Sunday, August 23, 2020

Jnana

POST- 4 -BLOGATHON
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Sociology had never been a subject of interest for deep study to me. Not much. It was just about in the backdrops of my being.  I always feel we all have our perceptions and personifications. But this year it mused me as my girl discusses her studies with me.
And, the subject progresses into culture, tradition, and religion, I realized I touched upon these topics only as a believer. I never studied strategically.

Being the festive time, yesterday, as I sat down with my two, with folded hands and taught them "shlokas" both countered me with several questions. Thankfully I could handle most of them without having to call my dad or mom. My little one could confidently explain to me reciting the following shloka with the meaning.

"Vakra Tunda mahakaaya, surya koti samaprabha. Nirveghnam kurume deva sarva kaareshu sarvada".
With his tenderness in the pronunciation and his cautious grin he can now say " Oh lord with curved tusk and a heavy body, please bless us and free us any obstacles in our lives".


    Now, I am sure most of our children relate to the Ganesh very easily after the "Oh my friend Ganesha" movie was released. After which children were more inquisitive. From the time this revolution of animated cartoon videos came into vogue, there had been much a mixed commotion about why were gods mimicked? 


Whereas, I, on the other hand, a decade and a half ago, was thrilled to find numerous animated stories of gods and goddesses. Apart from reading books and narrating tales, I would play these videos for my child then 3. She enjoyed all the videos she watched and what she is today as a teenager, she feels she is grateful having watched those stories which left her intrigued. As she turned 10  she began reading this version of "Ramayana". She took more than a year to accomplish it, as she needed a lot of supportive explanations for which I was responsible. In the process, I started strengthening my knowledge too.

However, like any fashion/fad or practice is at times a circle, these "animated videos" to is now out of interest zone, at least in my life. Reasons could be monotony or that the number of videos being available on the internet makes it impossible for me to pick up the "right" ones and those that I feel are inappropriate. So it happens that the children in my house are now happy with the stories from the books. 

To add to that, it fascinates them when the storyteller in me narrates the anecdotes from my childhood. The celebrations of every festival, the temple chimes, the blowing of the conch, the soothing temple bells and the chanting of the hymns. It is endless. It has to be pepped up with tales about how I as a child made it for extra fun along with my friends.

And now, not just my children, but here comes the fact where I find that many of this generation children are learning their culture this way. The parent's narratives, their stories, few books, and of course the internet. 




Now, in phase two, touching upon another chord, we started reading the awesome book. Bhagavadgita (A handbook) by C. Rajagopalachari. I had read this alone and now reading with my children.

"The limitation of human knowledge is a familiar boundary in scientific and philosophical investigations. Dive into any truth or investigate any phenomenon or examine any distinction deep enough, and at a certain point, we reach the unknowable and further progress is stopped. We strike against God so to say is everything. The unknowable is all-pervading. The known and knowable makeup but a surface crust over a mystery-sphere of infinite dimensions."

These are a few lines from this book as an introductory.

My favourite lines from this book are: "Jnana manifests itself in the cultivation of a detached attitude in all work. Jnana is not fully expressed by "knowledge" or wisdom". It involves a complete transformation of oneself in accordance with the truth that is seen. Such transformations result from and at the same time leads to the progressive realization of one's unity with the rest of the world and of the whole world with God. Action becomes free and sinless once the motive of action is freed from selfish aims".
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So, as we discuss sociology, I feel that everybody has their own personifications. Jnana is yet a perception in the limits of liberty to each individual.  

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Spooky Journey

20 - 08 - 2020

POST -3 BLOGATHON

Greetings readers,

Here is today's bit with a pinch of thriller and humour. Do leave your comments here without fail. I appreciate all those who write to me how they enjoy some of the writing. Please do leave a line here too, so everybody connects to your comments.

Some people love old, Spooky, trains. (With images) | Train, Train ...
PC-Google

 

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We say do not judge a book by its cover. Do not judge a person by his looks. I relate to this closely by a train journey of mine. Yes.

In the Year 1996, I boarded a train from Chennai to Mumbai. 20 hours journey. In a hurry, I hopped in with one set of batteries in my Walkman ..and quarter kilos of grapes.  It was just about 8pm.

What a lovely train it was. Dirt smeared window sill, seats absolute antique, creaking fans, winking lights. Why! the entire compartment seemed to be mine. Just then a dad-daughter duo showed up. They sat a few seats away. Compartment now looked packed with their luggage and the amount of food packets they had. I was relieved looking at the food packets.

I plugged music to my ears. 10pm. I waited for some food from the pantry service in vain. 

