Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A star filled sky in my courtyard!

Few days back I was asked to judge a fancy dress competition for differently-abled people (earlier called disabled) as there were lots of things happening for the disability day in rehabilitation centre, NIMHANS. These participants were having lot of life challenges from mental illnesses to neurological ones and also challenge in the intellectual realm.
I found judging really difficult because there were so many good participants. Still we managed:)
Seeing their performance, I wanted to attend the final celebration when there will be cultural programs by the participants. Along with few colleagues I had planned for just few of the programs but we ended up watching all, since we loved it all.
There were classical dances to break dance..... and a fashion show where a wheel chair bound person's performance showed the entire hall that the life breaks through all such boundaries.
We came out of the halls inspired and awed by the joy of this group of individuals who deserved so much of admiration, and the people who were working with them.

Yesterday I was reminded again of it all, while watching a lovely movie about a child with Dyslexia ('Tare Zamen Per'). Very sensitively made movie and the director had done the homework properly regarding the multi-modal multi-sensory training for such difficulties and also the psychological-social and legal viewpoints about it. Unlike the movie 'Black' where right issues were raised and had great visuals....but unfortunately the audience leaving the hall didn't carry back much about such children in every day life and what to do about it .....

Movie 'Tare Zameen Per' reminded me of a much celebrated book on 'Play-therapy', which has become a classic in itself 'Dibs in Search of Self'. Dibs was a brilliant, lonely child (mistaken as a profoundly retarded child) trapped in a prison of fear and rage, a prison from which only he could release himself. And through psychotherapy and love he did- A true story of a child's search of self and meaning and finding that the security of his world was not wholistically outside himself but that the stabilizing centre he searched for with such intensity was deep down inside that self.

Here I just can't hold myself back in selecting three lovely paragraphs from the book, one at the start, one about play room and one in the end....for more get a copy of this book and read for yourself:)

"...Night...The darkened sky gives growing room for softened judgements, for suspended indictments, for emotional hospitality. What IS seen in such light seems to have so many possibilities...Here the benefit of a doubt can flourish and survive long enough to force considerations of the scope and limitations of human evaluation. For when horizons grow or diminish within a person the distances are not measurable by other people. ....Even though we do not have the wisdom to enumerate the reasons for the behavior of another person we can grant that every individual does have his private world of meaning, conceived out of the integrity and dignity of his personality.....I thought of many children i had known - children who were unhappy, each frustrated in the attempt to achieve a selfhood he could claim with dignity - children not understood, but striving again and again to become persons in their right...."

(About play room) "... There was nothing about the room or the materials in it that would tend to restrain the activities of a child. Nothing seemed to be either too fragile or too good to touch or knock about. The room provided space and some materials that might lend themselves to the emergence of the personalities of the children who might spend some time there. The ingredients of experience would make the room uniquely different for each child. Here a child might search the silence for old sounds, shout out his discoveries of a self momentarily captured, and so escape from the prison of his uncertainties, anxieties and fears. He brings into this room the impact of all the shapes and sounds and colors and movements and rebuilds his world reduced to a size he can handle."

"Dibs had had his dark moments and had lived for a while in the shadows of life. But he had had the opportunity to move out of those dark moments and discover for himself that he could cope with the shadows and sunshine in his life. ....Perhaps there is more understanding and beauty in life when the glaring sunlight is softened by the patterns of shadows. Perhaps there is more depth in a relationship that has weathered some storms. Experience that never disappoints or saddens or stirs up feeling is a bland experience with little challenge or variation in color. Perhaps when we experience confidence and faith and hope that we see materialise before our eyes, this builds up within us a feeling of inner strength, courage and security......We are all personalities that grow and develop as a result of all our experiences, relationships, thoughts and emotions. We are the sum total of all the parts that go into the making of life."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Mystic Story

