Only or already

I write this with a heavy heart knowing that the time for a dear family member might have come to leave the rest of us and begin a new journey on another plane.

As I pray and reminisce all the lovely times we’ve spent together over the years , the stories I have heard about her youth and I can’t help but smile through the tears .Her face has forever had the most radiant smile on it from the time that I can remember. Her ability to laugh at the simplest of jokes and mingle with all age groups stands out in my memories the most. Her love and concern for her family has transcended distances and kept the bonds strong over time even though geographical and political situations didn’t allow us all to spend more time together physically.

Yesterday only a young girl,trying a cigarette and singing carefree songs, laughing aloud with life, today she has probably  already run out of time.

Now is a time to weigh the scales, to calculate, was her service to humanity (something she did with love and fervor), enough, was the time spent with near and dear ones enough, was the time spent in devotion to the almighty enough? If not,is it too late already?

Time is such a subjective thing, Cy and I tend to watch tv before retiring for the night and many a times I’ve noticed even if he is tired, Cy will look at his watch and say ,” oh it’s only 10 o’clock!”. And we’ll watch some more until, he says,”oh it’s already 11:30pm” ,”let’s go to sleep”.

I began to realize and joke with him that we literally kill time between only and already. It doesn’t matter if it’s 9 or 10, the real difference lies between only and already.

If we are sleepy but it’s ‘only’ 10 we push sleep away until the ‘already ‘ time of 11:00 arrives.

From the last few days I have begun to notice this and realized that time is literally divided into 2 frames only and already. There is no real hour or am or pm. When I look at the time there is either enough time for me to complete my work or I have totally run out. Looking through this perspective it’s easier to plan and execute and live life and most of all prioritise,for I now simply know I want to complete things while I am in the only zone, as, if I don’t, regret will surely accompany already.

A couple of years ago,when I suddenly woke up to the fact that I was celebrating my 40th birthday (something I had blissfully forgotten ), I thought ‘God I am already 40 half my life is over’ (truthfully I thought it almost fully over), I rued over it until the day I said to myself I am only 40 the best is yet to come!

This change of attitude was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I now try and do whatever it is I am doing with more passion and heart than before for I know there is only so much time before its already passed!

None of us know which end of the spectrum we’re really in and so I pray that we all may enjoy this wonderful world the way it is meant to be ,whoever’s time has already finished, may they leave and transcend to a wonderful next, easily,peacefully, and joyfully, with a heart full of love and song!!

Best described In the words of Louis Armstrong . . . . 

(Song courtesy you tube )

Getting to know you

Summer’s here and although I had no real plans to take off to cooler planes,a situation presented itself and though the plateful of work I had on my hands made my head say no, the Sagittarian in me jumped at the chance and I found myself packing my bags for a short and much needed break. 

Landing at Brussels like I have number of times before but this time the presence of  extra security personnel around brought back  the recent ugliness experienced by the airport. 

I tried to shrug off the sadness and enjoy my holiday. 

Beautiful sunny skies, with fabulous cool weather and the endless patches of greens in all their varying shades welcomed me. I requested my driver to let me sit up front just to feast my eyes on the unrestricted vision of the endless trees, ‘the woods’ , they always make me smile and take me back to many a fairy tale.  


My driver was rather amused by my interest in the vegetation, something the locals take for granted, but do enjoy. Each garden has a different style and avenues with rows of trees lined with pink cherry blossoms or white flowers like snow flakes. 

Bye bye stress, hello holiday! 

The Gods were kind with clear skies allowing us to make a quick trip to neighbouring Netherlands. The cheese market tickled our noses and taste buds alike, and the fields of tulips felt like carpets rolled out by the heavens for us. We even had rain and hail for a few days which was a treat for one whose city only offers the seasons hot, hotter and hottest.


And finally as all good things come to an end so did my holiday. Back at Brussels airport we stood patiently in a temporary tent to check in our bags. Reminded again of the deadly attack,I couldn’t help marvel at how they had picked themselves up and continued with life ,while they simultaneously  repair the damages caused. A gentleman in line with us began to chat. He was from Ecuador, and we discussed how we were adviced by our friends respectively  against travelling and how it’s not possible to live under fear amongst other things. Saying goodbye to the new friend guiermo, we walked on to our respective  gates at the terminal nodding at more smiling faces.


