Those were the days when joint families were common. She would be pampered by all the aunts and uncles in the house, and also taken out on outings. Those days, the shops closed by maybe 9 pm, and the streets would be deserted after that. It was one such night that the uncle and aunt had taken her out to visit some friends, and were returning on the scooter. She must have been around four at the time.
As they were on this lonely stretch of the road, the girl had an irresistible urge to eat cake. Not just any cake, but Japanese cake. She started a singsong whine – ‘unnncle, I want caaaakeeeee’. The shops were all closed by then, and poor uncle didn’t know what to do. As they went further down the road, they found a shop that was still open. But he didn’t have cakes. Thinking the girl was hungry, uncle bought some bananas and gave her one to eat. She quietly ate the banana. As they went further ahead, she started again. ‘Unnncle, I want caaaakeeeee’. Now uncle didn’t know what to do. He saw another shop and stopped there. The shopkeeper didn’t have cake, either. But he had ice cream. So poor uncle thought that the ice cream would make up for the lack of cake. So the ice cream was eaten too. And further down the road … yes, you guessed right. The whine started again. ‘Uncle, caaaaake’.
This went on for some time till uncle realized (after some bars of chocolate, some fanta, and a tender coconut) that the whine would not stop till she had had the cake. So this time, he went straight to a place where he knew the bakery would be open (yes, away from the route to the house). And she gleefully jumped up and down, and pointed to the tiny round cake on display. And finally the whining was put to an end.
Uncle had a good story to tell everyone back home.
On the day the world celebrated love
And roses exchanged everywhere
They faced explosives and guns
And were shredded to bits –
Was that fair?
By a coward who rammed into them
The forty-four brave men
The world condemns the attack
Candle marches will be held
And display screens turn black
But in different corners somewhere
forty four houses will never know
Of a loved one, the warmth and glow
Of the light snuffed out
In cold blood, in the cold, cold snow.
A common sight these days, in any public place, is heads bent over the android phones. Oh so intently, like their lives depend on that message they are sending or the video they are busy watching. This has been such a common sight that it has given rise to a lot of memes and videos telling us of the disadvantages of being glued to the screen. Every time I travel by the metro, I am greeted by this common sight.
As I take the metro in the morning to my classes, I change metro lines. So I take two trains.
Today, on my way back, I saw this young lady so intent on watching Big Boss on her mobile that she was standing quite close to the doors. I silently prayed that she wouldn’t fall off when the doors opened at the next station. Well, she managed to get off without any problem. (I couldn’t click her picture as the train was crowded).
As I changed trains, there was a rare sight that awaited me in the ladies compartment. I did a double take. And also clicked a picture of the girl (cropped for privacy reasons). Take a look!
To the girl in the picture: If you are reading this, dear, be careful as you get down the stairs (I saw you with your eyes still glued to the book as you approached the stairs)! You reminded me of my younger days, when I was just as crazy.
But well – I guess a book is any day better than the smart phone!
Do you agree?
She saw the photograph
Bless the Internet
that keeps them connected!
Chilblain, he replied
You don’t take care
As she couldn’t see his single scar
To fuss over him, she as so far!
You didn’t wear your gloves?
I did, he replied
Then he said,
You cry for a chilblain
When my brothers were slain
We can’t let their sacrifices
go in vain
We will stand our ground
whether it rains or snows
as we are duty bound
We face the wrath of man or nature
and we will not waver
We guard the borders
so there is order
and the country sleeps sound
So she hid her tears and pain
As always, it was the nation first, again
And she kept mum
knowing that all she could do
was to support him.
It was a Sunday, and I was inspired to cook sonny boy’s favorite breakfast. ‘Healthy home cooked food!’ I thought. I set out to make kandha poha, which he likes. We had got up late, and he wanted to order in, but I told him that the breakfast would be ready quicker than the delivery from outside (along with the lecture on the benefits of home-cooked food, of course! I am Mom-bound to do that!).
And thus I set out to cook. I chopped the heap of onions and started tempering, when my phone beeped. I set the flame to low and as I waited for the onions to turn brown, I happily read through the messages, watched videos, and replied to some personal messages. It was my ever-active nose that told me something was going amiss – just in time to look up and see that the brown shade of onions I had been waiting for, had passed me by. They had transitioned and reached nirvana – to a pure black!
What followed is anybody’s guess – yes, restart with the chopping of onions and chillies, the seasoning, the whole process and, not to mention, to see a ‘hangry’ (hungry and angry!!) face with the ‘I-told-you’ look.
Thus the not-so-new-year resolution was born. No WhatsApp/social media in the morning. At least till the cooking is done. Would you all agree?
As I got into the 7:10 metro this morning, I was happy that I would be on time. I rejoiced too soon. As we reached Majestic, where I had to switch metro lines, the train did not leave station for about a good eight minutes. And again, at the stop just before the one where I got off, it again stopped for another ten minutes or so. It seemed there was some snag and the authorities were taking care of it.
The train was jam-packed, and people fidgeted on being late. It was with mixed feelings that I restlessly looked this way and that. Then I realized there was nothing that I could do at that point of time. Getting off the metro and taking a rickshaw would mean more loss of time. It seemed safer to bear this delay. So I just accepted the situation and looked around at the crowd.
The young people were, quite amusingly, engrossed with their smartphones. There was a young lady watching a video with great interest. Another young man was busily at a game. One was engrossed in a chat, with that dreamy look in her eyes. These were the ones that seemed unmoved by any delay.
And then there were a few who must have been really getting late. The ones who were vocal were those on their way to work, it looked like. One started cribbing and I wondered if he was worried about a missed meeting at office… Or did he dread facing a Hitler boss?