I gave a smiling glance to the dad-daughter. Nothing happened in return. Apparently, they dint like me. They were engrossed in some troubled discussion.. So I grabbed a few grapes and dozed off.
Soon dinner came. In my dreams.

Next morning by 6am as my eyes and mouth opened together, I shut my mouth to avoid the yawn, squinted away to see outside the window, and settled my undone hair, I see the dad daughter enjoyed their food. Again.

My stomach grumbled against them. I did not even have a cup of coffee. I prayed to almighty.

By 9am my stock of grapes over. All I had to do was to listen to the "only cassette" in my walkman playing Aamir Khan's songs from Bollywood movie "Mann". Huh. Till today I know the lyrics in full.

And suddenly two men in full grey patched uniforms jumped inside the train, closed the doors, pulled down windows shutters, and stood guarding the closed doors with their 2 foot long guns resting on their foot.
My heart jumped into my mouth.

Was it happening? Was I imagining Bollywood scenes? Music had stopped suddenly. Drat, the batteries.  Stomach rumbling. And the dad-daughter duo serious discussion forever munching away savouries making obvious sounds.

Whatever were these gunmen up to? They appeared to be army security but, it appeared like they were talking about me, pretty sure I was, they were. And I was hating their looks.

Bulged up mustache, creepy grins, munching peanuts. I was just barely in my 20's vulnerable, alone. I shivered till my bones. My brains froze for a few seconds.

What if something bad happened to me. What!  Just then the dad daughter, with expressionless faces walked up to me, sat beside me.

Next few minutes the duo sat with me. In absolute suspense. I now had my benefits of doubts. To trust the army men like guys or this stingy duo. Absolutely flabbergasted, wish I could open the window. I was quite lean built yet not enough to wriggle out of the window though. No. No way.

So what could a hungry tummy and frightened mind do? I sat like a potato in hot water. Shaking with the rhythm of the train and frighted to death.

 The dad-daughter sat for another 30 minutes until the gunmen left in the next station.

My slow train continued to whistle and crawl on the tracks leaving me frustrated.

By  4pm something, am not too sure of the time, the train arrived at Mumbai station. I hopped off after letting out another prayer to almighty.

That evening as I got off the train in Mumbai I learnt, gunmen were army personnel guarding we passengers as the slow train crossed the dacoit feared area. One mystery was solved. 

Now for the other. The dad-daughter duo neither smiled nor talked. They appeared grumpy. But they showed compassion when I was feeling terrible and scared. They made me feel safe and secure without breathing words, in spite of their problems (I am guessing that). They did not share food in spite of having so much.  

So, judge a person’s attitude and aptitude by their actions. Appearance deceives, is just for our identification of legal existence.

  

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Itch

 19-08-2020

Post - 2 Blogathon

And today, as I was in my study working on my laptop, my hands kept itching. It is not new for it to itch this way. This ticklish itch is different. It isn't synonymous with any blind beliefs of "gaining wealth when your right palm itches" or lack of blood circulation in my hands.

No.

This is only my habit basically. Every time I see a pen on my book in my study (as you see in the picture) my hands have to grab it. And then I either create random graffiti on the book or scribble my own name a few times or get spiritual and write an "Ohm" few times. Some times, I just draw a few smilies.

But I can not resist the itch at all. Now, as it is said, old habits die hard. From very old school times I am accustomed to this. At the same time, my passion for writing.  Anything. As a school goer, I would love to write my notes neatly and not leave any opportunity.

Soon, I had begun to pen down poetry. That is when my dad too jumped in and encouraged my itch. He would take me to the corner book store. As he indulged in a conversation with the owner being his friend, I would stroke different pens and colourful books and would take some time to decide on what I would take home. A red velvet diary and a hero pen was my fantasy one year at age 12. 

So, I continued with my love for the pens. Most college notes were not spared too from the little graffiti or designs my finger worked on. And till today, I stop by at the stationary section and pick up a pen as an obsession. You will always find one in my bag. Always. Some of my friends hate me when I hold them at gunpoint when they borrow my pen. 

"I want my pen back please"- Little notorious for my tantrums. But I am a manufactured product that way. That was Brahma's strategy else who would buy pens often and stock two boxes full of them at age 40, that too in the age of smartphones!

My laptop is accustomed to being accompanied by a pen and a notebook. It absolutely looks incomplete without one of them on the table.