When [the Russian mystic] Gurdjieff’s father was dying he called his boy. He was just nine, and Gurdjieff remembered the incident all his life. The father called him. He was the youngest child and the father said, ‘I am so poor, I cannot give you anything, my boy. But one thing which my father gave to me I can give you. You may not even be able to understand what it means now, because I myself was not able to understand what it meant when my father gave it to me. But it proved the most precious thing in my life, so I am just giving it to you. Preserve it! Sometime you may begin to understand it.’
So Gurdjieff just listened. The father said, ‘Whenever you feel angry, never reply before twenty-four hours. Reply, but let there be a gap of twenty-four hours.’
Gurdjieff followed his dying father’s advice. It became deeply impressed in his mind the very day his father died, and Gurdjieff said, 'I have practised many, many, many spiritual exercises, but that was the best. I never could be angry in my life, and that changed the whole flow, the whole current, because I had to stick to the promise.'
‘Whenever someone would insult me, I would create something, some situation. I would just tell him that I would come back after twenty-four hours to reply, and I have never replied because it proved such nonsense to reply.’ Only a gap was needed.
And the whole life of George Gurdjieff became something different.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Have a Dream!!

Since yesterday I'm reading a nice book 'Emotional Intelligence in couples Therapy' (Brent Atkinson). A really good book. Author and his wife are both couples and family therapist.

The author has explained very well, taking from the recent researches in affective neuroscience how our emotional life ans its difficulties are controlled by our brain circuits. The way Amygdala (part of brain which is involved in emotional processing and is common to all animals) works and how it high jacks the thinking part of the brain when under emotional stress or trauma, or just a perception (or misperception) of it.

It further gives step by step process how to help people, using the latest researches in brain behavior researches. That gives a lot of hope!!

They have also given 5 prerequisites for relationship success and ten habits that enable partners to meet them.
Have a soft start-up and don't talk down your partners by----
Habit 1: avoiding a judgemental attitude
Habit 2: Standing up for yourself without putting your partner down
Accept other's influence (There is evidence that although wives tend to begin complaints more harshly than husbands, husbands are generally less willing than wives to accept influence. Research further shows that the willingness of husbands to accept influence alone predicted marital success 80% of the time (Gottman 1999, 2002).
Habit 3: finding the understandable part
Habit 4: Giving equal regard
Effective repair...by
Habit 5: offering assurances
Respecting your partner's dreams; holding on to your own... thru
Habit 6: Understanding and Explaining what is at stake

Five positive for every negative
Habit 7: Curiosity about your partner's world
Habit 8: Keeping sight of the positive
Habit 9: Pursuing shared meaning
Habit 10: Making and responding to bids for connection.

That seems to be easy at first thought but doesn't work when we are upset, angry, hurt or fearful about losing the person or her/his love.....and here comes the therapeutic work which is working with that part of the brain which is in between the emotional and thinking parts so as to make a better connection easier by changing our emotional response patterns.

Well, coming back to my dream.
I want to work with people as a therapist as a coach as a trainer in their individual and relational lives and bring healthy changes as far as possible in as many lives as possible. I especially wanna target the growing up children, especially adolescent boys (supposedly the most difficult group) to help them grow as sensitive and just individuals.
Seeing so many people around and so much of emotional, sexual, physical violence and abuse it seems to be one of the most compelling work needed. Whatever is possible and where ever possible, especially i wish to do so in the Hindi belt where i have seen children growing up into a feudal culture and no matter how intellectual they are, falling back into same patterns of feudal mentality when in a conflict.
I am aware of the difficulties in the way, but i am aware there is a meaning in such work... I wish it will happen one day.
I dream of a changed inner world of people, more harmonious and beautiful!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Weird World!