They say travel is the best teacher, and the one thing that has struck me on this and recent holidays is that people around the world are getting more aware of ethnicities, of different races, different cultures, and more accepting of each other.


 More people are becoming friendly, in the small town of Gouda the Hollander selling cheese, struck up a conversation with me and I realised she wasn’t just being polite, she was genuinely friendly and wanted to know more about India. Our German  steward on the aircraft couldn’t stop raving to me about how beautiful Iran is and the scarves people wear around their heads. There is a surge of pluralism in the world. All along I have noticed people getting friendlier, and more vocal about not approving or understanding the crazy terror attacks in today’s world. 

This vocalisation of condemnation is slowly bringing about a sense of oneness in the rest of the world. A oneness that’s transcending colour, class, race and creed.

I see a mix and blend of cultures coming about, and a more tolerant, kind and caring form of humanity beginning to emerge, maybe there is , after all a silver lining to this dark terrorising cloud, maybe one day we’ll bloom together like a field of tulips individual, but one! 


Is it my imagination or maybe I’m just a dreamer, I don’t know ,but I know I’m not the only one ….. !

Dear Drummer

a message for a young enthusiastic prodigy in the neighbourhood. . . . .

Dear drummer of the mount , we hope you’ll hear our plea,

“It’s started”,animal-muppet we think, as to work , we take our seats,

When everyday you pick your sticks ,and your drums you start to beat!

 

Your rhythm, let’s be honest, although not so divine,

practice we hope in time, will help to make it fine,

beating  the barrels for  endless hours at a time,

we pray should  give you chops,  that will eventually be kind.

 

Dear drummer we appreciate ,  your sense of dedication,

But once in a way maybe you could indulge in a permutation,

For it never really hurt, to have a variation,

maybe  sometime you can throw in a metric modulation?

 

Music they say is a healer for the soul,

But the notes from this ghost, are leaving us for cold,

Please dear drummer  spare a thought for the old,

We do tire of hearing the battering so bold.

 

We do wish you the best, and hope you stand loud in every single test,

And eventually pocket a grammy , when you are one of the best,

But until then dear drummer, could you sound proof your room,

So when you beat another, we need not hear the boom,

Let’s restore the peace and quiet, for most and many,

In our queen of the suburbs, good old Mount Mary!!

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Wheatish

You’ve heard of black,you’ve heard of white, you’ve probably heard of yellow skin too but ‘wheatish’, I bet that’s one you haven’t heard of .

I remember this term being used for me as a kid, specially as my sister  has light skin the comparison of ‘beauty’ was constant. From growing up as a person believing brown skin is not pretty with the constant feedback from most Indians, the first time  I began to  realise and appreciate my skin colour was when a stranger in Italy asked me where I got my tan. And although we didn’t speak the same language she did manage to convey the ‘colour’ was very nice. 

‘Wheatish’,I think back now , what a ridiculous term!

Indians unfortunately have a complex to anything white and will bend over backwards to oblige a white person. I have witnessed this in shops where all the salesmen suddenly wanted to sell to one white customer and the rest of us were left to fend for ourselves and ,in our school where we had a Dutch student for 1 year, she probably never had such a big fan following in her life before or after our school. This would never have happened to a dark skinned student even if she was a foreigner. 

I remember when one of my friends told me what a great guy my husband is and ‘so fair and good looking’ too. Cy and I still laugh about how an approval was based on his skin color.

We are a nation obsessed by fairness. In India fair=good looking. A car could’ve driven over you face and smashed in all your features but if you are fair, you will pass the test. The evidence of this is in the sale of fairness creams, the marriage ads in the matrimonial column, where a only a fair bride is invited to apply. A trend I have noticed over the last 40 years. 

When one of our’s is attacked racially in a foreign country we cry foul and yet with the recent attacks on the African students, in our own country some of our ministers have made  generalized statements as to the illegal activities undertaken by all the kids.(should’nt he have condemned the acts instead of generalizing ?) It’s so sad and shameful when I hear the foreign kids say they feel unsafe and are generally treated shabbily due to their race. Which many did on the news channels.