Wait, till you know this interesting aspect of the spouse's point of view. Some times, when he peeped into my study, he reads out what I have been scribbling on my book.  Sometimes, when he saw "Sushma Harish" all over one page of the notebook in a different font, angles, and styles, he grins and tells me you are writing our names like a teenager. I have to roll my eyes and remind him, this is my legal name and my "fingers itch". I am just writing my name. After hitting on the keyboard for a while, I can't stop my original itch.

Now, you have to wait to know the kid's point of view. One fine morning, my daughter took a glimpse of my book, settled her gaze on the page, and plonked on the chair. Standing a little away, I observed her lip movements. No audio. She was apparently reading something from my book. I walked up to her and realized I had written a few lines from a prayer I say every day in Kannada. My girl put all her abilities of her bits of Kannada knowledge and tried hard to figure out what it was.

As for my son, in this lockdown, he dreads when I pull out "his book" and my pen.

"Oh no, more homework, you will give me. I know. You are so bossy. Even the teacher does not give so much work". So accused, I stood there for judgment by his sister and father. Both have to diplomatically judge. Hence, I am now advised to give him a regulated amount of writing, and stop buying colourful notebooks for him!

I must admit, only my fingers itch. Not his. 

However, I have little or less control over my obsession. Last week, I was to submit my formal introduction to someone who would add it out on some website. I wrote it down in my book as usual and drew out a nice border and sent her a picture of it on WhatsApp. I was glad she accepted it and did not ask if the entire picture had to go as my intro.

Again today, I know many of you would relate to such incidents and all those who are like me hi-five. 

There is an anonymous quote I happened to read "Writing to me is thinking through my fingers" and I feel so connected to this.


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Let's Talk

18-08-2020

Post -1 -Blogathon

 Greetings dear readers

A few months have rolled by now since I blogged. The lockdown too is phasing out now in Doha. The city is opening to be as before, in phases. But we have been glued to  "COVID anxiety" and yet to open up completely.

And this morning, I simply wrapped up in a warm blanket decided, I will do up a "Blog marathon". The reason for this again is, that, of late when  I did not blog, many friends have come up saying " you have not written anything recently". 

One said we loved to read about your trips. Another liked the monkey tricks of my son that I ranted about. A few more were curious whatever happened to my sarcastic or the humour posts. It so happens that whenever I pen down a conversational narrative or a routine anecdote, friends often relate to it. Most times, when I meet a friend at a party, someone would be talking about a post that I probably had written a year ago and could not place it from the points the friend remembered.

But it is a heartfelt love that leaves me elated.

Overall, with so much love showered upon me, I feel blessed and grateful to you all.

In the next few days, I will write every day. On what I see, feel in life. 

So, Let's talk.

Well, so here I go. This morning, I sat down to prepare this collage above here, and post it on my social media pages. 

Now, I have three reasons to do that.

1) I often write random lines and link them up with my favourite pictures. 

2) Being stuck to the "Stay home" exile, I decide to haul my archives and unearthed the favourite pictures from my solo trip to Pondicherry.

3) Yes, so I adore the "sea vibes". The picture makes me nostalgic.


Besides, sometimes, I stick my nose to the window at my residence, to notice the different variety of activities happening in my garden patch. Few tiny sparrows wandering for water and some feed. I ensure I keep ample out there outside the windows. Few mynahs that apparently lost their way. And most times this brown fellow in the picture here, who clinches his body to the cold glass that perhaps is soothing in the hot summer. 

The picture justifies how he must have felt when I left a bowl of milk for him. Am not a cat lover and unfortunately do not feed them generally. In fact, every day, I find the cat sly around in the garden patch in wait for the sparrows and pounce on them perfectly. Perfect prey that its paws manage to deal with. I sulk watching this. And my daughter grumbles it is the rule of nature and advises me to go do my work and leave the cat alone.

The question is how much work? I have been missing the outings like all of you and was looking for entertainment right at the window. Even the idiot box doesn't allure me anymore having ticked all the Netflix movies.

And today, we in Doha, have crawled out of our homes to take some long drives, creep up to the seashore for a fresh feel and many have enjoyed the mall outings. 

Friends, remember we are not "marked 100% safe or out of the COVID danger" and hence remember to take your precautions. Hygiene habits. Wearing the masks and to counter small flu symptoms with home remedies.

Let us hope the new season of 2020, called not summer or winter but "COVID" ends fast and we all return back to our "real/physical" world and clear off the virtual life we are leading.


Love to all. 





Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Prioroties

This is about last morning's incident. I know, in this "COVID-Era" (if that term exists) every one of us has had vivid experiences to share.  What I share too maybe parallel to something one of you must have encountered too.

