Life or Muse, Hard to Choose

Losing one’s writing voice. Not that big a crisis this. But if something goes missing, we do wonder. Wonder about its whereabouts.

Where are you my writing muse!
Come back dear!!!
Come! Come here!!
Come hither!
Come hither!!
Come hither…hither hither hither
Don’t be scared. Sit near. Come!!!
Promise! I won’t bind you. Won’t tie you down to a lamp post.
You know. I never tried to tame you like a pet.
But then I did try once.
To call you as and when I desired, and not when you wished to come.
But no success. Could I ever set days or hours apart, for writing or publishing?
No. And this non-rhythm worked for me.
Never let crude strategy kill the true spirit.

“…as immediately I stopped disciplining the muse,” said F. Scott Fitzgerald, “she trotted obediently around and became an erratic mistress if not a steady wife.”

So! That’s what you always were. Untamed and free to come and go.
And that is the reason you always followed me around. Vibrant. Liberated. Uninhibited.
Sitting on my shoulder, whispering sweet nothings.
We two were happy. Till life occurred.

~~~

Yes, life occurs, and raises questions and doubts. To live life, or to listen to one’s writing voice. Life or Muse? Muse or Life? Sometimes life wins.

Till later one day we again find ourselves using this very life, to embed it within our writing. Provided that by then our writing muse is not so annoyed that it refuses to come back.

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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.

All That Stays…

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All That Stays…

It was as bad as can be. We could barely escape. Our lives were saved but all else was ravaged by the tornado. A house full of furniture, wardrobes full of little luxuries, a garage full of good-for-nothing goodies, a kitchen…

Returning after years, the junkyard looked eerily familiar. With tearful eyes I gazed around. Hang on!! Aren’t these the flowers dad gave to me on my 18th birthday? A year before the storm?

“They will stay on forever” was his logic behind buying synthetic pansies. And they did.

Happiness has a way of staying if it has to. In weird forms. At weird places.

~~~ ~~~

That was my story for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle. This week’s photo was contributed by Ted Strutz.

Tidbit: The flowers in the errr…commode look like pansies, don’t they?
Pansies are symbolic of remembrance, fond memories, love, thoughtfulness.

 

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

These Festivals of Light…of Hope, Faith and Love  

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Most of the prominent festivals celebrated by us humans, irrespective of faith or religion, are in some way a Festival of Light.

Not all are referred to as that, but they are so because lightening up of the surrounds – to whatever degree – is an essential part of Diwali, Christmas, Gurpurab, Eid and many others that I have unintentionally not listed here.

Festivals of Light are also festivals of darkness, for they go hand in hand. But how’s it so?

Light seems bright only because of darkness. Try lighting a lamp during the day. During broad daylight in a well lit room, if we accidentally put our electric bulbs and tube-lights on, we put them off instantly…‘Oh! That was accidental. We don’t need you as yet. Let darkness arrive!.’

And when after its long and tiring work-day, as sun begins to set and darkness takes over charge…that’s when we definitely and immediately need light in any form, howsoever little.

Thus if there’s no darkness there would be no value of light. Darkness renders light indispensable to us. In moments when darkness is unbearable and fearsome, it is the illuminating light that provides everyday comfort, while taking away our fear of the unknown thus adding to our happiness.

All in all, these facts were well known to our human ancestors who thronged the earth ages ago. Hence, after their initial hit and trials of rubbing stones to produce fire (and light) they experimented in all possible ways to create light so as to make their lives easy.

In very olden days, esp. here as I talk in the contexts of India, when there was no electricity, people depended on earthen lamps, candles, lanterns to get rid of physical darkness and facilitate visibility.

At the same time, they very keenly sought spiritual light in the form of ancient wisdom that’s written all over in the ancient books.

“Aum Asato ma sad gamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mṛtyorma amṛtam gamaya
Aum shanti shanti shantih “

The above lines in Sanskrit that were taken from the Upanishads textbooks mean –

“From Ignorance, lead me to Truth;
From Darkness, lead me to Light;
From Death, lead me to Immortality
Peace, peace, peace !!” –

Given the importance they gave to the very concept of light, those days in India offering ‘light’ to others in any form was considered a noble task of charity. ‘diwali-smallDeep-daan’, is the term used for thus donating light, that is lighting a ‘deep’ or an earthen lamp for others. It’s a charity of light, and the purpose was to help others dispel darkness around them.

So, from what I’ve heard, after sunset our ancient people used to habitually and regularly go to choraha – the road-crossings and light a lamp there.

