Sunday, December 12, 2010

At random some thoughts on life...

The purpose of life, of earth and everything which exists, seems to be the one question which keeps coming back to me, especially during moments of crisis. Answers have to be beyond just an intellectual-philosophical second-hand idea, it has to be deeper, intuitive and somatic, both I might say. Often these answers are needed to inform my life decisions and my everyday living, both.

A lot many people keep struggling with these ideas. And there is rarely any clear cut, black and white answers. At one level one looks at ones' immediate needs and desires and their fulfillment. Well for a lot many people once they move beyond themselves and their significant others, they start wanting to 'give back to the society'. Not just as a slogan, but really believing in it and acting upon it. Its rewarding in itself, beyond the idea of 'selfish gene'. And lot of people do that, in fact almost everyone engages in something like this, on a momentary basis or in an ongoing way, as a spontaneous action, or as a long-term choice of life.

But sometimes for some people it becomes their profession, their career and work. Further a lot of people become heavily invested in it. A lot many times such people rarely look at what is behind their actions, the motives are hidden and the driving force can be unhealthy too. Well for some only the outcome matters, but for mental health, the process itself is so important that we can not ignore it. And when one is unwise in the process, its rarely that the outcomes turn out to be a wise one. Often the outcomes are just a waste of resources, of one self and of the world both, this is my personal opinion. Harsh it may sound though. (Until and unless the zeitgeist of the moment has taken control of the person and made her/ him a means of birth of something more important for human development).
(Check this out http://www.ted.com/talks/jessica_jackley_poverty_money_and_love.html)

This is so true for the field of translation research in development works. I too know being involved in public mental health. But in current times, when researchers are measured with the cumulative weight of papers they have published... or even with the number of conferences they have attended, talks they have given... and everything associated with the business of being one researcher among thousand others, in the background of limited funds and limiting rules of funding, where is the scope for developing into a wise researcher?

Somehow for me it is often good to come down from the ramp of professional, social and even personal expectations and in an unlit corner without external gazes, ask this hard question, what is the purpose of my life and how am I living it. When I look for truth around, they are often painful, hard to swallow and ugly to accept... but accept I must for my own liberation!

In this moment of questioning self and others' actions and motives, it was heartening to hear my mentor (a child psychiatrist and paediatrician, a stalwart in himself in the area of autism research as well as preventive work with vulnerable and traumatised children) give a talk to a group of social workers involved in family visits. He works towards building healthier relationships between parents and their kids, in some of the most vulnerable groups of society, as a means to protect the child from future mental illness. He gets the parents off the hook even with respect to much acclaimed achievement. As he says, the only thing which is in our control, and we can do something about, and will take to our bed, is the quality of our relationships.

And isn't it so true, not the functional outcomes, not even the outcomes of our relationships, but the quality of relating... And somewhere that comes from the quality of our being. And it was heart warming to see him get down on his knees and play with kids while teaching parents how to be!

(Focus on parents' actions, who themselves are underprivileged, resourceless or vulnerable is not really fair in one way, but on the other hand as it is said in general about moral principles is that the more power you have over someone, the greater your duty is to use that power benevolently. And who has more power over little kids than their parents?).

And sometimes I think, this is what everyone is going to get to slowly, gradually, but certainly. Beyond the 'haves' magnanimously doing and giving something to 'have nots'. It would come down to the strengths within each person, the control that person has over the situations, and the way that person can live a fulfilling life within whatever means available, where ever available. Because, other aspects of structural changes takes long to happen and generations perish by then. Isn't it any surprise that Indian poor (or even Asian I will say with whatever research I have come across) have often displayed higher levels of resilience and well-being as compared to their counterparts in the west hypothesised repeatedly to be the outcome of their relational connections.

I also wonder often ... with so much of automation happening, high rates of unemployment and better reach of education increasingly leading to more number of people ready for a white collared job, won't it be a good idea that everyone works less number of hours, take less salary, but live a more fulfilling life, with more time for contemplation, creativity and relationships ??? And more people getting employment on their behalf ? Anyone out listening there ?

Well its not such a fancy idea after all, studies have shown Americans work more number of hours than Europeans ... and this thought itself came to me 8-9 years back from a book which has changed many people's lives, 'One straw revolution' by the Japanese agriculturist Masanobu Fukuoka. Worth many readings...

I'm drifting in my thoughts though ... and its time to end my mid-night awake time with musings, due to jet-lag and stress, and go back to sleep :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Philanthropy as a career

It seems suddenly a new era is dawning, and the world is celebrating 'giving'. From, bill Gates to other groups...

what if every one decides not to take.
a lot of professionals will not only be jobless but also will be meaningless..