I have to begin with my April routines to reach this morning’s anecdote. From the month of April, it has been a ritual for me to visit the supermarket once in a fortnight dressed like a bandit (covering every possible inch of my skin with full clothing), mask, and gloves. As I stand at the entrance of Lulu supermarket, my temperature will be checked. Now even the "Ehetraaz app" activated on my phone, for my COVID-health status.  If it shows green, I enter the supermarket. God forbid if it ever shows amber or red, I enter the ambulance. This is only my fears.

But, I continue to go. Fill the cart with loads of supplies, veggies, snacks, and return home where my two kids who currently are on "Zoom-Schooling"(if that term exists too) help me sort the things out and throw things in their places. This way, the kids even know where the masala boxes go in my kitchen. This is the new productive utilization of time and life skills they are adding on.

 6P.M. Now. As I type, I am seated in the garden outside in my locality where my 6year old son cycles with his other masked buddies. And I notice a frail-looking young boy with a bunch of papers approaching me.  He turned out to be an ordinary expatriate that is jobless for 3 months and is apparently unable to even board the “Government’s Vande Mataram flight” to India due to lack of finance. So a man who earned a decent salary 3 months back stood with folded hands begging for me shell out a few Riyals if that could help him travel back to India. When I directed him to the embassy he showed me papers rejected by them (for whatever reasons).  “Where is the money for the ticket?”.

 That leaves me quite heavy-hearted and off track. Where was I. Yes, I was narrating my supermarket experience in this COVID-Times. 

Well, so coming to the main point now. What was that incident that happened this morning?.  

As I got out of the supermarket, I saw a middle-aged looking, sad-eyed, well-built man with hands tied at the back staring at me as he paced by the Lulu Exit doors. Ignoring his looks, I walked to my car and reached home. After all my chores, cooking, and lunch I plonked on the couch and clicked open the WhatsApp window.

I see a hello” from an unknown number with a DP of the same man pacing by the Lulu exit.  All my attempts to place him in vain only left me chiding my memory capacity of remembering people's names or faces.  Well, now,  I dialed the number of this mysterious man and sternly asked “yes, could you please tell me your name. You have whattsapped me”.

After the 6 minutes call, I threw my phone smiling yet very heavy-hearted. Almost too emotionally upset and tears swelling up as if waiting to be swept away and looking for an opportunity for. As he reminded our short meeting a few months ago, and I had told him “Aladdin so where is your chirag?. He reminded me, and we laughed”. A call that began with an angry anxiousness ended with smiles and emotions.

His name was Aladdin. An uber driver. Who drove me and my little son back from a function one night at 10pm when my pride, my Landcruiser shrunk in the parking with punctured tires. I had booked an Uber for the first time in Doha! My son’s first remark was “yaeeks,, so dirty car, why is a water bottle on the seat. I will not sit in this car”. The driver smiled as I pushed my son on the seat petulantly.

Soon, he jumped on the seat, singing loudly. I had to instruct him to belt himself and keep his volume low. But the driver laughed and struck a conversation.

“Madam, he reminds me of my son. In Mysore”

“Mysore!! My jaws and chin fell almost apart. You are Kannadiga?”

That’s it. I am now not narrating what the next 10 minutes of the conversation were about.

 “So, Aladin, where is your Chirag” I had told him.

And today, in sheer frustration of losing the job, savings, and no money to even call me, he had messaged me that too after borrowing a hot spot of the internet from the Lulu Supermarket's security personnel.

Now I realized his shying away from approaching me at the exit as I did not recognize him. He did not want to pester me. Is what he said.

“I know ma’am I can not ask you for a job. I just called…ma’am…sumne..sumne.. meaning simply in Kannada.” He sounded unnecessarily apologetic. I tried to feel in his shoes and I could gather empathy for his situation. After all, it was me who had given him my number when he had shared his interest in bringing along his wife and son here to Doha soon as she could look for a teaching job here.  All his dreams were puffed away by a tiny microbe called the corona.

And most importantly, I placed this call to him, in the afternoon, right when my kids were in the midst of an argument, how I forgot to buy the “son-papdi, and lollipops” ordered by them. We have to now wait for 15 days for that. Drat. Moreover, they had helped me with the mopping and vacuuming that day!

 Priorities!

After narrating Aladin’s anecdote, my daughter, touched her heart, and with a question filled smile said” ayyo amma… what can we do, so many....”

Ayyo,....Yes. So many…problems! The world had so many problems. And the most unpredictable priorities. We are nothing different from a capsized vessel trying hard to fight the storm and survive.