Numerous such lamps would become a full-fledged light system, and these groups of lamps would illuminate the pathway of every passer-by. This was esp. beneficial on the darkest of nights, and that’s what it is on every Diwali night, as it is a new moon or moon-less night each Diwali.

Moreover, thus lighting up each other’s path meant not only illuminating others’ path but simultaneously radiating your own path as well.

Yes!!  Lighting up others’ path automatically lights up your own path as well.

But. In order to light up somebody’s path, you have to have a light of your own, even if it‘s meant to be given away to others.

So, please do give it a thought.

Nowadays we don’t have any dearth of man-made electronic light devices. But even now, although we take light for granted, this same light continues its traditional role of giving us happiness. Thousands of years later, this festivals of light still continue to be symbolic of light’s victory over darkness and victory of goodness over evil.

In my immediate surroundings, on my street here in Sydney, I feel we need more street-lights as it sometimes gets too dark. Reporting this to the council has not yielded forth any positive results yet. So everyday, at around sunset time, I make sure I put on the lights in my outer verandah and outer porch.

This light overflows to the street beyond my house and possibly helps people coming home late, esp. as many university students do that. It probably deters the thieves as well.  I do this for few hours each day, particularly on the darkest new-moon nights that have no moonlight of its own.

Help those who have no light of their own, no hope and love; those who have lost their inner light and brightness. That’s the true essence of every festival.  That is, other than wearing good clothes and eating lots of sweets.

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Mysore Palace in South India here lit up for Diwali

Some more Diwali Pictures as Ornate as can be.

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Greece Crisis – My simple thoughts on few things Greek

Greece is so much in news these days, but for wrong reasons.

In fact it has been so for the last many years. But the financial crisis of this ravaged economy with the world’s highest levels of public debt, has now been taking huge toll on the general public, both in the form of extreme joblessness, disrupted financial institutions, general agitation and desperation in the confused public as they save their national pride.

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Outside bank’s closed doors
Picture source: SMH

Few days ago, we saw a sobbing pensioner sitting outside the closed bank doors, as he became a ‘despairing face of Greek financial crisis‘ for he couldn’t withdraw funds what with the banks closed due to low cash reserves.
“I cannot stand to see my country in this distress”, he said. “That’s why I feel so beaten, more than for my own personal problems”

I read in my local newspaper about failing medical facilities in this “society worn threadbare by debt and neglect” , but in the middle of all this there is a huge amount of solidarity among the Greeks, as reported by Sydney Morning Herald

It’s not often we hear such plentiful news about Greece on Australian media, hence it raised my curiosity. While I acquaint myself about the reasons for this economic crisis, I just can’t help remembering little things that I’ve always associated with Greece.

~~~

One of my very early scant recollections about the word ‘Greek’, is one of the characters from the late 70s Indian movie called Dharam Veer. As can be seen in the below song, out of the two friends singing glory to their unbreakable friendship, one is a prince and the other some tribal character wearing a Greek-style dress. After seeing this movie, we school girls used to say, the movie has a stout hero who was wearing skirt-dress with Greek sandals. Such strappy ‘Greek sandals’ had later become quite a vogue in India.

Of course, later on in high school, we read a lot about this great civilization. Personally I didn’t dislike history as a subject but, in general, ancient and medieval history that involves rote-learning of dates and names, was often a butt of jokes among Indian students. Other than lengthy names of Indian Kings, we also read about Megasthenes, Seleucus, Menander and many Indo-Greeks.  For us, Greece too was one of the countries that had a long ancient history like that of India. At that time we didn’t really know that Greece had much to do with the formation of Western civilization, but we could identify with its kings and queens, ancient temples, Gods and Goddesses and perpetual wars that were won by great heroes.

One such super-hero was Alexander the Great, whose war stories have always been popular in India.  Alexander, who got named as ‘Sikander’, invaded India in 326 B.C. and won the Battle of River Hydaspes against Indian King Purushottam (Porus to Greeks). Soon after that Alexander died.  There are many strange moralistic and heroic anecdotes about this war.  Mighty Porus was reputed to be patriotic and heroic but lost because his army used elephants. Alexander, even though from the enemy side, and often thought of as clever strategist and imperialistic, is still well-regarded in India for his invincible heroic qualities.

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Photo courtesy: Greek Myths

Indians generally had positive impression about Greeks, that historically they were full of valor and enthusiasm for knowledge. Most students in India also knew about Trojan War, the story of Helen of Troy, about technique and intellect in the use of a wooden horse to the end goal of victory. Such stories, based on other distant cultures were a source of moral lessons.

Of course, philosophy and moral discourses are never complete without a Greek stamp, what with all scholarly names like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato being read and quoted in Indian text books. We were also familiar with names like Homer, Oedipus, Apollo and Hercules and so many others. People in India have no dearth of ancient Indian scholars and wise men, but they have never failed to appreciate and gain from other civilizations like Greece.