Doing my thing vs. I and Thou

For a long time these poems were painted and pasted on my wall.
Earlier I used to believe in the first poem more and now i believe in the 2nd poem more. I think it also depends upon what stage one is going through in life. (All my friends too had their preferences).
(I think i picked up both from the famous and amazing book 'the road less travelled' Scott Peck http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Scott_Peck
One should check this one out...


Gestalt Prayer - Fritz Perls

I do my things and you do your things
I am not in this world to
live up to your expectations,
and you are not in this world to
live up to mine.
You are you
and I am I
and if by chance we find each other,
it's beautiful.
If not
It can't be helped.

(These lines expresses very forcibly the human need for independence and self expression. I must have my own thoughts and feelings and I must assert my right to express them freely. I must make my own choices and be able to live by them...
... but psychologist Walter Tubbs supplement that true human fulfillment is found only in relationships of love; the truth begins with two.)

Beyond Perl -Walter Tubbs
If I just do my things and you do yours
We stand in danger of losing each other
and ourselves.

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations;
But I'm in this world to confirm you;
as a unique human being.
And to be confirmed by you.

We are fully ourselves only in relation to each other
The I detached from a Thou
disintegrates.

I do not find you by chance
I find you by an active life
of reaching out.
Rather than passively letting things happen to me.
I can act intentionally to make them
happen.

I must begin with myself, true;
But i must not end with myself;
The truth begins with two.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

India Explained ( just an attempt with all my humility:)

An American friend on a lecture tour recently found himself in a guest house dining table with fellow Indian diners. Half in jest, half mockingly he mentioned that, during the entire dinner the only word spoken by them to him was 'chapatti' (to pass it), as if it was his name!

Oops, he has absolutely missed it, in spite of being in India for almost 2 years now and having many close Indian associates. But then, not everyone is really interested in understanding culture and its under currents... its too woolly for some.

My thoughts on one hand were..., Indians are usually informal people, often finding it hard to resist curiosity induced over familiarity, over concern or even roadside gawking at a 'firangi'/ foreigner (just read its common in Japan as well). But this kind of spontaneous behavior is engaged in by those who are aware of some differences, are bothered enough to want to know more, and do not have close contacts with such foreigners. But, when at close contacts, Indians can get highly conscious, feeling unsure of themselves, their manners and behaviour and their language proficiency (especially the middle class, who can be acutely aware of the differences).

So my guess is that, silence at the dining table was due to the presence of a white stranger.

Further, the art of small time conversations about weather (or whatever else) is really not developed and refined in India. It is either the intimate talks about one's family, one's children, one's history, one's experiences, one's health, one's woes or nothing (Here who would be courageous enough to ask a young western male about his wife, children or salary ;).

Sharing of deepest secrets or having life-transforming interactions during a railway journey, is a common theme of many Indian stories in vernacular languages. These conversations, even if seeming intrusive to introverts like me, (along with the free advices) do have a background, a reason. They crop up from growing up in a neighbourhood, where everyone knew everyone, events in some one's life was every one's concern and even a visitor in the neighbourhood was talk of afternoon gossips.

But somewhere it was also a joint meaning making about ways of life ... common sense, learning about rules of life, of culture and even wisdom develops this way...

And this cultural habit makes it difficult for psychotherapists to stay that 'Freudian blank slate' and interprete every personal question from the client (heard it's especially difficult when both the client and the psychotherapist is from the small state Kerala). It is normal, culturally learned attempt by the clients, to locate the therapist in time and space, and in the process connect with her/him.

As they say poetically, 'baat nikali hai to door talak jayegi'... (once you start a topic, it will go much further ...). This brings me to the issue of communication. Generally Indians are communicative in a different sort of way. Not so many verbal 'thank you s and sorries'. When well-meaning western family therapists tried to build workshops on such interactions, seasoned Indian family therapists raised their hands... Nope! here it doesn't work like that. A lot of coding and encoding aspects of a communication, the expression of regret, gratitude, love, respect etc is done in terms of either non-verbal form, in actions (doing more than required) or verbally but indirectly (through use of metaphors, poetry etc).

Availability of Bollywood songs for every occasion, does come to rescue, as a rich poetic, dramatic culture. Direct, 'in your face' kind of communication is generally avoided, and often scope for face-saving is left for others.

I'm reminded of my interactions with my mom. If, mid way through an occasional argument, I realised my mistake/ over-reaction and gave her an understanding eye-contact, my mom would often burst into tears. Only arguments were fine, but that eye contact would make the moment so dynamic (that gaze with mix of my frustration, my confusion, my regret, my sympathy, my understanding of her vulnerability and her point of view), it used to change the entire situation. It was a joint acknowledgement of the situation, of our mutual perspective, and our anger, sadness along with the issue behind, would flow out with those tears.

