Things we learn as kids.

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The other day while yakking with a friend of mine over a call and blowing small episodes into full blown details of a short story, I wondered where did that characteristic come from.

I kind of remembered that when I was a kid, after dinner I would sit on the coffee table in the living room, with my parents, brother and sister around and tell stories on what all happened at the school that day. All anecdotes were narrated with the intent of making everyone laugh or rather all anecdotes were what I found super funny and they generated laughter. I actually still do that. I remember when I left home for the first time to do my post graduation and after few months of having lived away and not getting home made food, when I finally made my first trip home, I actually sat and narrated all incidents around food for 4 hours and my father was amused, saying, “How can you talk about food for so long?”. Though, all incidents were amusing, the skill of telling a narrative in a long winded way and trying to inject humour in it is something I still do.

Which makes me believe that perhaps, because, as a child I was encouraged a lot to tell stupid stories I still look for stories in everyday life. And because stories come not only from knowing and observing what happened, the best part of the story comes from understanding why someone did what they did. From following that journey of the story and then arriving at the conclusion.

In books the stories end with sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle conclusion of that understanding, understanding of why the main character was doing what they were doing. It feels like, once we have understood the character, it is time or rather a natural end to the story after having gone through what happened in great detail.

As kids we don’t know that, we just know that was sooooooo…. funny or that was soooooo…. sad but as adults we get to know why it felt funny or sad.

The end is the understanding, or understanding is the end of every story.

The Heart of The Matter.

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There are times I am totally fascinated with us human beings. For all the intelligence and brains we possess we fail at life rather miserably more often than not. We see importance in things that are not important and fail to realise that everything is transient but what makes it consistent is our view and integrity towards life itself.

I know I am probably not making any sense with that but right now the words poured out and I am still trying to understand my last statement of “everything is transient bit….”. So here is what I may mean or mean by that….at airports I am quite intrigued to see when people pick up a wrong suitcase by mistake and immediately put it back realising it does not belong to them and that always gets me thinking, “we are so burdened with the idea of carrying the wrong physical baggage, we so don’t want to carry someone else’s dirty laundry but the emotional baggage that we carry around is something we are so comfortable with. Emotional baggage that makes us hurt ourselves, hurt others till we understand and overcome.”

We are ruled by our hearts and not our minds in our lives. Even our most practical decisions are practical because of conclusions we may have drawn due to emotional pain at some point. But, we continue to believe that we are practical, we think with our minds and what mind says is the best decision. The terrible relationship between our heart and mind is what leads to further chaos in our lives. We don’t use our mind to question our heart and we don’t use our heart to understand the mind, which just makes us live in a state of self absorption but not self awareness. And self absorption does not help us to evolve but keeps us playing the game of denial to know ourselves rather than indulge in self awareness and understanding and know that what we don’t like about ourselves can change.

And then we keep picking the wrong baggage in life and keep putting it down just like at airports shaking our head thinking, “When will I stop doing that?”.

DISCOMFORT VS PAIN.

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Today in the yoga class there were quite a few new comers and the teacher was explaining what they may feel during the class due to the heat – sweat, dizziness or nausea, and while going through all this always remember to breathe, as breath is the only thing that will get us through.:)

So at one point she started giving us variations of a posture and told us if we feel pain we must stop, but if we feel discomfort then we must go on because discomfort goes away with practice, but pain is damaging in yoga for sure.

And then I was thinking about the difference between “Discomfort” and “Pain”.

Do we ever know the difference between the two or mistake one for the other?

To my mind, like the teacher said, “Discomfort in a posture goes away with practice.”, perhaps Discomfort in life too is short-lived. Discomfort comes from various situations, like a new place, new people, anything unfamiliar but all it takes is getting to know, getting to observe and discomfort goes away. Because body has muscle memory and heart is a muscle, it all works out in the end. 🙂

But “Pain” is a different story altogether. Pain is damaging to the body in yoga and to the mind in life. While Discomfort comes from unfamiliar or new, Pain comes from shock or unexpected. And there is a difference between the unfamiliar and the unexpected. The unfamiliar in life conditions us to expect something different, we may like it or not, but the unexpected in life comes and shake up a belief, faith or a value system. While Discomfort eases us in, Pain makes us pull out and stay away. In Discomfort we continue to breathe, in Pain we forget to take a breath.

