It has been raining cats and dogs in the past few days. As I sit sipping my evening tea looking out of the window, I see this fruit on the citrus plant outside.
The plant belongs to my neighbor. He is as sour as the fruit, minus the health/medicinal benefits. The couple loves plants. There is a very small stretch of land between our houses, and I can see so many plants there in that little space. They grow the seasonal vegetable or pulse which can be grown on a creeper. The creeper is then made to go up the terrace where it spreads out into a canopy on two clotheslines. And I get to see green outside the window. And every time I look out of the window and see the greenery outside, I thank God, and ask God to bless this man who chose to grow plants instead of extending his abode. Surly people need not be totally bad, huh?
I heard a saying that goes, ‘three things you can never choose: your parents, your neighbors and your boss’. Guess we got a good bargain.
What’s this new change in today’s world? Well, it is this app. Whatsapp. Now there must seldom be a person that exists, who has not heard of whatsapp. Today’s rage. The viral fever of the century…or is it the millennium? If I had to expand this word, it would be ‘what’s-this-appendage-that-grew-on-me-without-my realizing-it’. What the heck, the morning begins with the eyes opening to the mobile screen. Gone are the days of rubbing the palms in front of the eyes and chanting ‘karagre vasate…’. Those are obsolete now. Replaced by whatsapp.
A day starts with around 50-80 messages on an average. How can you not say ‘good morning’ to all those people who bothered to spam…errr… remember you, first thing in the morning!? And invariably, one starts replying. Then there are the well-wishers forwarding all the warning messages on what to eat and what not to eat, videos that expose the dangers of most of the things we eat or use in today’s world. Can’t begin the day without knowing so many things! And then there are some innocent people who believe that something bad would happen if they didn’t forward a message or a picture to that specified number of people, and lasso in all their acquaintances into it. Next come the humorous jokes that MUST be forwarded immediately to all people and groups in one’s own list. New in the market, hurry! Then the words of wisdom. By now, most of the population must have got their own halos. So much wisdom that trickles into the phone each day! Oh, did I mention the puzzles? Answer if you are smart. How can you let that pass? As one triumphantly figures out the answer, there are a few others who have already posted the answer … not so smart after all, huh?
And that reminds me… I am yet to use the most important app (appliance, not application) – the toothbrush!!
I know that you are far better now than you were in your twenties. Wiser and smarter with all the experiences and lessons that life has bestowed you with. But there is more, my dear. From where I see things. Pay attention to what I say, so that you will be the happier for it when you reach where I am now.
First: Get rid of all the clutter. The physical, mental, and the emotional. I know you have started doing it. Keep at it. You can’t stop and say ‘I am done’. It is an ongoing process. You like to travel light. It applies to life too. Less clutter will make the journey of life easier.
Second: Forgive. I know you will say I am trying my best. Yes. Even that “…..”. YES. Those people first. Difficult, but not impossible. Forgiving clears your own soul.
Third: Love. Love with all your heart. Even those who you feel are not worthy of your affection.
Fourth: Accept people as they are. We can’t change others. Their qualities are what makes them unique. Just as you are, with all your quirks. We can only change ourselves.
Fifth: And the last, but definitely the most important. Pray. Pray for all the people that touch your life. And for those you don’t know, either. Pray for the upliftment for all living beings.
At eighty, this is what I want you to have achieved. The rest would have fallen in place if you did this.
All my love,
You, at eighty. (If you live till then!)
I recently took yoga classes for a bunch of kids at a playschool. This was a new experience for me – teaching yoga to kids. However, I was in for a pleasant shock on my first day at the playschool.
My classes were on alternate days for a month. The kids were of an assorted age group. The youngest was three-and-a-half, and the oldest was ten. I must have been a sight to see there, trying to make them stand still for even a minute! It was like trying to collect a brood of chicken into an open basket – by the time you got one into the basket, two others got out!
“Ma’am, I’m hurt!” (The kid wants to play outside)
“Ma’am, my stomach aches!” (The previous class was an experiment with ‘food’ and ice-creams!)
“Ma’am, I want to go to the wash room” (the same kid, every five minutes)
“Ma’am … look, I’m wounded!” (Shows the ‘wound’ – a fading mehandi design on the foot!)
I stood there a la Hamlet, in my typical Libran dilemma – to be or not to be. Strict with them, I mean. Then I thought, these were kids trying to ‘enjoy’ their summer vacations, while the parents were at work. How could I be strict with them? But on the other hand, I was there to teach them. It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t!
Finally, I decided. I cannot change them. I had to be the change. I started asking them about animals, and taught them some breathing exercises like rabbit breathing, dog breathing, and tiger breathing. I spoke about a park and showed them the vrikshasana and the butterfly asana. And the month flew by.
On the last day of the class, there was a get-together where the kids enacted a play, and the parents came to watch. I was not there. They were asked a question – which was the class they liked the most? And do you believe they said ‘yoga class’?