Where Do You Go? My Lovely

Where am I these days? It seems like it was long ago when I last wrote a blog post. Actually speaking, it wasn’t that long, but it seems to be so.

In general, for someone like me who has no fixed writing schedule, someone who writes as and when inspiration strikes, this is a normal act…this act of being an Elfie, this act of vanishing from the scene. I have done this before, only to keep coming back.

Writing happens only when thoughts and ideas overflow. While it is true that with all the prompts and challenges around, there can never be a dearth of ideas but if one does not feel the urgency to write and also when life’s other tasks get too compelling and time consuming, then writing takes a back seat.

And it is then, that is when I have distanced myself even slightly from my blog, that I start wondering – Why do I blog? How could I have written so many posts? What drove me? Wouldn’t it have been better to have spent all this time writing a book or two, possibly more (I am already in the process)?  What do I do now with all the half-finished articles and poems saved in various folders for the last many years, long before I started blogging?  Self-doubt and self-questioning overpowers, hence an urgent need to be back to blogging; lest I forget it and more importantly, lest it forgets me.    

Now. Did my rambling answer my earlier question – Where do I go?  Yes and No.

Whatever. I’m reminded of two lovely songs, with the same beginning note – “Where do you go, my lovely?”

The first song reminds me of the times when we had just migrated to Australia and we could hear it being played everywhere; a street-side blokey song of a heart-broken young lad. Its beats are great for dancing, but we writers end up bothering about lyrics like “You left me with a heartache deep inside, girl you should see me cry all night.” Full lyrics here

The other song is a classic from the 60s, not a classical as such but about an ambitious girl trying to act rich and classy.

This second number is less woeful than the above song but the guy seems miserable nevertheless, as he enlists all the classy things that this girl, who is his childhood friend and who’s now a social-climber aspires for…diamonds and pearls, Picasso,  links with top guns who gift her with riches.
The singer wonders at this once poor girl who’s trying hard to be rich at all costs, but is she really happy in her heart?  He knows the real woman in her still seeks old times, and not money. High hopes young man!  Full lyrics

See, how my post seems to have strayed aimlessly from here to there! Not a good sign, ehh? Or is it? To let the words flow as they do. The muse is anyway hard to please and tame, so while she was here, I embraced her in all her wayward moods.

For now, better forget about defining the purpose, the goal of my blog. It will discover itself sooner or later.
That’s how it is with life – it takes a life time to define the purpose of life.

For Those Who Do Not Come Back

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It now seems to me she will never come back. Going by the quiet on her blog, it’s almost as if she has never been here before, writing all those blog posts like possessed. There was somebody writing and if she said it was her, we sincerely believed it was indeed some Elfie writing.

But then again, in this online world, how can we be sure we really know the person expressing his/her thoughts in words. The fact is, most bloggers have not met each other personally. At the same time, we do know their distinct personality, for their written words help us peep into their soul, till it seems we have known them for long. But when our fellow bloggers vanish from the scene, they become strangers. We almost do not care. In blogging world, (our) presence matters more than absence.

That’s what happened when Elfie suddenly disappeared from the Continue reading

Facing a Scorcher of a Fry-Day

It’s going to be a scorcher in Sydney.  A sizzling day! Record breaking heat wave in November like never before.  Stay indoors. Take a break if you can afford to…blah blah blah!!’

Since yesterday, all the TV weather experts and radio-anchors have been warning us about how bad a day will this be – a sizzling Fry-day. That it’s going to fry us living beings with temperature soaring above 41 degrees. And sure enough, it’s an extreme given that it’s not even summer yet and the maximum till now has been around 23 degrees.

That way, Wednesday and Thursday too were rather warm, lethargic and humid.  In the morning as my son woke up I could see him listless, as if he had body-ache. I showered some wisdom on him, that if he sleeps topless like he does, and that too with a ceiling fan on at its full speed, he’s bound to get body-aches.