" Those for whom
touching the lips of ocean
is enough,
tuck their clothes,
leave their slippers,
take a careful dip."
(a piece from a poetry book by an author, I don't know)

Long back i had read something which meant something like....."Some people hate.... as if they are going to love some day, while some people love with caution...as if they are going to hate someday." So many people really love with caution and calculation. (only rare are those who hate, as if they are going to love someday). They will look at the balance sheets of give and take, will want to have profit forever and would like to avoid taking any risk. They may believe the are open to experiences, but the moment they feel threatened they turn around and walk to the safety of the river bank.
Recently we found in some research that this kind of personality trait of those who want to avoid any kind of harm to themselves, are those with less amount of happiness. May be it is due to the reason that such people worry a lot about their safety or any harm which might befall them. The fear of failure of more persistent than an expectation for success. And so they may not be giving their 100% in any thing, any goal including relationships.

Those in their lives often might feel like telling them....
"Your friendship makes my heart ache,
Be my enemy for friendship's sake. "

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Life of Pi

Recently I read a nice book 'Life of Pi'. It won Man Bookers Award few years back and since then I wanted to read it full after reading the reviews, as they say its a book about faith. And also because it starts from the place I love, Pondicherry. The writing style is called magical realism.
As per Wikipedia, in literature, Magic Realism often combines the external factors of human existence with the internal ones: it is a fusion between scientific physical reality and psychological human reality; it incorporates aspects of human existence such as thoughts, emotions, dreams, cultural mythologies and imagination. Thus it can be more exact in depicting human reality. Nonetheless, a certain person's or group's perception of reality may differ from another's: to the insider, a given magical-realist text can be a relatively accurate depiction of his reality; the same text, however, may appear rather unreal to the outsider, whose perception of reality may differ greatly from the insider's. Despite this, the reader (often the outsider) can bridge the gap by momentarily suppressing his perception of reality and adopting the reality presented in the text. This, in turn, equips the reader with the necessary tools required to decode the text. This can be described as the 'evolved duties' of the reader.
In the twentieth century, the ideal of homogenisation caused societal dissonances within the world's communities and social groups and between them and led to the blood-stained history of the twentieth century. In the aftermath of conflict, some have tried to assimilate history in order to aid the healing process of a particular community or social group and to re-define their identity. In literature, this manifested itself as Magic Realism, a dissident and dialectical discourse strategy which can provide a more accurate representation of human reality as a whole. Indeed, Magic Realism can also be seen as the story of the 'other'.
I did like the book especially its humour and the way it has different layers. It is a story of a guy who is left with a tiger after a shipwreck, which kills his entire family. One of my favourite take on it was where the author talks of his love for both, people who believe in religion vs. those who instead believe in science. For, both kind go as far as their respective fields of knowledge take, AND THEN 'BOTH MAKE A LEAP OF FAITH'. He has uncomfortable feeling regarding agnostic, for you can't live your entire life with doubts. Wow! it makes a lot of sense.

Today, I got a different perspective on this book. Some one used the book as a metaphor about living in an abusive relationship. About what all humans sometimes do to avoid being lonely.... like living with someone dangerous, violent, a tiger! and being attached to him.
Hey that makes sense too!!

Thanks to my Girl-Friends!

They talk of women's sacred rituals...
holding hands and sustaining and nurturing each other is also one of those it seems. I wanted to thanks all my girl friends who called back, came to visit me, listened to me, prayed for me and gave a hug ...in times of need.
I'm posting a fwd messages here for my girl friends.....and all women out there. (btw, there is something smilar from Archies... a large poster.. but i didn't find it great enough:)



enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to...
something perfect to wear if the employer,
or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...
a youth she's content to leave behind....
a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to
retelling it in her old age....
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...
one friend who always makes her laugh...
and one who lets;
her cry...
a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else
in her family...
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal,
that will make her guests feel honored...
a feeling of control over her destiny...
how to fall in love without losing herself..
how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend without;
ruining the friendship...
when to try harder...
that she can't change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..
that her childhood may not have been perfect....but its over...
what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...
how to live alone...
even if she doesn't like it...
whom she can trust, whom she can't,
and why she shouldn't take it personally...
where to go...
be it to her best friend's kitchen table...
or a charming inn in the woods...
when her soul needs soothing...
what she can and can't accomplish in a day...
a month...and a year.
2) To My Dear Girl friends , Bringing you a mother's important piece of advice..