I do look at a culture from either a neutral or even a positive point of view. Something which is prevalent, often has good enough reasons for being so. Even when change is required, first an empathic, compassionate understanding needs to be fostered.

I often wonder, the way fatalistic-acceptance leading to some sense of contentment, works for someone from a 'poor world'... conflict-avoidance can work for an intelligent someone, from an elite background, trying to bring change and development in the same 'poor world'. Both are preventive approaches to maintain that tenuous homeostatic balance of one's state of mind. Period! At times it is a matter of being in a privileged position to decide 'who' needs to change 'what' !!!

Regarding few other cultural ethos... another area of misunderstanding is that of boundaries.

They say, because of our population rate soon every third/fourth person on this planet would be an Indian (don't have the data;). On the other hand the proportion of the land is small (I do not know the exact figures). Thus, in a resource starved country, beaming with people, it is not a good survival strategy to make clear boundaries. Resources are shared generously, with and among close connections, often that of one's extended family, one's village or one's own clan/ caste, for functional reasons. So the boundaries are fluid and instead of everyone being protective of their own boundaries, people are expected to understand and respect each others boundaries instead of violating sacred space of another. And every one needs to adjust a bit. (Even altars are crowded spaces for who else but Gods who were expected to understand and adjust a bit 'swalpa'). Some social psychologists in India reported that high achievement motivation in an individual is a burden rather than an asset, when the the resources are few.

(Just found something worth reading on 'Perspectives on Space and Time' http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spirituality/speaking-tree/Perspectives-space-time/articleshow/6539861.cms)

When there are few resources, an inter personally focused cultural tradition make the resources shared as per the need of hour and person, without neatly falling into capitalism vs. Socialism camp. And mother earth is glad for these eco-friendly ways.

The farther one goes away from metropolitan India a lot of these traditions are still alive, even if shrinking. In my growing up neighbourhood, the only one family in possession of a car was the one to generously provide emergency free cab, or occasional free fun ride, for an extended area beyond our neighbourhood.

In those days, houses were full of children of relatives staying over for studies. A bright child was often helped by everyone, in whichever way possible. Yes, partial orphans, were also provided foster / multiple parenting that way. My dad and his siblings grew up like that, and my dad himself continued this tradition by sharing responsibilities of educating many aunts, uncles and cousins, who stayed for short or long at our place.

Regarding frequent or occasional visitors ... unexpected visits were norms, and taking appointments for meeting someone was unthinkable (is still considered a bit cold and formal). Actually, unexpected visitors were expected! Mistress of the house would make sure that some extra food is cooked and ready for any such visitors... Some families (where they can afford), still continue this tradition.

Too many celebrations and too many festivals are not just one easy way out of work by a lazy population, as many people would prefer to think. (India can be unique in having a series of festivals for almost 6-9 months in a year, starting from August-September and ending only in March-April). Summers are holiday time for holidays:) (In West-Bengal they say, 12 months 13 festivals).

Even from an economic perspective they have have their own solid utility. But otherwise too they are good ways to connect a community. For an agrarian economy, or a nature connected society, it makes real sense to celebrate by looking for sacredness in everything, from changing seasons to occasions of planting and harvesting different crops. Those are the times, connected with various mythologies, and different Gods.

These Gods themselves are a language in itself, iconographically depicted various attributes, values and powers of nature or life itself.

Well, a culture which has been flexible enough to survive for so long needs to think hard and be little more clear about its changing goals and aspirations. Self directness increases happiness, but I have a suspicion it might be for goals and values other than money...

But in the end I also would like to say that India for that matter is complicated, a really multi-layered psyche. For example on one hand Indian culture is considered to be a moderately collectivist culture, focusing on family relationships on the other hand it is highly individualistic in its philosophies and existential quests and answers about the ultimate goals of life. Buddha walks alone...

But still in contrast to Western celebration of individuality and personal achievements (each one like a little prince or princess in oneself), historically East has celebrated harmony, in family, in society. From Jain philosophy of relativity of truth (Syadvad), to Buddhist middle path and avoidance of extremes to Vedantic saying that while there is one truth, the wise say it in multiple ways ('ekam satya, vipra bahuda vadanti'). And the Chinese philosophy of 'blending-in' and smoothing the rough edges and Japanese saying that a 'nail that sticks out gets hammered down'.
While times are changing, still, one can see these under currents in majority, if not everyone from a culture. One interesting idea is that the Western culture is influenced by Greeks myths and the long lasting fame of the winner, the 'hero'. Adventure and 'doing' is important. On the other hand, East looks at time as cyclical, where heroes come and go, achievements are transient and bubble like, wealth is slippery (along with godesses of Wealth;), contemplation and 'being' is important and so the pedestral is reserved for the wise sage, who knows the nature of reality.


