Monthly Archives: July 2017

Gratitude or Request?

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As a writer, you remain in constant search for inspiration to pick up the pen and let your thoughts flow freely. To my surprise, it’s not the experiences in life that inspire me to write, it’s the people who experience life that inspire my thoughts.

Thinking about writing, people, experiences and the world, my mind pondered about prayers and people today. I recall a prayer we were taught in school and were encouraged to religiously recite in morning assembly. But I was always intrigued by its opening lines “Humko mann ki shakti dena, mann vijay kare, doosron ki jai se pehle khudh ko jay karein” (God, give us inner strength, before we cheer for victory of others, make us victorious).

I couldn’t help but rewind these lines again and again in my thoughts to be amazed how a prayer could teach us meaningful lessons in life. The naiveness of teenagerhood pushed me to write my interpretation of these lines after almost 8 years.

I will divide the opening lines into two parts. The first part (Humko mann ki shakti dena, mann vijay kare) is intended to seek courage to overcome the worldly fears, let go of inhibitions and become self-confident so that we can shine in life. We pray for courage because God presumed that every human being will have some fear like failing at studies, career, love, marriage and kids. In short, he knew that at every point, humans will be affected by such self-inflicted fears of different phases of life that are meant to be enjoyed in their good and bad form alike. So does it mean all these years we have been praying to Almighty asking for strength to overcome the fear of “living life” itself?

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The second part (doosron ki jai se pehle khudh ko jay karein) is for requesting Almighty to give us the strength to win over ourselves before we win over the world. Just like God knew that we will need courage to live a fearless life, he also knew that as we grow up, we will stop loving ourselve because we start living for others. And the world will label such humanly actions as being ‘selfless’ which in fact is an outright lie. How can you think of caring for others when you forget to care for yourself? Do you think you can really bring joy to your loved ones, when you can’t smile for yourself? Would you be able to conquer this world, when you cannot conquer yourself?

In these bygone years, I have realized the reason we were asked to recite this prayer every morning. As we grow up, we become overpowered by inhibitions that we forget to appreciate different shades of life. Not only this, we fall out of love with our own self in our efforts to care for others. We fear being condemned by the society for being selfish to think a little about ourselves. Such thoughts just make me wonder if this is what our life was ever meant for – to live every moment in fear while trying to make others happy.

Will this prayer ever become an expression of gratitude or will it always remain a request?

PS – Without any bias, I could never bring myself to recite this prayer after school and I hope my teachers will be proud of me for a lesson well learnt.

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MRT Musings

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Pondering over instances that reminded me of how sometimes we meticulously plan our life just to realize that in reality we might be pushed to a dead end, I couldn’t help but think how unpredictable and uncertain life can be. We become so optimistic about plan A that we totally ignore plan B. At least that’s what most of us always do knowing that a failure may just throw our life out of gear. But then you realize, this is life, you live it only once with no backups and no sureties.

Then how do we survive through the dark tunnel that terrorizes us till the time we see some rays of hope. In such moments, we are reduced to our most vulnerable form and our insecurities come alive. The feeling of helplessness is uncalled but slowly slithers in like a snake. It’s in such situations that we realize we are undergoing a real crisis.  It becomes extremely easy to lose ourselves and feel miserable not knowing what to do. But as it is said that judge no man’s character in sunny times, wait for the storm to barge in and see if he is still alive.

Thinking of dead ends and standstills, in this quarter lived life I have bumped into my share of such phases.But what surprises me is how I have learnt to enjoy and discover myself when life comes to a halt. I remember my first brush with the dark tunnel and the cry baby reactions to it. But with age, oh boy, I feel I have learnt to accept uncertainties’ gracefully. Just recently, I read about Ellis Stewart’s attempt to climb Mount Everest that he has shared in his novel – Everest, It’s not about the summit.

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He has so beautifully described how his life came to a standstill when he failed at his attempt to climb Cho Oyu (the sixth highest peak in the world), became a divorced father at 28, and was left with no money, job and home. He was depressed but still kept on going. But the most appreciable part about Ellis is he never gave up and survived through times to live his dream of climbing up the Everest and writing a novel on it. I am reminded of another such instance of courage and adaptability to uncertainties of people from Kashmir who have survived in the most heavily militarized area of the world yet have not given up on their hopes to see a normal life knowing that it is a far-fetched dream.I have realized that in uncertainties’ you can both stare back at life and look into its eyes or you can just shy away and drive yourself in a cramped hole. Maybe staring might not give you much of joy but will give you the courage to push through the dead end and make your own way.

And sometimes it’s important to remind ourselves, ‘but darling, in the end you got to be your own hero because everyone is too busy trying to save themselves’.

PS – The inspiration for this post is Ellis’s novel that I am half way through but could not help to write about it even before completing it. And yes! I wrote typed this post on my phone while listening to Despacito and staring at the absurd looking poop emoticon styled hair band of the woman standing right next to me in the MRT. 🙂

A spirited bird in the city

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It was a perfect evening. The cool sea breeze and the enchanting city lights created the magical setting to mark the near completion of one year away from home. After getting over with work in the evening, I decided to spend some lone time soaking in the spirit of the city. I glided through the labyrinth of towering skyscrapers while humming the lyrics of Alicia Keys’ New York.  I ordered a takeaway meal at McDonald’s and comfortably sat at a place for the next 2 hours where I could gaze at the beautiful skyline.

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Singapore Skyline – the only shot I was able to click last night before my phone battery ran out!

As I took a bite of the burger and submerged myself in the lyrics (these streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you), I began to reminisce the days when I was so resistant to move to a new city. And today after one year, I thanked God for giving me the courage to take a leap of faith. I could have never understood the importance of discovering myself in the winds of change had it not been to this enriching year.

As a growing up teenager, I had always romanticized an independent life- earning a livelihood, taking care of self and loved ones, and living to my decisions. In short, I always yearned to be an adult. But all these years, I still behaved like a child trapped in a grown up’s body, pampered by family and friends. However, today I feel like an adult who has learnt to gracefully live in uncertainty with head held up high. Though I am living a life I always wanted and I am happy with it but sometimes I tend to miss the warmth of family and friends! Maybe, I was a bird that wanted to be in the nest while experiencing the joy of flying. But as it is said, you can’t have the cake and keep it too. So I have learnt to eat my cake and live in the moment of experiencing its sweetness not thinking what will happen if I finish it.

Maybe some decisions change the course of your life forever. May be this was one of it. And maybe it was for all good.

PS- I somehow suspect my new office colleagues want me to get diabetes. I am not used to people being sweet and kind to me especially at work place. Recently, my Japanese boss bought me some chocolates from Japan on observing the number of wrappers of Toblerone lying on my table at end of every day.  I couldn’t help but think if I deserve so much of kindness especially from someone who has just known me for 4 weeks yet made so much of efforts to make me feel valued. I was short of words and just thanked him,’Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu’! 🙂

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Japanese chocolate – yet to taste it 🙂