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.

Bus stop musings.

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She sat at the  bus stop. Waiting.

She saw the clouds passing by fast.

She stopped them, asked “What is the hurry?”

They said to her, “We are moving.”

She asked, “To where?”

They laughed and said, “Just on…further on.”

She smiled, she said, “she wants to too….move on.”

They said, “Be the cloud to get on fast, time is of essence and little, is always it shall last.”

The clouds left.

She sat, waiting for bus no. 36.

NOT AN EITHER OR.

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Over the last three weeks I went to see few documentaries during a Design Film Festival in Singapore. I saw four in two days and yesterday was lucky enough to catch the most celebrated of the lot called The Salt of the Earth.
All these documentaries were about individuals. The first one about the creative head of the cartoon department at The New Yorker, the second one about a 90 year old woman called Iris Apfel who is a non-conventional, eclectic, and a crazy designer. Then there was another one called Dior & I and that was completely enthralling from the point of view of a new creative director at a fashion house like Dior and his anxieties and apprehensions along with the doubt and support of the team he has been given. The last one was about the almost lost tradition of the artisans in Paris.
While I watched all 4 of these, Day 1, I was swept with the idea of The New Yorker and how important those cartoons are, by the stories of some very old people who go every week to show their cartoons and the guy decides which one will get published and which won’t. And you don’t end up hating him because you just realise how tough it is to keep excellence afloat.
With Iris, it was just sheer delight and I walked away thinking the energy one needs all of one’s life just to keep the wheels in motion…the one superb dialogue in Iris was when the 90 year old is asked how does she do so much at this age and doesn’t she get tired, she replied,”My mother said, whatever I have two of, one of them aches, but you have to go on…”,
Dior and I was visually stunning and emotionally it was kind of close to the chaos of advertising at a different scale.
The last one of the 4 was Handmade with Love in France, it was sad but the artisans who are losing their shops were witty full of zing, jokes and laughter.
All these documentaries left me feeling inspired, questioning and restless.
And then yesterday I saw The Salt of the Earth. It was about this photographer called Sebastião Salgado. The documentary is his life’s journey from being a social photographer who went all around the world and made the struggling lives of people his subject, his life’s work. From starting out as curious, driven, to reaching a point that he said that we human beings deserve to die for what we do to each other.
I don’t really have words to say what I felt after seeing his work but one thing I can say is that it gave you a glimpse in the souls which carry desperation, misery, music, life and death. It left me feeling not teary eyed but rather useless. The documentary should just be seen as I am sure each one of us will end up feeling differently. In the end he and his wife re-planted the barren land in Brazil that they owned and after years grew a healthy thick forest where nothing had grown for decades. When I saw him talk about the plants, or walk about in the forest I realised that perhaps the journey of life comes full circle when we nurture something.
Our need to create is very strong all our lives as it helps us figure out who we are and who we are not. Creating something not only gives us joy, recognition but most importantly it makes us feel closer to having an identity.
But nurturing is different, nurturing something is an inward journey and it continues without an external validation while creating needs the others and the outside world. While creating brings us closer to who we are, nurturing brings us closer to why we are.
Both are right in their own time. But nurturing completes the circle.

“YOU ARE LOOKING SO YOUNG!”

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The other day while picking my lunch somewhere, I overheard 2 women talking and one of them said to the other one, “Wow! you are looking so young.”, Which, lead me to think, why do we like to hear that we look young or rather the take out when we get older is “I don’t look my age.” So if I don’t look my age or look young then perhaps I also feel young and feeling young comes with its own set of emotions.

Hope, endless possibilities, freedom, bottomless pit of energy, lack of fear, and tremendous confidence that all will go as we wish. But when we get older the one thing that we assumably gain is wisdom through experiences, acceptance that all will not go as we please, the narrowing down of possibilities (which we articulate as, “I know what I don’t want anymore”), and frankly to a very large extent comfort in our own skin. The comfort probably happens only when we get older because we start looking inward, we start living with certain amount of self awareness, but when we are young there is no time for inward living, the distractions, the possibilities of what we could become, what life could be are endless and hence we are always open to every experience, and person.

So, looking young is more than just coming across as someone who cheated time. It is the fact that even when we get older, looking young makes us believe in those possibilities, to still dig for that energy and experience something new, take a chance because who knows where this could go, still be able to think that I can start over. And that is why sometimes when I look at some people, they just look that life has been tough on them, many are very young but look like they went through decades of hardships, that is probably because they accepted, because they narrowed down their choices, because they became fearful of new, because they lost confidence. And you never find yourself telling them, “Gosh! you look old.”

So I want the, “You are looking so young!” with all the comfort in my own skin. Yes, best of both the worlds is possible with a little bit of help from anti-aging creams and a lot of help from entertaining random thoughts.

YOU ARE WRONG MR. MAUGHAM.  

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“You know, when one’s in love,’ I said, ‘and things go all wrong, one’s terribly unhappy and one thinks one won’t ever get over it. But you’ll be astounded to learn what the sea will do.’

What do you mean?’ she smiled.

Well, love isn’t a good sailor and it languishes on a sea voyage. You’ll be surprised when you have the Atlantic between you and Larry to find how slight the pang is that before you sailed seemed intolerable.”
― W. Somerset MaughamThe Razor’s Edge

I remember when I read this book many years ago I was so impressed by the above extract from the book and almost believed it. Below is my attempt at a new age long distance relationship and to say that love is a good sailor. 

When we are not near each other,

and I feel like telling you how much I love you.

I stop and think,

of how many love notes I can write to you.