~~~

As long as I lived in India, other than bookish knowledge about Greek culture and history, I didn’t have direct encounter with anyone or anything of Greek origin. There was probably also not much trade between the two countries.

It was only when I came to Australia that we actually met flesh and blood friendly Greek-Australians. One of my early work colleagues who was from Greece, used to look at us Indian-Punjabi women and always express her surprise, “How come you Indians look so much like Greeks?” I didn’t really think so but they saw huge similarities. But our similarities end here. Sounds amusing but other than looks, Indians nowadays are more similar to the English or other Caucasian Australians, if at all. Not that it matters though.

Recently, it is Greek yogurt that is finding my favor. It caught my eye as it’s supposed to have more protein than normal yogurt and it tastes great too. Indian cuisine has its own similar yogurt, that is a sweet dessert called Sri Khand.

~~~

So what am I trying to say? You can argue that no one is refuting the greatness of ancient Greek civilization, and you can say that Greek history, culture and cuisine are not in danger. It’s only the economy. But then, in olden days at least, a ruined or weakened economy had a power to change the rulers, demographics and boundaries of nations. A weak nation-state often used to give way to foreign rulers, as it happened with the advent of Mughals whose long lasting religious influence changed India’s original soul. Also, East India Company that entered India via trade route and soon got the throne, that too for 100 years. Such was the breach of trust, that Indians, particularly Hindu hardliners are still skeptical of any foreign multinationals who want their trading feet in India.

Well, this kind of thing won’t happen in Greece as it’s a modern era. But modern capitalistic times are even more dangerous. They leech out the life-blood of its prey country (or person). We see this in our everyday life.

Say, a person who is initially marginally needy for money, ends up getting a wonderful credit card with a high upper limit, thus facilitating this person with sudden access to more money than needed, but only to be doomed further as slowly his spending habits deteriorate. More loans follow, more expenditure and a seemingly generous but opportunist bank increases the upper limit. This is the time when a wise person (or country) would reign the spending habits but if they don’t, a time comes when collapse is certain, followed by bankruptcy.

Continuing my above example, what if this person who’s heavily indebted by his credit card was originally well-off, both financially and culturally, but now hit by cyclical bad times hard to escape. He is bound to have difficulty accepting degradation and downfall of any kind. There will be self-esteem and ego issues. Ancient civilizations too carry a similar pride, a strong national pride that doesn’t let them bow easily. We will break but will not bow down, is the attitude. Possibly I’m generalizing too much, probably my analogy doesn’t apply to Greek situation as in Greece it is more of a political drama created by the ruling parties.

Moreover, when the world blames Greece for not showing any responsibility in its spending as well as borrowing, they rightfully feel why should the countries that loaned money to Greece also suffer.

Given the complexity, whether Greeks are wrong or right in their approach, whether they are resolving wisely or egotistically, there sure has to be some simplistic way to bring them out if this situation. Will it be feasible for International Monetary Fund to further waive off a major portion of their debt, not merely by imposing austerities but unconditionally? If not that, then countries can pool up and contribute funds to pay off their debt. After all, the world too is indebted to Greece for the cultural richness it gave to the world. Does it sound too far-fetched and cliche?  But we all live by each other, exist because of each other, don’t we?

In Australia, as also in all other countries, if some forlorn dilapidated building is recognized as National Heritage site, everyone tries to protect and save it. Greece and other ancient civilizations are World’s Heritage. It is in the interests of the whole world to save them. Moreover, in any case this crashing economy will influence the whole world via ripple effect.

And once saved, and having learnt harsh lessons from their previous agonizing decade, it will then be duty of Greece to be wise and sensible in future.

I was reading somewhere, that if you wish to help Greece, plan your next holiday to Greece. So what are you thinking. Pack your bags!

 

Copyright © 2015. Written by Alka Girdhar

Wish you a very safe journey, my GPS thief!

Yesterday, you entered the boundary of my house at midnight. You stealthily opened all the doors of my car that was parked on the driveway and took away so many of my favorite things.

Wow!  How cool the whole process!  You could open my car without a key. What fun it must have been to search the car for valuables!!