The only solution Corona gave apart from problems was a bit of relief to global warming. The coronavirus-triggered lockdown has led to a steep fall in global carbon emissions by 17 percent in early April as compared to 2019 levels with India's emissions dropping by 26 per cent, according to a study.



Thursday, March 26, 2020

Unsettled Love

He settled his expectant gaze outside the old wooden window,
special rays from the fireball called the sun,
made right angles through the window,
fell straight on his palm spread out on its own.

His tears slid, on the cheeks faking up a smile,
they rolled down on puffed up wrinkles,
eyes expelled any stains of a happy smile,
emotions swelled up only warlike kindle.

The desperate urge to own all moments with her,
exploded a balky silence, pecking on his time,
 eyes stuck to the window, longing for her,
was it ever possible again, life behaved like a mime.

And she was walking towards him, off his dream,
he cleared the blur off his twinkling eye,
she vanished in thin air as quickly as his dream,
was it her by the window? or in his mind. But why?

His claims on his unsettled love paced in his heart, 
one look at the palm.. would she come ever in his life?
The lines on his palm scoffed at his heart
        for, she lived in his heart, not in his life











Saturday, March 14, 2020

Simply One Afternoon Story

Look for the green afternoon bat!!

Outdoor games were a regular norm some years ago and indoor games were considered not a typical tendency. How the trend reversed now! Thriving in the generation of gadgets, "planning" outdoors is what seems like a luxury. For the very fact that it has to be "planned".
Like in 1990's we as kids simply belonged to the front yards or streets or parks, and an indoor game had to be "planned". At least true in my case. And my old buddies would be smiling reading this.

Once upon a time, indoor games were a luxury. Outdoors were the norms.

Last week, it was simply an afternoon affair in the park for me. Regular playtime for my 6-year-old Kukku. I had to ensure he is addicted to the outdoors to rest the television. While YouTube could be educative, some of the channels that are being run in the names of children, do not convince me anytime.

Sitting in the park, on my yellow torn chair I was hitting the laptop keyboard vigorously. It was pleasantly cool winter noon, at 3pm.  I had to hog on some sunlight for Vitamin D as ordered by my orthopedician. Kukku pedalled his cycle hard, like some policeman on duty. 

Just then he noticed a group of boys flying an aeroplane  made of thermocol. Kukku cleverly parked his bicycle near theirs and with hands in pockets moved close to them. The next moment the toy pane landed on the ground kukku grabbed it and flew it off stylishly saying, "Hey guys look at this."! Whooosh the plane made a nice little fly, took two turns and landed on the ground.  Boys clapped. Except for one boy. It was his plane. And how could kukku make himself a hero there while he was hogging the limelight with other boys around him asking him to share the toy!

However, they continued to play. Whenever he got a chance kukku picked and flew the plane and somehow he made it better and better. Just then, the mother of the toy plane owner walked up to them and asked for the plane from kukku. From a distance, I was smiling, wondering kukku should not be poking his nose there. However, I thought too soon. The mother called out to his son, "Mel, look at the technique how this boy flies. Come on". Handing the plane back to Kukku she made some gestures and kukku nodded fiercely. 

The next 2-3 take off's happened with kukku teaching some techniques to Mel how to hold the plane, the direction of the wind, etc. Finally, I noticed Mel smile. In no time, Mel made a fantastic take-off, and I could see all boys run enthusiastically. The cold war between the plane owner and the uninvited guest ended.

My laptop had gone to sleep. I let it be. With hands-on chin which is my favourite style, I noticed these fantastic pilots. After running around with the plane, finally, they got on their bicycles and pedalled away for few rounds around up and down the slopes,  and the curves in the park.

 A few days later, we had an uninvited visitor at my door. I do not generally react to the doorbell, kukku attends to it, as most times the army of young boys march in looking for him to play in the park.  No time or season stops them. And today, Mel was at the door "Can kukku play with me"?

Looked like the boys had their share of the sweet lesson on the ups and downs of comradeship.

The gen-next is obsessively overwhelmed with gadgets, the fingers can't stop fidgeting with smart screens. So did I think.  But it definitely isn't true for all.

As goes the saying "more the merrier", kukku and gang have been growing in number. Irrespective of nationality or any biases.

My victory is over those video channels on YouTube run in the name of children which mainly market toys and other related stuff. Marketing of branded toys and products could be a bright idea, but I keep Kukku at safe distance from such channels. I still do not mind kukku hanging upside down a 5-foot tall tree trunk like a bat!

So this was simply a one-afternoon story. Many such are lost, untold.