Every day.

Then, I see something,

read something

and I know,

that is my love note.

Pictures of things that interest me,

articles which we would have spoken about,

links of drones and photographs that you would have spoken about,

poetry I would have read out to you,

and you would have said, “You know I don’t like poetry.”

But I would have read it out anyway.

So, these are my love notes.

The links of poetry, pictures and words

Connecting us, across the ocean.

 

REMEMBERING GOA, CAVALA AND SOME OTHER RANDOM THINGS – MARCH 8, 2015

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This afternoon I got an email about some promotion from Cavala, a hotel in Goa which I had visited 3 years ago on this date for a few days and that Goa trip was the most different kind of time I had in Goa ever. It was sane, not crazy, kind of an adventure filled with excitement and energy. So for sometime I was thinking about the trip, about the time that has passed, that I haven’t been to Goa since then and all that…

Which made me think about significance of a date. A date reminds us of important events in history and in our everyday lives.  It helps us to keep a tab on the passage of time and recognise what has changed, moved and what has not. But then there are some dates that are closer to us than the others. And their importance becomes rather significant.

We celebrate or honour or remember or acknowledge what happened on that date and for a few moments go back to that time, that event, that happening. Mostly we remember dates which change our lives in a significant way, like a milestone, without which we just wouldn’t be the same person. Those events and happenings don’t even have to be big things but significance of something is so disconnected with whether it is big or small.

When I was younger I was critical whenever I saw people who remembered dates and the events associated and gave it importance as I kept thinking, “Don’t you have better things to think about or remember.”

But as I grew older I understood that people remembering the date is a sign of their desire to step back into that time.

We move cities, countries, keep in touch, at a real and many times at a surface level with the ones associated with those dates and events. But on that date, it is nice to stop, think, smile, make a call or write a letter, email or reach out to that person to talk about random things. 🙂

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH THE THIRD PERSON

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There has been a series of stories one after the other about people having extra marital affairs or finding out about their spouse’s affairs through a third person, or meeting an ex’s current and going through a turmoil etc. etc.

So that got me thinking about relationships from the angle of the world of 2 people. When we get into a relationship, marriage, involvement there is a special-ness to it, at least in our minds. That special-ness comes from the fact that two people arouse a certain kind emotions in each other, and they know it is special because no one else has made them feel like this before. Those 2 people will have memories to look back upon, maybe of a life they created, maybe of holidays they took, of dinners they had, of naps they took, of movies they watched and then spoke about or just day to day talk or no talk, but clearly there is something about that space of those 2 people that seems air-tight, promising and it feels that no one can step into it and the 2 people are comforted in that space to think that this interaction, this glance, this warmth is only for me and cannot be replicated for someone else. But then to discover that no, that is not the case, that warmth, that love, caring and the act of making someone else feel special can be and has been replicated. And all of a sudden there is a 3rd person in that space, gently nudging you out. To discover that you are not in that space anymore from the 3rd person or any other medium is like a massive wave that has entered your apartment while you were having tea or reading a book in your comfort and it swallows you for the moment and you gulp and thrash around your hands frantically and then the wave leaves and you just stand there thinking, “What the fuck just happened!”, and you don’t really know where to begin for a long, long time.

Think or Live.

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Recently after a meeting finished and some of us were still continuing the discussion on some copy line which was heavy with thought and spoke about the kind of challenges life presents to all of us….my Brazilian client Priscila, said that something like this may not work in Brazil as we don’t think about Life, Life is meant to be lived and not thought about.

I found myself smiling at that heart warming statement. It led me to think if that meant, living in the moment, acceptance of ones’ circumstances, coping, surviving and living so to speak. Does it also mean that contemplation and reflection on issues that are intangible are seen to be unnecessary, in other words does one always need an object of provocation for a thought or does it mean one has understood that all this is an illusion and why bother with any contemplation? Does it mean that the journey of every human being is because of the outside factors like family, friends, loves, etc etc…and nothing without that? I think contemplation about life is inevitable for every individual at some point, if not at a great depth at least we all ask ourselves, “What is the meaning of all this?”, “Why am I here?”, and yes a lot of outside factors get us to these questions most of the time but it does lead to thinking and changing the inside in order to deal with the outside world. So if life is meant to be lived and not thought about is it outward vs inward or when outward and inward is in harmony? In harmony will be lack of conflict and lack of conflict will perhaps make us live more and think less.

For the Love of Life and Movies

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While getting back home last evening after buying groceries, flowers, etc. etc. a very strange feeling mixed with thought came over me. I imagined the act of walking into my building, tapping the access card carrying groceries and flowers in both hands like a shot out of a movie. I thought that perhaps I am in a movie of my life I created and I am just going into the act at every given point in time.

The fact that a lot of art, be it novels, movies, music, words come from observing life the same way sometimes the act of reading those words, novels, seeing those movies, thinking those lyrics makes one play it out in life. And hence life can be the book that you loved or you become that character sub consciously. We may very well be manifesting the thoughts that we loved or a scene we appreciated, or living the joy or tragedy of a scene which has quietly tucked itself in a corner.

We are the victims of self-obsession to a large extent, and not that we want to be, but we are, it is natural. And that is what makes us think we want our life story to be unique, something worth sharing every time we meet someone new and worth being admired by the old ones and no we don’t think it consciously at all. Living in a script which is continuously evolving, we are directing that shot, we are making our own character jump with joy or immerse in melancholy. And sometimes when that realization that the life that you have created is out of a, or was in a or is a movie hits you, you better like that shot.