boiled black gram and mashed potatoes, before dunking it through a pot of a liquid that is sure to make anyone slobber (I am, as I write about it!). Eating the Golgappa is as much fun. You never bite through it, but stuff it into your mouth, relish it and ensure no one is taking your picture while this happens.

An uncle on his visit to India wondered why people had flocked a street vendor, on a later summer afternoon (Golgappa’s have no season, no time as well). After careful observation, he came home and told everyone about the dish being served with something that looked like ‘sewer water’ to him. He was also amazed at how people waited long for their turn to have it. Not only did that start a laughing riot, we took him back to the Golgappa wala and ensured there was another Golgappa fan added to the list.

Whether it’s a day out with your girlfriends, or a casual visit to the market for groceries, Golgappas need no reason. People like me can even plan a trip to the market only to savour the ever favourite, the superbly awesome, the ‘soul’ food, Golgappa!!        

Sunday, 22 March 2015

My early morning vacation....!

A fresh spring morning, it’s my favourite time of the year! The time of blooming flowers and buzzing bees, with nature splashing colour all around. Today is one such day. I’m back home at my parent’s, the place I grew up in. My occasional visits make my stay a lot more special, and the pleasant weather today is like a cherry on the cake.

The day started with my usual canine alarm, a nose sniffing through my blanket, pleading me to give up the sack and go outside, where a beautiful morning awaited. As I opened the door, still rubbing my sleepy eyes, I was left in awe and gazed in amazement at the nature’s palette. The reds and the yellows, the pinks and the purples, it was all around, everywhere!! 


The sun sparkled through the dew drops, the soft breeze brushed my cheeks and I closed my eyes to soak in the freshness that breathed through every being that existed there. My dog carried on with his business, chasing away birds and squirrels, hopping across the flower beds and digging cooling pits through the garden to save itself from the heat of the day. It was on a mission of a different kind.

As I strolled through the garden, I could not take my eyes off the nature’s priceless possessions. The roses blushing in pink and red, the pansies in vibrant multi colours, the marigold in hues of orange and gold, and those tiny yellow flowers that grow through the grass (people call it a weed, but they’re a favourite); it was nature’s bouquet, a very poetic one indeed.

Lost in thoughts, I was transcended into a different world all together. I wondered how the grind of every day routine, had robbed us of the little pleasures of life; that our world had turned grey and black, crowded by gadgets; that the concrete around us had clogged our minds, and we forgot that ‘vacations’  did not need a big budget. Happiness could even mean a visit to the nearest garden. We just needed to step out. I just did. 

I keep my camera handy, so sharing some glimpses of the beautiful morning!!! Enjoy!