In the end, it is as easy for me, as for you to have sampling errors in understanding what India and Indian values stand for, for the majority.

Still I would say, the well schooled, well read, well travelled and well interacted are few and far in between. And there are millions for every such special one. So our understanding of a culture has to be really based on more representative samples, not based on the rarest of the rare ones.


Keep this in mind and keep connecting the dots of your discreet observations!!!
Good luck!

(Btw, its fun knowing places and cultures with an affectionate loving viewpoint ... even the quirky idiosyncracies looks endearing. Check this out http://japanexplained.wordpress.com/)

Monday, August 23, 2010

East & West!

Sometimes I wonder if there is real difference in east and west... or there is not. Studies apart, which depend upon the statistical probabilities this is what I have noticed...

On a person to person basis, I do have few really close western friends and they are great to be around, talk, discuss, analyse. But if one is upset, they will usually try to talk sense ... how about 'name the logical solution', 'name the difference' or if much evolved 'name the emotion' ...
There is often an underlying anxiety of 'not getting stuck up' in someone else's problems, someone else's dynamics... almost like 'hey, i have far too many of my own, I can't carry yours' types.
Cynics say that is why psychotherapy evolved in west, you buy support and friendship. That is insane! (pun intended).

Oh, on the other hand, the extended self of eastern world, does help!
It only took 7 minutes 4 seconds precisely by a loving, affectionate phone call from my elder sister to talk me out of my real low moods. Seriously, is that too much to ask from someone???
( thank God! she is not a psychologist, or too psychologically sophisticated, else she might have moderated her concern, affection and even her intuition :)

Even during my spiritual discussions with western friends and mentor, sometimes I do get a strange sense/ resistance of being not fully convinced. The missing part is often a sense of unconditional affection... words seem empty without that (without a loving morality, as they say in Vedantic literature).

This was validated by a conversation with an Indian friend who shared about his Guru, (spiritual mentor) who lovingly cooked for him and one day broke his subtle arrogance by answering some serious philosophical questions, even before he asked them. Factually, this guy had his studies upto doctoral level in IITs, (and now a prof in another IIT), while the Guru was semi-literate or almost illiterate or less read(???).

They say, when the student is ready, the Guru appears. Am I ready enough...
Time to give time a break... not to Pondi but to Himalayas?

Ah! give me a sign, make the route little more easy... Its going tough now and for the first time, I'm really at the end of my rope! (Feel like hanging with the little that is left! ;)
Divine, you might be really tempted to extend the length of the rope, (like Draupadi's sari?), how about giving me a break this time and you appearing instead???

(PS: Suggested reading by a friend http://www.eigenauer.com/GeographyOfThought.pdf)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A poem in search of a muse;)


Eyes!
Beyond the
bland stare of
stone eyes,
which notice nothing,
are those,
which came so close
to see , beyond me
see what all exists
after the first peel.

Eyes,
with shimmering ecstasy,
on sight of falling leaves,
the first stroke of yellow
on ground.
Shapes clouds,
and dances amidst
the colors of the sky,
after each rain,
but also before that.

Eyes...
with moist hurt of long wait,
and helpless anger
for a friend,
who never came.

Eyes
close to my heart,
whispers, feel safe,
not be afraid,
I'm there, ever
for you!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Absence & Presence

Days of absence, empty space, lonely space,
Space to celebrate
Solitude,
Freedom to explore
Self
Silent sacred space
To reflect,
Vast space, to expand!

Days of fulfilling presence, of every longed desire,
Presence of relational connections.
And reaching out to stars.
Presence of learning,
Of breaking ones boundaries,
Of outgrowing self and everything else.
And return to that longing for
Something deeper,
Wider, higher.
Something within chanting, neti-neti,
Not this, still not this!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

distance...

How much space i wonder,
For you for life, for love?

Will it be enough, if i step back
Silence the sound of
Skipping heartbeats,
Erase the memory of          
Breath on skin,
Dissipate a lingering
Scent from the room?

Will it be enough, if i go away
Farther than the reach of
My open arms,
Opposite ends of a city,
Cross over the oceans, the continents,
On a spread out map?

Will it be enough, if i walk far
Waiting for your call,
To slowly fade out,
Forever in the distant horizons?

Tell me now,
How much space you want,
And for how long?
Dear love!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm stressed!

Many years back, there were moments of so much of stress that it seemed as if my boundaries of reality will some day loosen up :) This realisation and observation itself was sufficient to hold me together...
And now once again there is so much of growth filled stress, that my inner boundaries are loosening up. I'm waiting for the time to sit and contemplate and put it into words all what is happening...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Come to me!

From depths of being,
From that space
Of existence,
Where most do not dare
To wander,
Lest they get lost!

