Separation from the Smartphone

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!

The Writers’ Block

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 

Rain Havoc

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?

A Morning ‘Treet’

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
-Joyce Kilmer

Today, as I reached Cubbon Park thirty minutes early for my bi-weekly class, I decided to take a brisk walk around. But my plans were thwarted by none other than a gigantic tree. I am always fascinated by trees. I stopped short in awe at the size of the tree. And that was when I noticed the squirrels and the parrots playfully prancing around. I lost sense of time as I stood and watched them in silence, taking care not to scare them away. Not that they were bothered. They were used to the humans walking in the park. So I had an eyeful of these merry creatures, and clicked some pictures too. Then I noticed a man placing some nuts on the branch of the tree. And the birds and squirrels playfully shared their bounty.
There were some pigeons too, near the tree trunk. All I had to do was shoo them away from the ground, to get a beautiful picture as they flew away. (No, I didn’t do that!). Guess I have a halo around my head now. It only takes a small part of nature for that positivity! This happy sight still lingers in the mind as the day progresses.

Blessed on Varamahalakshmi

As I walked homewards after my morning walk, I saw her by her scooter, getting ready to go somewhere. She lives two doors away from mine. I stopped by and said a hello. She was happy to see me and her hello was warm. ‘Come home’, she said. ‘Sure, I will’, I replied.
Such common words! Come home. Sure I will. But how many times do we really take that next step? Really visit a person?
This lady is an avid gardener, and I often see her lush-green terrace garden on Facebook. Yes, you read that right. On Facebook. I did try to peep from my terrace, but could see nothing. And whenever I bumped into her in the neighborhood, I told her that I would come someday to see her terrace garden. And I continued to use the ‘like’ button to all the rich harvest of vegetables and herbs she grows. On Facebook. It had been a few years.
So this day, she invited me for lunch. It was Varamahalakshmi, so she said we could have lunch after the pooja. And then I thought, ‘enough of the like button on Facebook. Let’s get real!’ And I said yes. When she realized I was alone at home on that day, she made it a point to call me and ensure that I didn’t shy away.
The food was yummy, of course. But more than that, I discovered a very inspiring woman who has so much to teach me. And she lives right by my side! Had I missed lunch, I would have missed more than just a meal.
It is nice to meet people in the real world, especially those who are close by. And we miss seeing them because we are busy living in the virtual world.
PS: That’s a pic of the green haven on her terrace 🙂

The Silent Heroes – Vandana

A bright, lively young girl from a small town marries and moves in to a big city. Her husband is quite clear from the beginning that he does not want a career-oriented wife. And she is quite happy with that. But there is a restless energy within her. The husband recognizes it and encourages her to follow her heart and do whatever makes her happy. They do make a lovely couple.
As the years roll by, they move into a new locality. Her house is located at a place where she can see a different a section of society. She watches them through her window or balcony as she goes on with her day’s chores – where the people are not so affluent. They are not in slums, yes, but they do need to count their pennies before they spend. She notices that the children in that locality do not have the same privileges and luxuries that her daughter enjoys. They do not have even a small park! Most of us would have not given it a second thought. At most, some would have thanked god for their good fortune and gone on with their lives. Any other woman in her place would have blissfully spent the rest of her life in shopping, gossip and watching TV.
Not Vandana. She decided to do something for these kids. For a start, she decided to hold classes for them. Classes that they could not otherwise afford. They lived in a spacious three-bedroom flat, and she initially used the extra space to hold classes. She started with music and dance. Was she trained in music or dance? No! She thought out of the box, and got innovative. She hired teachers who were willing to come to her place and teach. She chose teachers who agreed with her concept of giving back to society, and did not demand high fees from students. Initially she went through the tedious job of moving furniture every time she had a class. She did it happily and single-handedly. The number of students began to swell, and the house was now too small to hold all classes without a hitch. Her next obstacle was finding a place. She was limited to the vicinity as the students would not attend classes if they were held too far. After searching for a few months, she found an open terrace with a small room that she used as her office. She invested in the required infrastructure to put up a roof so that the sun and rain did not disrupt the classes. She now added classes in oil painting, guitar and the harmonium. The people in the locality were very happy to have a place where they could learn so many things at affordable rates. Shortly thereafter, she had to move from this place as some people in the neighborhood did not approve of children talking and laughing, and also the sounds of music! She had to start all over in search of a place. She soon found one nearby.
There was no financial benefit at this stage. Vandana’s main needs were to pay rent for the place and to pay the teachers. The inflow was the same as the outflow. She did not aspire for more. As the school grew, she registered it and went official. She called it ‘Pratibha School of Art and Music’.
Her efforts have been recognized by the Karnataka Samskrutika Academy and she was awarded the Karnataka Bhushana in 2017.
Vandana is now a trained yoga teacher, and has added yoga to the list. It has been nine years since the school was started in 2009, and Pratibha today teaches the housewives too, along with the kids. These women find an outlet to learn things they wish to in their free time after completing their household chores.
It is a happy wife that keeps her surroundings happy, a happy neighborhood that makes a happy city, and then a happy country! May her tribe increase!