It seems to me you did not like any of the goodies that were inside the big bag on the back seat. You had carelessly scanned and scattered them on the seat as well as thrown them outside the car. The sun caps, the shopping bag and trolley, water bottles and some documents – all of these were of no interest to you.

But you sure did find some humble luxuries on the front seat and took them home.  My GPS, my favourite music CDs, along with a few sunglasses. Possibly something else too that I’m not aware of.

I will miss my music collection but it is the loss of the GPS that will directly impact my life. May be it won’t.  Actually I did not value my GPS as much as I should have. Still, how did you come to know that I do not treasure it and you decided to take it away?

I now miss its presence in my car, but as long as it was with me, I hardly ever put it on.  Her voice telling me to  “Turn left”, “Turn right at the third intersection“, “Keep going for another 2 km then turn left” kind of irritated me. She used to put me under tension. During my journey I could either listen to her or use my brain. I always chose the latter.

I happen to have a sharp memory. I easily remember names of the streets. I like to find my own way, by hit and trial.  So I did not use my GPS as often as most people do.

And yet, the fact remains that it was mine.  I paid for this intelligent machine.  And you took it away so unashamedly?

Moreover, I did use it under dire circumstances. In any case I always avoid driving very long and unsafe distances, and now with my GPS gone, I will totally stop doing that, till I get another one, if at all.  Which means, much as I say I didn’t like it, it was my friend during my difficult times when I feared getting lost along the way. Hence I will miss its presence.  We can do without our friends who make merry with us but not without those who help us in our hours of need.

All in all, one thing is clear to me.  Even with my minor or major dependency on it, I did not love having a GPS to this extent, that I would have ever dared to venture out in the dark of the night, that too in this current chilly Sydney winter weather only to get a GPS from somebody’s car. But you did exactly that.

How unsafe it must have been for you to enter someone’s territory at midnight, and use unscrupulous means to open the doors before using either car-light or your own search light to scan around!!  You left the doors open and quietly vanished away with your booty. Were you scared of the noise it would make if you close the doors?

My heart feels bad for you as I realize how desperate you must have been and how needy that you had no other way to get these goodies except break open my car.  Therefore, I conclude you needed my GPS much more than I ever did.

And that’s what the police said, “This is a job of someone too needy.
But the cops also reiterated, “They do that all the time, they sell them away.

Indeed if a person decides to sell his/her conscience, then selling a GPS is not such a big issue, isn’t it?  So go ahead.  Let my loss be your big gain.

As for me, it’s not as much about the loss of the GPS, or that of music CDs and the sunglasses as it is about loss of faith in people living around my area; it’s about the loss of feeling of security.  It’s the scare you have caused in my heart that will linger on.  I may overcome it with time as will I forget my GPS.  Hopefully it may also make my family stronger as we further learn to keep our possessions secure and safe.

But I might still not keep my car in my garage every day, as quite a task it is to take it out of the narrow driveway. P1060189Therefore from now on, I will start using a car-cover that I always had but never used. The cover will keep my car dust free.  Good outcome!  It will be difficult for you to take off the car-cover and run away with it.

Also, the police has now updated me that you (and probably your pals) had raided many cars in our area. Which means there will now be increased police vigilance in our suburb. They said they will also get the street lights working. Some good does come out of all bad things.

Life will move on and so will your journey as you either use my GPS in your own car or sell it.  You needed it badly, so you better use it for your good.  But in general, no good ever comes out of eyeing other people’s possessions. No one can ever become a millionaire by stealing.

If you did not have any agenda of becoming rich via my GPS, and if you genuinely needed money for your ailing family, then it’s a matter of immense shame that we have a society where the poor and needy are too embarrassed to ask others for some humble amount of money, and they prefer, rather they are compelled to steal in the middle of night.

But if it is not poverty and rather it was your own addiction to stealing that compelled you to opt for this burglary, then all I can do is pray for you,  “May this GPS open the doors of your conscience!! May it show you a right direction and a ‘right’ way in life!!!”

I can almost hear my GPS speaking to you:  “Move right to go towards the right (eous) path in life. Keep driving forever…and ever…”

~~~

My car was actually broken into at night, two days ago.  