This one little drop of
Consciousness
Cries out in pain
Of separation,
To the whole!

Wandered at every corner
Knocked at wrong doors
To find you, and
Failed!

Now come to me,
Cross the light years of expanse
Of this universe,
For once
Shrink into a form
O silent, formless,
And have a day out
In conversation with me!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Promise me... by Thich Nhat Hanh 1965

Promise me

promise me this day,
promise me now,
while the sun is overhead exactly at the zenith,

promise me:

Even as they strike you down with a mountain of hatred and violence;
even as they step on you and crush you like a worm,
even as they dismember and disembowel you,
remember, brother,
remember:

man is not our enemy.

The only thing worthy of you is compassion-
invincible, limitless, unconditional.


Hatred will never let you face the beast in man.

One day, when you face this beast alone,
with your courage intact, your eyes kind, untroubled
(even as no one sees them),
out of your smile
will bloom a flower.

And those who love you will behold you
across then thousand worlds of birth and dying.

Alone again,
I will go on with bent head,
knowing all love has become eternal.
On the long, rough road,
the sun and the moon will continue to shine.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I wish for you...

For a much loved someone ... who connects to the world at large with love and commitment ... does he miss out something ?

May you have deep sleep,
Followed by carefree play.
Mornings of relaxed letting go,
Much love and joyful days.


May you have what it takes
To find meaning real and deep,
When you focus on the forests,
Do not miss the trees!


With love...

Just wondering...

Sometimes under-commitment is the challenge, sometimes over-commitment is... and at other times both are present in the same individual for different life areas... seems sooner or later in life, most people do reach some kind of balance in life!
I was reminded of Gautam Buddha and his wife Yashodhara. Both were moved by sufferings in the world. On one hand, as a sensitive queen Yashodhara worked towards alleviating suffering by working with the concrete realities. On the other, Buddha's quest was removing the roots of suffering. Well, guess the deeper the solution the longer it does last... not only for oneself but also for others!
Well... in the end it depends on people's life journeys!!!

Teesri Kasam...

Long back there was a movie ... my dad's favourite infact where the hero has two small learnings, and then the biggest one comes... not to fall in love again!
;)


Friday, July 9, 2010

Just Imagine... !!!

I often think of and have discussions centering around world, relationships, our relations to the world, work and people and the reason behind creation...
Related to a course in Indian Psychology I have been working on some project through self observation... and here I get insight and there I get it validated through this couplet from one of my long time favourite sufi music and poetry collection...

Farz karo ye jog bijog ka
Hamne dhong rachaya ho

(just imagine I created this false play of meeting and separating)

Farz karo bas yehi haquiqat
Baki sab kuch maya ho

(just imagine only this is real and rest all is illusion).

Just imagine!!!

(PS: the couplet is by Ibne Insha, from the collection 'Paigham-E-Mohabbat' by Muzaffar Ali).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

apologies to all!

Apologies friends, for my seeming unresponsiveness to your comments and also for leaving my thoughts mid way...
I'm at the last stage of my doctoral research and so my mind and time is full of those deadlines. Hope to get back to you and your comments in elaborate ways, soon.

Till then... j

Lecture series... on Happiness

Bangalore's intellectuals have come together to start something like lectures in India Habitat Centre... went to a new lecture series today. The first one was about 'pursuit of happiness'. Well done presentations, along with people who were really interested to know about it and also got curious about my work on similar topics.

But overall i came back with one observation... all the spiritualists philosophers from Indian traditions, who gather at such places are a particular kind!!! The Jnana margi- those who walk on the path of knowledge and generally the yogis. And thus all the discussions are a particular kind, in a particular language inspired by a particular tradition!

Nothing wrong about it, but sometimes i wonder about another group which is under-represented there. The Karma yogis and the bhaktas!!!
Meaningful... for these two must be busy elsewhere... where they are at home! :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Women's spirituality!!!

I just noticed, much of women's spirituality movement lately is a lot about sex and sensuality. Seems it goes like this in the popular literature ... women- associated with paganism or tantra- associated with inner power/ women/ earth & productivity - associated with sacred sex!!!

Well, Even feminism has over time associated a bit too much with freedom for pay cheque and sex... this is heights of getting out of one stereotype to falling into another!There is something v. ironic about this whole business!!!

I wondered if someone out there is noticing it... I googled and funnily found this study...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,557744,00.html
http://www.livescience.com/health/090930-spirituality.html

Ah! I'm exasperated with the world!!!

Wise decisions...

There are lot of refined tastes in life which generally need some bit of learning to appreciate it fully! I believe wisdom is one of them ...

On one level, choices and decisions are made at the level of least resistant path, something with which we have grown up, which society tells us to do! On next level one becomes unfettered, free of external and internal rusting chains... to only acknowledge ones own well being, own pleasure or pain, at the most immediate and basic level. Hedonism rules!!!