After saying this I was surprised at why I said that.  And then I remembered something said by someone long ago.

It was when I was younger – in school and later in college –  the good old days when we had fans or else those big four-footed coolers externally stuck to windows outside the rooms. There were some AC type gadgets for inside but I think they too were mini room-coolers. That’s because even though nowadays almost every middle-class Indian home has air-conditioners, these got popular only in the last ten to fifteen years.

So yes. Back in those days, even on a very hot Indian summer day, I was happy with a full-speed ceiling fan, but I generally avoided sleeping too close to the rhythmically noisy coolers that had a habit of occasionally sprinkling water droplets on us (they work by circulating water within the machine). These stray droplets did feel good but you know…a sleep disturber plus one may wake up with a runny nose.

Sometimes, on such hot and sultry days I used to share my room with someone who couldn’t even bear a medium speed fan.

My grandmother, who usually didn’t live with us, used to visit us off and on. My mother didn’t want her to sleep alone, so we youngsters were supposed to share a room with her. Given that my sister very essentially needed a watery cooler next to her bed or vice-versa, whereas I was content with a fan, usually I was the one to sleep in the same room as my grandma. In any case I was fond of talking to her, or at least I could sense she always needs someone to talk to and I was happy to do so.

Thus sharing the room, with lights off and a ceiling fan on at a very low speed, I would be half-asleep while listening to her as she told me about many of her everyday problems, her daily health issues. It was on one such day that she had mentioned about why she felt her aches and pains became worse if the fan is at its maximum number. I tried to agree with her while patiently bearing the discomfort of a less than desirable room temperature, for I knew it that I’ll fall asleep anyway for I had a busy school day ahead.

I don’t know exactly what she meant by her experience with hi-speed fans and there’s no way I can ever find out for she’s no more there to tell…but if there was any truth in her saying, shouldn’t it apply to current conditions as well?  But my son laughed it away.

Well, coming back to dealing with Sydney sizzler…it’s arrived and there’s information on ways to deal with it.

While we do that, this sudden onset of high temperatures certainly means it’s time to pack away the woolens and sweaters, to stack them on the top shelves of the closets.  And I suppose it’s also time to pack the beloved memories of dear departed souls; stack them away in mind’s closet till they force themselves out, resurface to touch my life like this heat-wave and catch me unaware. Like they always do.

Meanwhile, here’s some sunny thinking about the worst of heat waves…

Humanity Survives – My new religious book

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So, M.K. Gandhi seems quite confident…that in the end truth and love always win. But how to know what is true if most people staunchly believe that only their way of working is right and they claim only their belief system to be the ultimate truth and none other?

Such unilateral opinions are the cause of all the hatred in this world, and now the cause of terror in France…a blood bath that has happened so many times all over the world that we are now either perpetually scared or kind of immune to it. When things go this bad we are shaken but we get over it sooner than we ever thought we will.

What’s the solution? Maybe one day God or Goddess (yes, that’s possible) will descend down from skies or come out from the inner earth (yes, that too isn’t impossible) and set things right. Till then, we can try taking concrete steps to remove the root cause of evils.

To begin with, put a total ban on all religions. Seriously speaking, these religions were formed as per the needs of particular era and also as per the local designs of a certain land or nation-state. In their current retrograde and political form, they do not suit us in this global world when we all have decided to migrate here and there, and we all live together.

So let all world leaders get together and dispose of all the religious books. Then make a fresh start. Write a new book called Humanity Survives. This will have commonly agreeable codes of conduct. Till this is done, our cute and immature world children will continue to harp ‘My book better!’…’My book right!’ ‘My God the true God!’ ‘My God name the besssst!!’.

My last passage is blasphemy and will anger many. Blasphemy it is. So let there be religions. But then…don’t ever say we need a solution to all this chaos! There is none.

Just pray! Pray to God till your voice goes hoarse…and the wise old bearded man up there, sitting in his big throne chair, looks at you lovingly while saying…”My lovely children! They have so much faith in me that one day I’ll set things right for them!