The older generation sat calmly. One such elderly gentleman pointed out that we should support the system. ‘What if you were on the road and got stuck in a traffic jam? Who would you blame then?’ He asked. Point there. By then the train had started, and had arrived at my destination. I got off the train pondering on the thought if I should rue the missing out of more than half of my class, or be glad it was just a small snag, or whether to be patient with the system.
It was just a delay. I chose to count my blessings.
You begin with an empty bowl.
This was the writing prompt.
I had hit the writer’s block, and I was going through the chores, thinking of the ‘empty bowl’. It was not until late that evening as I emptied the garbage bowl in the recycling bin that I got that ‘aha’ moment.
You cannot fill a bowl which is full. You need to empty it, to fill it with what you want. This sentence I heard first when I turned towards spirituality. At the time, I did not fully understand it. I got the words, yes. But the depth of the meaning hit me only after some time. Easier said than done, though, and we need to put in constant efforts.
Coming back to the bowl. I collect kitchen waste in a bowl. Around evenings, or when the bowl is full, I transfer the contents into a bigger bin on my terrace. I have some good manure this way. And I am saved from the tantrums of the garbage collector in the mornings (you will be nodding your head in agreement if you live in Bangalore). And as a bonus, I get some tiny saplings now and then that spring forth to life, from that heap of waste. I had a few tomatoes recently. There is a small plant that looks like some gourd. So it is a win-win situation all the way.
So, as I emptied that bowl today, the thought came to me that our minds are similar to this bowl. We collect garbage as we go about our lives. What others said or did, or did not do. And the anger, resentment, sadness, and all the other negativities that go with it, get collected in our ‘bowl’. And then the mind is a place of filth. We need to empty the mind of all the garbage, for us to fill it with new things. When the garbage finds a right direction, new life springs forth.
As we empty the mind’s bowl, we make space for fresh and productive thoughts. And thus a new day starts, with an empty bowl.
A discussion on the thought if it would be possible for a person to stay without their smartphone for a day reminded me of this incident. This happened a few months ago.
The couple had moved newly to the house and had thought of having a small party for a few friends. It was a small gathering of about 15 people. The surroundings were not really familiar to them, though there was a very busy marketplace nearby with all kinds of shops. They had decided to order the food from outside for dinner. They had planned to prepare only the snacks at home, to go with the drinks.
Around 7 pm, the host went out to collect the food for which he had already placed the order that noon. He was expected to be back in 15 minutes. An hour passed. There was no sign of the host. By 8 pm, the guests had started arriving. They refused to start the drinks without him. One could see the worry on her face, though she tried to hide it. But after another hour passed and there was still no sight of him, they relented, and the men started with the drinks. The kids were busy in their own world, playing and running around. The ladies sat and caught up with the latest. But she was only thinking why he was so late. She called him on his mobile, only to hear a loud ring right beside her. He had left both his phones at home!! That was the ultimate!
The guests began to tease her saying he had left the phone deliberately as he wanted some time away from the wife. Or he must have met an ex at the market. And the lighthearted banter continued.
After what seemed like ages, he came home with so many parcels of food. There was a huge sigh of relief by all on seeing him. And after he was well-teased for leaving the phones behind, the party continued late into the night.
And did they fight after the party? My guess is as good as yours, as no one asked them!
So much tension just because of a forgotten phone!
They popped up from nowhere, these little ugly gremlins. The minute I was about to start, up sprang one. He came from somewhere in the head region, a place I did not know existed until now. It is called the land of doubts and fears, I believe. He had the most convincing list of doubts and fears. As I tackled and finished him off, the next one was ready. This fellow had a totally different set of thoughts that made me wonder if he were right? Oh! The torture! No sooner than I had put this one to rest, there were a couple more that had appeared. This went on for quite some time. I was totally exhausted by the time I had demolished the thousand-something-th one. Heavens! I finally confided in a friend who suggested I use the spray ‘self-talk’.
This seemed to work and I was inspired again. I was full of bright ideas. They were brimming, no, spilling and overflowing out of the head like a river in full spate.
Fully inspired, I now sit down to write. Yes! I have loads of topics! I have the most wonderful words coming up in the brain space, straining to be let out and spill themselves on to the paper, or rather my word file on the computer. Yes! I have got it all planned out. I spray a generous dose of gremlicide, called confidence. I sit down in front of my laptop. And I start. What? Well, these words seem shy now. They were doing such a jig in the brain just a while ago, and now they are shy and reluctant to come out. They seem to hide for cover behind other words. ‘You go first’, ‘no, you go’, they seem to say. So I sit for hours in front of the system, trying to coax them out onto the word file. Then after quite a long wait, I log off, as I have other things to do and I’ve got to feed myself!
Ah, these wicked torturous words!! You just wait till I catch you all! Just you wait! And until then, I will try and pass this experience for my Day1 of the thirty-day challenge! I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and hoping they’ll be kind to me soon … and I’m ready for Day2
It has been raining cats and dogs since the past so many weeks. I read the news about Kerala limping back to normalcy from devastating floods, and that Coorg is now on the road to recovery.
As I sip my morning tea, I look outside to see a bright sun. Ah! The sunshine lights me up, as I look at the mounting pile of laundry. Finally, today I can wash the clothes and put them out to dry! I hate the smell of shade-dried clothes.
Happily, I go about my day’s work and put the washing machine to task. The washing machine goes on with its work. And just fifteen minutes later, I see clouds gathering. The clothes are merrily getting a wash. And soon, there is a heavy downpour. It continues well past the the evening. And after the rains have stopped, the clouds show their presence. I look up at the skies and feel as though they had a good laugh at my expense.
Now, did I say anything about shade-dried clothes?