But taking wise decisions are much more than these... its about having foresight, and making such an informed decision, which will be beneficial for all involved. Its also much more about the motives, than only about the actual acts or decisions!

Wonder where this art has gone from the public and private spaces... we need to once again start celebrating it, ... do some bit of advocacy, educate people, organise ourselves... and bring it back into the memories and values of people everywhere! :)
Ah! we have come to this level ... it seems to be getting extinct!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

some town somewhere...

On and on, goes the analysis of my research interviews... but I stumble upon lots and lots of interesting observations... not only about the topic of study, but in general about people, life and also about myself.

Sometime back I was looking at some interview from a smaller town and realised how entrenched it is, in the language of relationships. As if relationships far and wide, with people and places, gives meaning to life.
As a friend observed about the common culture of a north Indian state (and might be applicable to many more small towns in India), life and memories revolves around my father, my mother, my cow, my house, my Tulsi plant and so on...

It sits in contrast to the lives in metros... which is much more focused and goal oriented. Meaning and identity is self-created in life through what one chooses to do. Friends (and even family) are like the base camp to return to, after a climb towards one's aims. They are not entangled closely with the reason to live.

But then, may be this stage still comes, invariably comes, just a bit later in a city life. When one really, mentally, settles down! Till then, family and friends are expected to understand and cultivate the useful, but boring virtue of patience...
Or, who knows! what will happen... the way local culture is interacting with the global culture, everything seems much more fluid. No predictions stand!!!

Well... even in past we have got interesting examples to follow through... Krishna lived a deeply entwined, interpersonal life in Vrindavan (still a small town;), but if one looks at the second part of his life... well, that was very much like a king, who had too many things in his hands to return and give a visit to his near and dear ones, in that old small town, left behind!!!
Even in Gita, after that long discourse, he tells his friend to do what he deems fit! Wow pretty independent view of decision making!

I live in a big city, with small town ethos... I think I need to make a shift, either which way... thinking of a shift to a small Himalayan village!!! ;)
Amen! :)


Disclaimer: As an after thought... I might be looking at macro aspect and generalising, which might not be sustained at micro level analysis.
So everything written here can be an illusion! beware! ;)

Friday, April 30, 2010

A trip to Delhi

A short work related invited trip to Delhi reminded me of so many things... like Bangalore makes one unlivable for any other place, almost!!! The aerial look of north soil was so pale, with a feeling of dry harshness and when it neared down south, it was so very warm red!!!
:)

Went there after almost 2 years (or was it 3;).
Last time too it was mainly work, but so many things changed for me... so many people have moved out of that city, out of my life. So many perspectives have changed for good, I have gained so much more confidence and clarity about my life stances.

This time, was able to tell someone (who has seen me growing up as an awkward child), that I don't need your (conditional) validation, I'm good enough!!!
Hmm... know it was slightly rude, but then I have realised over time that for many, people's growth, inner or outer seems curiously uncomfortable, for they still see them as their old selves, the same shy child, awkward adolescent...
The shocked surprise on their faces, that silence speaks loudly... how did this happen, this is too good for you, you don't deserve this!!! So many growing up years are marred with these experiences... so many I know...

Well...umm... in my case I don't know what to say, except that, I don't need to keep proving myself !!! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Summary!



Taking small solitary steps,
They parted pathways

He kept walking, not lost,
But directionless.

Exhausted, she stopped to feel, that
Growing darkness, gnawing her innards
Feeding on her life.

Voicelesness, wept loudly.
 A pregnant pause
Cried
Abort it

Crack open,
Make road for 
Life & light.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Time to work:)

I need to take a break from here... for some days conversations thru blog becomes a welcome change...but but I need to apply some cue control :) ...in the service of completing my thesis!

Will be back after a short break, meanwhile you are invited to leave some comments, or even a friendly encouraging hello!!!
(... I see some unknown repeat visitors from... eh.. Bhopal, Indore.. & Paris :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Multiple truths of relationships!

My work as a psychotherapist brings me face to face with people, their inner realities, things which makes them the person they are... i find it sacred to be a part of some one's inner life, their life journeys.
In this context i was wondering about different faces of truth... it is brought out in the context of intimate relationships best.
Its rare that couples, when separating, breaking apart, in conflict... have same perception of reality. Often there is no reality but a subjective sense of hurt, pain, betrayal, crossing over of boundaries... The story of the same break-up, the same relationship, the way one looks at self-other-the whole of relationship is so different...
At times, it seems like stories of two entirely unconnected people.

But then we have to come to terms with it, our lives- as we experience is a lot about our inner going-ons, as much it is about the outside concrete world- which is built of significant people- who again are as much influenced by their inner realities, as much by outside facts, rationally!