 

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I’m Humanity, I look at this evil world upside down…I survive. What a victory!

* Another poem written after attack in Sydney and Peshawar

To Be Enlightened…

Just now I read Balroop Singh’s poem ‘A Journey’, at her blog Emotional Shadows.
At first I took it as a simple poem. Then as I re-read her poem and dissected it, there started a whole thought process in my mind.

Reading her lines…she says she’s robbed of certain things.

You have always robbed me
Of my happiness, my triumph
Weakened my strength, my confidence
Rubbished my care, my concern
Hurt my most cherished memories

Being robbed is a strong feeling. It’s not easy to say that. We can only be robbed of something that we once possessed, and here in her case it’s happiness, care, confidence (in people? In herself?). People for whom we cared too much have ‘rubbished’ this care by shutting themselves off, and this hurts only because these people were different, probably they too cared once upon a time but now ‘indifferent’ towards us.

Her love can’t reach that person anymore but still she’s willing to absorb his/her incredible indifference.

‘My love can’t reach there anymore

Your incredible indifference
Could reach me… I’ve absorbed it.’

Distanced hearts. Family members change. Friends change. Overall the hurt is always about first having something that assured a lot of happiness and then losing it altogether; a total sense of loss – not material but that of time and emotions spent. Life spent.

But Balroop has found a path out of all this. A ‘flight of fantasy’, a ‘detachment’, as she enters her own ‘exotic realm’, embarking her own journey. Once again, a question of ‘flight’ also arises only if we were stuck or too involved in a particular situation for long, often at the cost of overlooking other things or people. Likewise, we can only be ‘detached’ from those people, situations or relations with whom we were too attached once.

Overall, I would say this process is eventually liberating. It may seem as if this liberation comes with a price…that of losing the object of your care, love, concern and attachment. But liberation also brings this ‘light’ which, as Balroop says, seems ‘strange’ at first. But that’s because you are not used to seeing things differently. One corner of your heart wishes to remain stuck in the previous wallowing situation. Because letting go of this sentimentalism will also mean letting go of the person of our focus and love.

Finally, we either let go, or forgive them for not caring for us as much as we do. Which also means thereafter we may end up loving them unconditionally, thus accepting whatever little attention they give or do not give.

I am immersed in a strange light
Streaming through me
Sending the waves of forgiveness
Spreading the message of love
Unconditional…absolute.

Thus, if previously they were the only ones who had changed, now finally we too have changed. With this change of focus, now our love will also be no more fixated on these few people who demanded and consumed our life. Our love and care is now meant to be shared with many different people, whosoever needs it more. That is enlightenment.

I feel, as we grow older, we learn these lessons within our families and friends.  I do not know what exactly Balroop was talking about, and which particular relations – possibly children, family, siblings, beloved; in fact it can be anyone and during any phase of life. We all encounter these people who have intentionally or unintentionally changed thus compelling us to change as well; albeit positively as we learn to carve our own self-sufficient happiness that’s not dependent on others.

~~~

See how I wrote and wrote. That’s typical of Balroop’s work. It may or may not bombard you at the outset but it’s thought-provoking. Her every post is full of thoughts that apply on everyday lives of each one of us. It may even seem like we already know (from experience) what she’s saying. Yes we do, and still we don’t. Even if we do, she compels us to think and re-think, while healing some of the inner wounds. Pick up a random post from her site and be enlightened. I know her only via blogging world and since then have gained some insights.

The views in this psot were meant to be left as comments, as a response to her actual poem. But it became very lengthy so I posted it here.

~~~

My above thoughts on my fellow bloggers’s penultimate post seem appropriate for The Daily Post’s current prompt Companionable

To pill or not to pill

Looking at the way people consider cooking as a chore, I have manufactured a short and simple solution, a pill to take care of our basic need of eating food at regular intervals.