So I guess, it would be good for all of us to think for a moment and ask if what we are feeling is Discomfort or Pain. And always remember to breathe, no matter what.

Broken-heart Syndrome or Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy.

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Thanks to Singapore’s worst programming and also to some extent my laziness to install Netflix, once in a while when I do switch on the television I end up seeing a lot of old series. Today was a very early season of Grey’s Anatomy in which I heard some complicated medical term, which the doctor finally ended by telling the patient that the patient had a broken heart, but he will be fine.

I got curious and looked up the medical term – Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, which sounds so Japanese, hence quiet, cool and intriguing. But this literally means a broken-heart syndrome.

This condition is because of emotional stress and in this there is a sudden temporary weakening of the muscular portion of the heart. This made me think of how easily and with immense thoughtlessness we make our heart vulnerable to suffer from broken-heart syndrome and then spend years making the heart feel better again. I remembered how a friend of mine once, was free-falling in love and I was probing him on the object of his affections, after describing the person in detail my friend looked at me, smiled his beautiful smile and said, “I know I am going to end up with a broken heart.” (or we can call it Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy), I just smiled and secretly prayed for it to work out for him.

But few years later down the road, like the doctor told the patient, that he had a broken heart but now he is going to be fine. So my friend is fine as well and likewise many of us.

Personally, I am more inclined to use the medical term Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy next time because:

  1. It sounds like a medical condition and not an emotional one.
  2. It sounds like there are experts to take care of it who have studied the know how to deal with it, which means that the person suffering from this medical condition does not have to do something all by oneself to get out of the broken heart syndrome.
  3. Like most serious medical conditions, it feels like it can be cured, unlike when in the broken heart phase no matter what the world tell you, you just feel that nothing will make you better again, and it never really makes you completely better, ever.

So, Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy it is for the broken hearted ones.

Love and Me today. 

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So this is what happened between Love and me today….

Like many other Sundays I had a list of things to do, some new, some old, but things to do. Old being my yoga class, which I felt I fared well in despite of a bruised and bleeding knee (it wasn’t that bloody, but not good) and a twisted ankle. And new being an exhibition and a documentary in a theatre I hadn’t been to so far. The theatre could safely be called “Hipsterish” but they do screen good cinema.

While walking out of my Yoga class and rushing for the exhibition I saw one really young and super sweet couple. They did not look more than 17 or 18, their smiles were beautiful, geeky, sheepish, yet elated ear to ear smiles, they walked with a swagger and their DSLRs hanging onto their shoulders. The girl looked like a fresh out of school, wearing a short pleated skirt, the large frames surrounded her face and eyes which long time from now hopefully will still be as shiny, holding a long stemmed very deep red rose.

The boy alongside her was looking like he had done the best thing in his life by giving her the rose but had no idea what to do next. So there they were, walking, she, smelling the rose and holding it for the world to see, and he, looking awkward and happy and staring at the road ahead, I think he couldn’t possibly look at her or she would have seen that his smile was bigger than hers.

In those few seconds when I saw them walking I remembered how wonderful it is to be fresh in love, it is all so simple, hopeful, and it feels like nothing can take this feeling away and that it will always remain like this and the only way it can change is by getting better. The two of them looked like, that all they wanted to do was go on for an endless walk. And I also realised that no matter how young or old we become, love always feels like that, an endless walk you want to be onto, staring at the road ahead because you don’t want to let in the other person in on how happy you are to be just there, and you always look like that girl in pleated skirt holding the rose and smiling till cheeks hurt and that boy, staring ahead and thinking, now that I have given her the rose, shall I hold her hand….

I couldn’t help but stop myself and tell that they looked awfully cute together.

Tears.

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Couple of weeks ago my eyes were feeling very tired and uncomfortable, I couldn’t see things clearly without feeling the strain, I guess that is because I don’t clock in 8 hours of sleep most of the time. So I decided to go buy the eye-drops to just get rid of the tiredness feeling, at least from the eyes.

When I came home with the eye drops I was reading the little instruction leaflet and this is what it said….

“Your tears are a remarkable fluid. And they have a very important purpose. Tears contain, just the right amount of natural component which combine to form a protective layer on eye’s surface called the tear film. The tear film shields and lubricates your eyes day after day to help keep them healthy and comfortable. But some people have too few normal tears…”  –  leaflet inside Tear Naturale Lubricant eye drops.”