So the process is often about understanding ones inner realities, and being aware of how they color the external world, as we see them. And then widening this understanding/ awareness... and bringing that empathy to understand other's worlds!
Well... its a long long journey... of a life time, at times!

In this process a lot of growth takes place... sometimes in a microscopic moment- growth of a life time! I witness at times, those post-traumatic growth!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Note to myself!

Wow! I've surprised myself!!
Its been almost 4 yrs of blogging... consistently, persistently, in spite of being such a private person!! Wow!
I can sometimes surpass my expectations and cross those tempting moments when I feel like wrapping this up, erasing it all and vanishing away...
May be some day that too will happen...
Till then... happy blogging dear!

Love, Abuse & Creativity... do they go hand in hand???

There is something really intriguing about a bunch of men, sitting together, reciting self /other written poetries, for the lost lady love! Well, how romantic!!!

This is pretty common in some languages... for each language seems to wear a dress, close to its skin. This alternative skin is made up of eco-socio-political culture, which itself is influenced by many other underlying historic realities. Some times its related to many other gender dynamics.

Often these poems have that special tinge of self pity which gives them a divine glow of love. My my, I am impressed! There is an award for the most self-negating lover, in terms of public applause.
But, often the alternative stories gets drowned in this noise. For example, the poem might whisper the poets' sadness, how he looks at his hands, dejected... but might not tell how those hands were once raised to hit her... who left! Forced by the rising storm of self-hatred on ignoring ones basic values!
...left! torn! in installments! but finally! completely! liberated of all learned ideas of 'love' itself! to build a new definition of own! Remember movie 'Dev D'?

I was reminded of my differences with a friend recently, about Picasso and his abusive relationships with women in his life. Many people justify or choose to ignore such difficult aspects, especially in creative people... or even normalise it...
well how far one can stretch the creative liberties? to the lives and dignities of the closest people around? As a society we need to take a break, set our value system right, regarding 'what' is wrong, in spite of 'who'!
Go read 'Behind closed doors-domestic violence in India' By Ms. Rinki (director Bimal Roy's daughter) and director Basu Bhattacharya's ex-wife.

Any day, give me a good human being to befriend, instead of a creative genius!
I can be that myself! Thank you!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rain, rain come again!!

It rained !!!
It seems like ages since it rained... feels like Bangalore!
Cool breeze, smell of nilgiris, rising from the earth carpeted with dry fallen leaves... my campus full of flowering trees. The maddening traffic just a walk away, seems unreal.

Rains have a magical way of waking people out of their enmeshment in daily grind... watching people's faces, it seems raindrops knock at the heart, forces it open, leaving a delighted smile escape to dance on the lips... arms open, palms up towards the heavens...

To me rains bring a sense of fullness, like a full circle coming to its end, or better, a home coming! There is never a neediness, never something, someone missing, but a celebration! I like it this way! Every time there is a storm, I want to go for a long walk! Well, that's eccentric me!

May be it all started in a small hilly town of my childhood, where rains will never lead to muddy puddles everywhere, like most Indian cities... well i am grateful they didn't!
I love rains!!! :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I love...



The beauty of the subject... the vast expanse of golden-brown and blue-grey and two people in love...
My gratitude to them... to the photographer... to National Geographic collection
(-received in a fwd mail)

A few coriander flowers...


(clicked by a friend Subodh- Thanks:)

Friday, February 12, 2010

A few coriander flowers...




Its so curious... one can resist tears and behave very well in the hardest hours of grief... but then ... someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer ... and everything collapses.
- Colette


Ah my long forgotten and much loved quote! capturing that nostalgic sense of past... the dusty, the windy alleys...
All it took a few coriander flowers to bring the entire cupboard of memories tumbling down upon me. I didn't mean to do so... I would have let it be, sleeping in the corner....
A few blossoming sunflowers nudged them and a few coriander flowers were all it took!!

The microscopic past zoomed in with those sweet little things...adults walk over, walk past,... but a child stops, widened eyes, fascinated... to pick up wild flowers with amazing colors and no-names...

Bestowed with the blessing of a green thumb, from mother nature, what i sow, plant, nurture- usually heal, grow, flourish! So I would plant a garden- not the manicured kind, but the wild riots of colors type... my faith will try to grow anything and every thing which took my fancy. Plants often honored my innocence, by budding (to the astonishment of onlookers and teasers) and I would be the one to dart from the bed, first thing in the morning to be their audience, notice their bloom... notice the dews on the leaves and the wires...
oh its deep within me, saved, i can still smell it!