Although there already are too many hunger-killing as well as hunger enhancing food items in the shops, they do not serve the purpose. These hunger-killing shakes, drinks or snack bars, curb our urge while providing some nutrition.

My pill is different. Take a pill in the morning, take one in the evening.  Vitamin-PillsWith pills, you do not stop feeling hungry, you don’t curb your hunger but it’s taken care of by a simple sweet tiny pill. As such, you all take so many pills each day – for this vitamin and that vitamin.  With my two pills inside your guts, no need for food or any extra pill.

But, having gone through some of the responses to the survey Red Pill, Blue Pill, I am disheartened. My hopes are dashed. My business that had started to take-off, is in doldrums.That’s because you people are not happy with the idea of a pill.

Animals were happier than you. I fed some cows on these pills and they seemed pleased that they don’t have to keep hanging around pastures anymore. Animals don’t even have to cook their food but they still preferred gulping a pill to eating grass. No need to munch the whole day. My pill-fed cows were still happy to donate us humans ample milk for cheap, and baby cows fed on pills felt they won’t have to feel deprived of their mom’s milk.  The race horses said, they were happy that they’ll be able to slog the whole day without wasting time on eating food.

Humans, it seems, are different.  Sensual men and women love their senses – their mouths drooling at the sight of colorful food, their taste buds getting excited upon tasting sweet, sour, spicy, salty food.

How many times a day do we have to eat?  We humans imagine that overnight we kept a fast and we celebrate breaking this fast with our breakfast.  We need so many food times – lunch time, dinner time and tea times. In fact our life revolves around these food times.  Buying of wide variety of food, proper storage of perishable food, refrigeration, disposal of rotten food. Then we fuss over buying elegant cookware and dinnerware, and spend time and money on equipment and gadgets to make our cooking easier.  Serving food on fancy tables so as to please our eyes.  After that we overeat, put on weight and then feel guilty of not exercising enough.

We love our food. But this is the food given to us by animals and birds – their eggs, their milk, and they themselves sacrifice their life for us. Plants too give their full life or else their body parts to us, so that we can hog on them and live a healthy life.

My creation – this pill – will not only save these plants and animals but also help humans, esp. the fairer sex (I dare not say weaker sex) from slogging. I can reduce their kitchen workload; so they don’t have to keep pleasing their families.

So guys, please do re-consider your response to this prompt.  It can help the animal kingdom as well as human race.

That said, honestly speaking, I myself love wide variety of sumptuous food recipes cooked by my wife. I would never like to stop eating them.  Although I want to stop being a glutton, I hunt for best eateries around town. Don’t tell anyone but I’m not sure even after marketing these pills I may find myself unable to resist food. More than that I won’t be happy if my growing kids are deprived of micro-nutrients and calories they can get only from fresh food.  No pills for them.  My aging parents may not be able to tolerate a pill.

Oh well!  Is that another failed experiment?  Hope not. Hope one day my science finds some alternative solution. Not pills. Not too much food obsession the whole day. Something in between, and better than hunger-reducing snacks and shakes.

Freedom Is Everyone’s Birthright

Saare Jahan se Achcha…Hindustan Hamara

Happy Independence Day to all the people of Indian origin, wherever you are in this world, and of whatever faith, religion, color, caste or creed.  Be One!!   The country you hail from is one of its kind – a land of beautiful culture, strong values, spiritualism, linguistic and religious diversity.

It’s a day to value your freedom, to remember that it was attained after huge sacrifices, to not take it for granted and to constantly work towards maintaining this freedom so that our future generations can thank us, just as we thank our ancestors for the hard work they did to give us this day. A free country gives us all roots and belonging, it’s a prerogative but also an onus.