After reading The Daily Prompt Do Not Disturb  I was not sure I was supposed to share this incident here or not.  Sometimes we just feel like sharing. I can make it ‘private’ if and when I feel uncomfortable with it.
Responding to the prompt now, well in general, one should be careful about sharing. When in doubt have no doubt. If there is something you won’t tell to a random stranger, unknown neighbor or your enemy, then do not put it online.
But as it happens, with offline or online theft – ill-intentioned people will find a way. All you can do is be cautious.

We are Paired Forever, Paired Apart or Paired Never

There are all kinds of pairs and partners in this world. Some continue to be pairs for as long as they live. Others drift apart. Then there are also people or things that are better off alone, or they just happen to be so.

Paired Forever are things and people who flourish together as a pair. There is so much dependency on co-existence that if one goes missing the other has no identity, the other becomes nothing.

If we lose one sock from a socks pair, that pair becomes incomplete and useless. We store the remaining sock for some time hoping to rediscover its partner, after which we get rid of this lonesome piece. Same applies to shoes or slippers, even more so.

Likewise, earrings have identity only as a pair. A single piece of earring, howsoever precious, is of no use.

Other than these, there are slightly less dependent type of partners. They too are ‘paired forever‘ created to be together but they merely compliment each other.

P1060139A particular knife looks good with a particular fork, and also they are practically useful together as a pair, but we can use this knife without its matching fork. P1060136Salt and pepper containers are another duo that form a part of the set although they can exist by themselves too.

Similarly there are cosmetic things around our homes, like shampoo and conditioner pair, or a nail polish remover that finds purpose in wiping off nail polish. A toothbrush needs a toothpaste, though it need not be a specific toothpaste. Likewise, we have ‘soap’ and an accompanying ‘soap dish’.

Around my house, I noticed decorative pieces that look better as partnered pairs. This partnership does not provide any usage except for aesthetic appeal. Even this elephant pair with with a broken leg looked good once although possibly now it brings bad Feng Shui, as only complete pairs bring love and luck. It’s a memory from my native land so didn’t have a heart to throw it straightaway.

These were non-living pairs that go together. Among living beings, that is birds, animals and humans, we have permanent pairs that not only look good together but also compliment each other in their utility and essential nature.

There are love-birds, those gorgeously bright parrots known for their monogamous love towards their partner. They cling to each other, feed each other and are depressed if made to live without each other. How many human couples can claim to have that kind of monogamous bond?

In Australia, we have beautiful white Sulphur–crested Cockatoos, very loud parrots that are commonly found in Sydney suburbs where they walk around on our grassy yards. They are often seen around together in very lovey dovey moods.

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A happy pair of cockatoos walking in my front yard, and one lonesome fellow.

One morning, I saw a group of very noisy pink-necked Cockatoos. They sat on the roadside electric wires for half-an-hour. Some were happily paired, while single birds looked lonesome sitting next to the lovey-dovey pair.

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Other than these totally devoted love-struck parrots, most birds do like to move around as partners. How about this rare picture of a gorgeous bird-pair clicked in Cairns, Queensland Australia?

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             This bird pair in Cairns starts its morning together.  Half and Half

All these above living as well as non-living pairs are ‘made or meant for each other’ type of pairs.

Other than the above ‘Paired Forever’ pairs, we also come across pairs meant to be Paired Apart. At one time they were dependent on each other but with time they learn to do without each other.

However, some of these Paired Apart do continue to work as pairs, as and when required. They are together but almost like separate entities, and like two banks of a river, they co-exist from a set distance.

Many husband-wife or lovers’ pairs are happy like that. Two independent souls not suffocating each other but supporting just right. This casual pairing is great for one’s personal growth as long as the bond does not become so lose and casual that they cease to be a pair. Conscious bonding is necessary for such pairs.

Bond between most siblings is also more or less like that – firstly paired close then paired apart. This sweet partnership evolves and they drift apart over time. As they grow older, their life goals take them away and they leave the nest to settle in their own lives. Moreover, they soon form a pair with their married partner or lover. Priorities change altogether.

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Two sisters – click to enlarge

But at least during childhood, siblings play together and there is complete and possessive dependency in every way.

In this picture that we clicked in the poorer areas of a unique Himalayan village called Malana, two sisters can be seen moving around in synchronisation. It seems to be a give and take relation as the older sister looks after the little girl, while the younger one provides company. Likewise, in cities too, when parents are off to work, siblings form a close bond in their studying and playing activities.

Thus, we see most people do form a pairing bond at one time or the other, whether it is life-long pairing or a short term bond after which they move away.

And yet, a very less proportion of people are never paired, quite like most others are. Theirs is a solitary life, either self-chosen or destined.