…after reading this I was amused for a while because I am the easiest weeper I know. No, I am not a cry baby, but things usually move me fairly easily. My assumption is that hopeless romantics and idealists have more tears. It’s the pragmatic bunch that is spoiling the ratio of tears in the world. And then there is always something we relate to in a movie or a song buried deep or not so deep in our sub-conscious. I have wept even in kids’ animation movies. So it comforted me to to know at least all those tears are doing something good for me.

But what amused me is the role of tears in our life versus the role of tears in our body. It is always, well 99.9% of the time an occasion which is sad, something which has left us feeling at a loss, helpless, broken, disappointed, the list of feelings can be long. So if presence of tears in our life is a sign of sadness but the presence of tears in our body helps to keep the eyes healthy and comfortable then I guess that means we need the sadness to keep the eyes healthy. I know Biology does not work like that but perhaps life does.

I guess we need the sadness to understand and accept, to know that there is nothing called “Forever” and “Always”, to understand that we will lose the ones we love, to understand that life will not go as per the plan, but there is no harm in making new plans, that all is transient and so are we, and to know that when they say, “This too shall pass.”, it is true.

And for all those lucky ones who have too few normal tears, there is always Tear Naturale Lubricant eye drops.:)

HOME.

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Lately I have been grappling with a thought in my mind, “Where is home?”. Or rather that sense that we call, “Feels like home.”

I have been away for 15 years from my so called “Home”, the city I grew up in, went to school, college and where my parents still live, a city I still visit because they live there. But I haven’t felt for it to be home for many years now.

I also lived in Bombay for more than a decade and I think that felt like home, primarily because I evolved into a responsible individual in that city and from having moved into it with a suitcase, slowly and steadily made a Home there. I formed an entirely new life over that time, made some very strong and important connections which have shaped me, went through a journey in which I gave into every experience of life with a lot of spontaneity and very little thought. Every experience was welcomed, seen, accepted or discarded as part of behaviour or beliefs.

Then I moved to Singapore and it has been 3 years of the exact opposite of the decade of Bombay. Living with self awareness, understanding the core issues to my reactions and behaviour and accepting the angst that the heart and mind suffers from and reaching a healthy balance to manage the angst. The city has been wonderful for me but “Feels like Home.” feeling is still missing.

So, if a city where you grew up, your parents live, you have many memories of, or a city where you evolved into an adult and created an independent life for yourself, where you went through the highs and the lows and managed to pick yourself every time or a city where you began the self discovery in, came to understand yourself and like yourself, does not feel like Home then what does?

While travelling I did come to conclusion that Home is where my bed is. I always craved in times of intense tiredness to get into my bed, pull the covers over my face and go to sleep. 🙂

A week back I went to my home town Nahan, a place where I was born and lived for the first 4 years of my life. I had gone after a gap of 15 years and there is still an almost 150 years old house and close family there. I was quite anxious to go and was secretly hoping that not much has changed in the house, people or the city and it is still a place which I remember from my summer holidays. I think there is zero memory of 0-4 years for sure.

When I reached there I went for a walk to the place I would always go for walks alone or with cousins years ago – the tranquility, the peace, the quiet crisp winter breeze and the sunny sun made me feel like home. That is when I thought that perhaps Home is not where you grew up, where your parents live or where you got a job and made a cozy home, all those places and cities just facilitated different life stages and you did what you had to do.

But the feeling of Home goes far deeper than life stages, at the cost of sounding cheesy, I feel the feeling of Home is not to the memories of different ages but a memory of when the deepest part of my self was getting formed without me knowing or realising. It feels like soul peace. It is when you feel like you don’t have any questions or want any answers, not because you are fed up or escaping but because you understand where you come from.

Walking amidst the mountains and the woods and walking around in a temple where I would just go on my own many times as a child, not to pray but to feel calm, I realised Home is a place which is the foundation of your being. I realised that the foundation of my being is a compact and cozy life with lots of nature and simplicity around me. It is close, strong connections, and relationships. It is the need to spend time with self.

I have not always lived like this but lately I have been increasingly forming my life to bring in the values that are important to me without getting distracted.

Irrational it may be, but somehow I also think that this realisation couldn’t have happened at any nature spot or a mountain trail. It had to happen where I was born, it had to make me remember the 0-4 years soul memory I had forgotten. I guess, that makes it home.

Thank you 2015, for such a wonderful end.