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This poem by Rabindranath Tagore sums it up:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

~~~

Today, in this post I am writing whatever comes to my mind. In all the previous years I’ve often hesitated to openly display my allegiance and duty towards my birth country. But as we grow older, we realize certain truths do not change so no harm in speaking out our heart.

Nothing judgmental in this innocent question but even with so many years gone, how many times do we get asked, “Where are you from?
Our skin, our eyes and our hair leak out the secret.

Migrants to any country are known by their native country. If their native country is free and progressive, they too earn respect, and vice versa.  If their native country is war-ridden…well, we all know the status of refugees and asylum seekers.

To Be As Clean As Can Be

The Daily Post’s writing prompt Sweeping Motions has asked us:
‘What’s messier right now — your bedroom or you computer’s desktop (or your favorite device’s home screen)? Tell us how and why it got to that state.’

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My computer table is messy. No No, my room is messier. No No, it’s my table….

Both are slightly messy. Both are clean.  But there’s a reason to why they are like that?  I mean, c’mon, what else do you expect?  Unlike India, here in Australia we’ve to do most of the work by ourselves. Moreover, with more than half of my family of three enjoying their trips, currently I’m doing all the work by myself.  It’s a different issue that less family members also means less work.

In general, if there is a long list of work to be done all the time – say cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing etc. etc – what will happen?  We’ll have to prioritize, innit?  We’ll do only that which is absolutely necessary.

Cooking is vital, followed by cleaning of the kitchen. Hygiene in kitchen is more important than that of the rest of the house. Cleaning of toilets is also necessary but this week, with most of my family away, I’m using  only one toilet. When the sole person using the bathroom and toilet is a woman, it doesn’t get much dirty anyway.

Ok.  Next task?  We need clothes every day.  At the most I can forego the ironing of each and every washed piece, but washing of clothes is still a necessary chore to be done every alternate day.

Only after these vital chores are over, comes a need for room cleaning and yard cleaning. Bedroom cleaning involves carpet cleaning every other day. Currently I do not see a dire need for it, so the floor looks fine. The bedroom wardrobe always seems to have a room for cleaning. Also exists the task of changing of bedsheets but not every single day as I use my bed only for sleeping, not for watching TV or casual sitting around.  Hence sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, I avoid making my bed. But it’s Okkkk!!!

My computer table is currently within my bedroom. Other than the laptop and another big screen computer, right now it has some scattered pens, random visiting cards, letters and envelopes, some coasters, phones being charged. Is that a mess?  Thanks to my deteriorating eye-sight, I can’t clearly spot the dust even if it is there. A dressing table, that sits next to the computer table, has a drawer full of charging wires, ear-phones, head phones, diaries and writing stuff but it hardly has any makeup or beauty items that it ‘s supposed to have. Any fines for that?

But Hey Word Press!! Why am I telling you all this? And why are you asking?

Other than busy schedules, the way we all are addicted to blogging as well as to the rest of the online media, you can’t expect us to be cleaner than we are. There’s so much information overload online that I spend more time reading about ‘How to use lemon or vinegar to clean the house’, rather than on actual cleaning.  There’s no dearth of sites that inform about ‘How olive oil can help clean leather items’, or ‘How to use baking soda to clean your face as well as your house’. Organic cleaning is the best, they say. But just reading about all this information is not going to automate the cleaning of our homes.

To conclude it all as a poem….

 The amount of time we spend online
 Messy rooms and tables are not a crime.
 Please do not track our rooms
 Go home and clean your own room.
(no offense meant)

Our Fountains of Joy

Have you ever tossed a coin or two into a fountain and made a wish? Did it come true?

I try to recollect but I do not remember putting coins in any fountain to have my wish come true. Sometimes I’ve looked at the sky and wished upon a star or should I say moon.

More than that I’ve prayed at religious places, asked for something and the wishes did come true. Yes, they do come true if we do not make it a habit. Generally speaking, be it a fountain, a star, dandelion or God, we should be careful what we wish for.