Like, there are children who have no siblings. They form a strong bond with their available parent till they move out to pursue their own life and find their life-partner.

Then there are also people who waited forever for their true love to come along and found none till their last days. There are others who got love but lost their partner – due to circumstances in life or cruel death.

And rarely, there are some saints and ascetics who chose to stay single, without a desire to have any better half. Theirs is a pursuit towards higher goals and quest for truth

Either way, people who have seen loneliness often become stronger because of this. The whole world is their brother or sister, their bonds are not formed on the basis of demanding all-consuming relations. They get love from most unexpected quarters and give where it is needed the most.

Moreover, to be paired forever does not always mean it is true love or a close bond. Likewise, to be bonded and cared for in life, one does not need to form a pair. It is preferred by most but not always so.

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For: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pairs
Daily Post’s wekly challenge: Partners.

All pictures are self-clicked. Please click on them to view their full-sized version
©Copyright-All rights reserved by alkagirdhar.wordpress.com 2015-2016

My Best (est) Friend

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Our friends from virtual world play a significant role in our lives but in such a subtle manner that we do not even realize. When we read about other people’s life stories or see their online pictures, we too transform, either negatively or positively. Negatively when we start assuming that every other person’s life is better than ours, which may not be the case. Mostly it is a positive change because we learn so much from our online friends, without even stepping out of our house.

So, responding to the prompt  FiresideChat, I can very well say that after reading such inspiring blogs by sensitive caring writers, it would be a privilege to meet them in real. There are two emphatic female bloggers I particularly felt affinity to but I may never get to see them.

My conclusion is, that if at all we wish to see our virtual-world friends in real life, then it is better to do so at the earliest possible because if we do not meet them for a long time, then seeing them face-to-face at some later stage turns out to be a case of either faulty perceptions and impressions, or else the rapport doesn’t build up.  They may seem very different in reality and thereafter we lose them off-line as well as online.  So, if at all you wish to see them for real, never leave it for too long. Otherwise be happy being online friends.

And yes, while there are many people in my life whom I would like to know better, would like to have a personal chat with them by the fire-side…there is specifically one person I heartily wish to know better.  Today, as I talk about her, I feel I do know her very well and yet do not know her enough.

What happens is that as soon as I am sure I know her, and have formed a confirmed opinion about her that she is like this, or she is like that…then soon she seems very different.  Confuses me.  Drives me crazy.  The very issues and habits in her that appeal me today, do not appeal me the very next day.  Sometimes she is totally feminine, like some insecure girl rather than being a woman.  And then she is changed the next day, confident as can be, beyond recognition.

That is why I want her to tell me about her inner fears, hidden wishes and desires that she doesn’t tell anyone.  I want to sit and listen to what she has to say as only I can be her best friend. This much I know.  This heart-to-heart chat will also improve our relation.

The fact is, I see her every day.  She’s there with me very often though sometimes even when she’s physically with me, she’s away in her her own world, her cocoon.

Have you guessed by now that I am talking about myself?  I would like to meet myself face-to-face and talk. I would like to observe myself, by going outside of me…judge myself objectively in a detached way.  I want to communicate with myself to get the inner self-realization about my purpose in life.

I want to know myself more than what others know about me.  Mostly, others define who I am.  My childhood friends and siblings remind me that I was like this or that, and I believe them.   My mother tells me I am like this and I completely trust that she knows much more about me than I myself do. Thus I get approvals and certificates from everyone known so as to conveniently define my behavior and adapt my future goals as per their previous set expectations.

Till now, my community and society defined my life for me.  What was charted out for me by the capitalist materialistic world was meant to be followed during my teens and younger age. Now, as a mature woman, I would like to sit with myself and have a heart-to-heart chat about her (my) life that she had till now. I want to know what she (me) wants to do with the rest of her life, so as to make the most of it.  I want to know her (me) through my eyes not this world’s eyes. I want her to re-discover her hopes, her strengths, her passions, her beauty, her inner truth. I want to heal her of any hurt that I myself have given to her.

I will soon chat with my bestest friend and share it with you all.

My above thoughts are for my own self-realization but they need to be applied by all human beings at various stages of life. And as said by one Doris Mortman, ‘Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.’

*****

That was my response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt:  FiresideChat.

“What person whom you don’t know very well in real life — it could be a blogger whose writing you enjoy, a friend you just recently made, etc. — would you like to have over for a long chat in which they tell you their life story?”

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