A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting her Mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.
Don't forget your girlfriends," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. "They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you'll have, you are still going to need girlfriends. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them. And remember that "girlfriends" are not only your friends, but your sisters, your daughters, and other relatives too. You'll need other women. Women always do.
What a funny piece of advice,' the young woman thought. 'Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake, a grownup, not a young girl who needs girlfriends! Surely my husband and the family we'll start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!'
But she listened to her Mother; she kept contact with her girlfriends and made more each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her Mom really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, girlfriends are the mainstays of her life. After 50 years of living in this world, here is what I know about girlfriends:

Girlfriends bring you chicken curry when you need help.
Girlfriends keep your children and keep your secrets.
Girlfriends give advice when you ask for it.
Sometimes you take it, sometimes you don't.
Girlfriends don't always tell you that you're right, but they're usually honest.
Girlfriends still love you, even when they don't agree with your choices.
Girlfriends laugh with you, and you don't need canned jokes to start the laughter. Girlfriends pull you out of jams.
Girlfriends help you get out of bad relationships.
Girlfriends help you look for a new apartment, help you pack, and help you move. Girlfriends will give a party for your son or daughter when they get married or have a baby, in whichever order that comes!
Girlfriends are there for you, in an instant and when the hard times come. Girlfriends listen when you lose a job or a friend.
Girlfriends listen when your children break your heart.
Girlfriends listen when your parents' minds and bodies fail.
Girlfriends support you when the men in your life let you down.
Girlfriends help you pick up the pieces when men pack up and go.
Girlfriends rejoice at what makes you happy, and are ready to go out and kill what makes you unhappy.
Times passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Love waxes and wanes.
Hearts break.
Careers end.
Jobs come and go.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favours.
Men don't call when they say they will.
BUT girlfriends are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you.
A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

my movie watching days!

For a change let's talk about movies...
This time during my vacations at home I watched a number of movies. Not that I wanted to, but because my father is a movie buff and has got some collection of old Hindi movies and is still in process. He wanted me to see all of them, but most were already seen by me and I'm not so keen on watching movies second time until and unless it is really good or engaging...or if it is a difficult topic handled well.
I ended up watching lot of V. Shantaram and Sandhya's movies and one of them "navrang" about a poet and his imagination stood out little more, because of an old association. The entire movie was full of song and dance, at the drop of a hat. This movie was again reminded to me, while watching a new movie 'Saawanriya'. The director of this much hyped movie tried to make a poetry out of a story "White Nights" by Fyodor Dostoevsky (original i still want to read) but something went amiss.
My speculation is, while the poetry dances in a dreamy location, story stands on the window-sill, ready to jump out! ;)

Other than this I watched two movies which i really wanted to see. 'Yatra' a difficult movie, worth watching again to understand better. And 'Hazaron Khwahishein aisi' ...ah! here comes a brilliantly made movie...it is one of those which makes you think weeks later .... and sometimes brings a change of life decisions!
I have started missing north India more and I wonder about an alternative course my life would have taken -had I taken the road to JNU instead of Tata Motors after my PG!
Seems like Vidhi ka Vidhan!!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Search for a home!

A longing for a home..a deep yearning to return back and be welcomed... and an acceptance for all the lonely journeys we have taken in our assertion of independence..
need for a stable part in life, to make it a centre a base, from where we can go on adventures, explorations and to where we can return back for healings!
One of my first poems, reflected this ...
(Can this need ever be really fulfilled..or is it an ever changing dynamic process?? )

क्या तुम
उन वृक्षों से हो सकते हो
जो पंक्षी की
खुले असमान मे
निर्द्वन्द उड़ानों के बाद
शाम को
बाहें फैलाये
उसका इंतज़ार करता हो
उसको स्वीकार करता हो।