A life time back, years were made up of foggy school-goings, bored summer holidays, rainfall puddles and vibrant freshness, spring and autumn visiting in between... and few days of exams and year long relaxation...!! No tuition / music/ maths/ dance/ physics/ piano/ swimming/ what-not classes for me, going in and out of the revolving door of endless running but not moving... I had all the time in the world to lie on my back, watch gloriously blue sky, feel the sun on my skin and wind in my hairs...
(I would love to join few of these classes now, but one-at-a-time... leave my childhood, my freedom alone!)
Life was full of friends like the neighbour's cow Nancy, who will rush to the calls of a little girl, offering tiny fistful of greenest grass and loads of love... heart wrenching calls of my intelligent parrot who won't like me parting for school... few short term pet puppies borrowed from their road-side moms, whom my mother will let go, once i am off to school... and occasional close encounters with the charming snakes...

It all seems like another era... I felt homesick ... for an idea of 'home' belonging to a past gone by... for one shifts houses, moves cities, friends lose touch, cousins get married get busy, parents get old, one grows up!!
But my grateful heart wanna send love notes to a time when childhood was given a chance, a chance to live, to love existence, to thrive in communion... and adulthood not force-fed!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Diamond Sea and Diamond Icebergs!

Sky fascinates me... the expanse, the mysteries...
a feeling that there is much much more than meets my eyes... ... much more beyond my grasp- of my fingers, of my mind!
It gives me a sense of meaning, a sense of hope- an inexpressible joy, belief in existence ... maybe my fantasy, may a truth which i can feel, but can't explain. At any point of time, it gives me an uplift! Even it flows in my concrete existence!
Read few days back about two planets of our solar system, having sea of liquid diamond with floating iceberg of ... diamonds!! That sounds interesting!! OK !! God or the creative principle, has got pretty interesting sense of beauty! what would be the reflections in that sea? whether the sunshine reaches there? or light from other stars? How will it look like?
Not only this, but how does God's 'entire creation' looks like? That which is beyond our reach... of our technology, of our imagination! What exciting possibilities there?
Just the joy of finding one more expression of that light, of that creation, when 'it' thought of expanding, becoming multitude.
They say beyond the beauty of the material, lies the delight of the consciousness, which pervades all of us! How do we bring it here, down, in concrete!! The charm of delight and love here, down!!
A friend was pre-occupied with this sometime back... it has rubbed on to me too!!
Ah! I want to experience 'that' light which has brightness of thousand suns! Again!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Someday...

some day ...like today... after an enriching, interesting or even after a tiring work day, I wish to go for a long walk, somewhere peaceful...
Sometimes, after a day of working alone, I wish to go with someone who respects silence and takes little space, someone with whom there is no need to build up a small, sometimes silly conversation... Someone with whom there a deep connection, which is not need based, not even affection based, but on the bond of spirit.
A sense of detached attachment is present, without the need to possess, and there is no overpowering desire to get approval, validation or to prove a point or my presence! There is a mutual acceptance of the fact of being there. Period.
There is no life fact to crib about or people to bitch about... not even to understand the darkness and pitfalls in existence, in its totality with empathy. There is no goal directed activity or conversation... no where to reach, or reach fast!
Time is felt as its is, without broken and space is just there, the context doesn't make ripples in the stillness of the mind. Any thought if it makes its presence, can become creative, but there is no force to produce. There is a feeling of being 'at home', without walls and boundaries.
...someday...
There is none to share this space, this walk... for there are few, who I do not want to come along and a lesser few women and men, who are much too busy seniors... whose silent space I would not want to break!
We all inhabit different worlds and our solitary walks remain individual!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

wonder of all wonders...

While I have always been in favour of idea that there is something inherent in humans which leads them towards growth ... but on reflection, i do agree, apart from outside circumstances, there are often inner realities and life choices which holds back a person... call it by any name!


Well, Freud's 'rotten to the core' ideas about human beings might not be the most championed idea, especially for those who are working with people, beyond just being arm-chair philosophers. But in layman's world, he still holds a lot of grip. One can often see his idea being used as a justification for random acts of poor judgements... or worse!

Ha! humans choose to believe that, which is most convenient!

Friday, January 8, 2010

To the Repeat Visitors........!

Some repeat visits on my blogs by someone from College Station Texas, has led to lot of speculations ... Well I had some old friends there, who reportedly seem to be clueless about these visits! So... will the real visitor from College Station, Texas stand-up please!!
:)
The courage will be appreciated and rewarded:)

Other repeat visitors are also very much welcome to leave a friendly hello! ;)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hilarious observations on life

While reading few Murphy's laws, i got tempted to post them here.
This one is a pretty comprehensive collection and hilarous like ever:))
http://roso.epfl.ch/dm/murphy.html#laws

Its actually been pretty long since i posted anything here due to ....work n thinking about work :)