But nowadays, I do not ask for anything from anyone or anywhere. I’ve discovered, it doesn’t matter either way.

That said, we’ll look at a fountain. The picture below is not exactly a fountain with waters gushing out upwardly and some musical lights creating a spectacular sight. This is more of a fountain where there are subtle bubbles that slowly spread water all around.

With the architecture of circulating pathways, the Spiral Fountain at Darling Harbour in Sydney is a favorite place for kids (and adults) to wet their feet on steps filled with water, go walking round and round to finally reach the rotund centre and sit there in glory.

My son also used to love doing that when he was a little boy – splashing his feet around this path, laughing and giggling non-stop while descending down. Finally victorious upon reaching his destination, sitting comfortably there, he would wave at us from far as if he was now in some different land.
20070322051155_00011mw(My son’s picture is not too clear. Here’s another one with a wider fountain)

When we see our kids, or see any kid for that matter, enjoying their little things, we heartily wish them to be always happy like that.  They are our fountains of joy.

When they grow older, we continue to wish the same even though we inevitably cannot always be a part of their social activities, their trips and tours. We still want them to reach their destination and achieve great heights.

These are the secret wishes and open desires of every parent in this world. I look at this fountain now and make a wish for my son’s happiness.

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In response to Daily Prompt: Three Coins in the Fountain

A rant…From Me to You…

The Daily Prompt: From You to You  has asked us to…Write a letter to your 14-year-old self. Tomorrow, write a letter to yourself in 20 years.”

Oh baby! Was I ever fourteen?  I can write about 40 as that’s not distant, but 14 seems so remote though I do have vivid memories to share. My sensitive and studious 14 year old self does need some sermonizing on practicalities of life but I’ll leave it for some other time.

My son should answer this prompt. In fact, I can write on his behalf as I know him inside out. I think I do. On the contrary, maybe I don’t. He’s always been a thoroughly good boy during his schooling and now university but generally, as they grow up they have their own lives, esp. our sons. As such, in these times we all live in our own cocoon. Particularly at young age they want to carve their future, spread out their wings so they’re busy trying out new ventures and journeys.

Right now at this moment my son is in London. He went all alone for a month long academic trip to Europe. After Switzerland and Germany, he’s now in UK.

The last few weeks were anxious anyway but today I’m worried like hell, for he has not been picking up the phone since yesterday. Right now it’s midnight in London and I assume he must have been caught up in tube transport strike during the day or when coming back home late evening. Something to do with that.

When I last talked to him almost two days ago, he said he will not go out of his accommodation on Thursday as the city may get chaotic. But the whole day on Thursday, his phone was switched off, so I have no idea what’s been going on. Due to his hectic schedule and the time-gap between the two countries, his phone calls have been generally erratic throughout his trip, but this one’s the longest disconnect we had.

Of course, all this gave me a sleepless Thursday night. On top of that, today on Friday morning, I woke up to a power shut down. It’s not usual for Sydney to go without power, but that’s what happens when you need something the most. A few hours of no electricity meant phones can’t be charged, problematic net connection and all. Finally the power is back so I’m writing all this.

Now…waiting for his phone call. Possibly he’s asleep at this time. He will wake up and call us. But I have the phone numbers of Australian Embassies ready and also that of London Police.

My husband, who is busy with his inter-state tasks, tried to contact him as well but was amused at my panic. He laughed and said …”Police. Huh! Aren’t you too worried?“

Yes I am.  For I am a mom.

So yeah… 4, 14, 21, 40, 60, 80…nothing matters as long as we are safe and alive.

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My son with his mom when he was younger, she was younger but not 14

Whether we get little miseries or bigger woes, abundant achievements or tremendous failures, small joys or exhilarating happiness, it all holds value only when we ourselves are secure, and sure of the safety of our near and dear ones.

So. What will I say to my fourteen year old self? Maybe some of the above. And much more.

~~~

He called later in the day, as if nothing happened. So everything is ok now.

I can’t hold his hand anymore to keep him within my range. I should realize that it sets me free as well.