When in college I remember my own college mates passing degrading remarks when dark skinned students passed by, in Hindi no less,so they wouldn’t be clobbered by their bigger sized prey. I always thought this so pathetic ,to be mean to another just for their skin color. Once one tall,well built, student (who obviously knew some Hindi)turned around and asked ‘kya bola?, ‘ the bullies were hoping the ground would swallow them by the looks on their faces. That was one punch I would’ve been happy to see . He didn’t deliver, I’m sure because he is a guest in our country and decided against it.

We speak of being highly cultured but what happens to all that culture when we divide and further divide on class and race? Our culture teaches us ‘atithi devo bhava ‘ (guests are like god) and yet when they are black we don’t like them?! Hypocrisy to the hilt! 

As a kid my father always said to us ‘only if you accept your own mistake can you improve on it’. 

After hearing of the Tanzanian students attack and more so of the rickshaw driver spitting on one students face instead to returning his change, the fact that racism is deeply rooted in us is a fact we need to accept,IF ,we intend to change our attitude and tap into the humane side of our culture where we learn to accept all as our equal and respect everyone for their worth as a fellow human! 

  
It’s high time we peeled the fairness mask off our brown faces and made a few corrections in our mindsets. 

Peace Is All We Want

Foreword: MH370Declared and accident!an “Act of God or . . . . .??

I wrote the following poem in the aftermath of the accident (if you can call it that) of the MH17. We all expect to see our loved ones who travel due to work or otherwise to return home, but when a deliberate bolt out of the blue takes them down, souls weep for the sake of humanity!

pray_for_mh370_by_twineapples-d79mif2“Peace Is All We Want”

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Home away from home. . .

happiness-300x274 It’s twilight, a time when I remember to say my prayers. As I watch the sun set over the horizon, it reminds me that another day in my life is coming to a close. I can hear the bells of a temple in the distance toiling away to rouse the Gods, while the sounds of the ‘azaan’ (call of prayer) ring through from a nearby mosque simultaneously. I watch people rush into church so they don’t miss the evening mass, I recall fondly as my dear friends’ mother would drag us all to the ‘gurudwara’ as kids to “matha teko”(bow down). Looking over at the neighbouring buildings; I see zoroashtrian neighbours light the ‘lobaan’  and smoke their houses; an act to drive away evil spirits and usher in the angels.   The taxi and rickshaw drivers stop their daily runs, to offer a small prayer, as do the retail shop owners and street vendors. They light an incense stick and pray to the miniature idols, for sustenance and safety, and bow down offering gratitude. It’s so interesting as it seems almost simultaneously everyone in the world is bowing their heads down together. The rituals followed by all seem to have a common thread running through. The burning of incense, the ringing of bells, the singing of hymns, water, chana, and sheera distributed as Prasad. The teachings of love, tolerance and brotherhood being the common essence. The eventual close of day reminds us all of our own mortality; the fact that we are here for a temporary time. We don’t own anything and nothing really belongs to us, not even our own bodies. Where do we come from and where do we go? Even relationships are believed to be an ‘earthly thing’. Recently, I had invited my friends for a get together for high tea, as day turned to dusk, all of us took a few moments for silent prayer, ushering in a sense of peace and quiet after the continuous chatter of the afternoon. As it happened, the discussion got philosophical. Each of us adding in bits and pieces of our understanding of our faiths, traditions and beliefs. Some cultures teach of an afterlife, some speak of rebirth; Evoking Questions like ; In either scenario do we end up with the same families, as part of the same culture we once were a part of. Could it be that our souls go through a shuffle and are sent back to earth in completely different roles from our previous lives?  If not, do our souls go on to an afterlife different from anything on earth. So,  is what faith our ancestors were or did in their lifetimes relevant to us today? Some of us who’ve had a brush with aura readers, have been told  of many past lives we’ve lived, in different times, different cultures, in different parts of the world. Some who’ve tried regression have experienced being maids, jailors, warriors, kings. I doubt we’ll ever really know the answers to any of these mysteries. Most beliefs say we are part of one soul, which we reunite with on attaining moksha, “our final resting home”. Practice, religion and faith, these are schools, they aim to teach us how we can attain moksha, the method of teaching being different, the curriculum much the same. The best teachers and guides reside in all of us and that is our conscience and common sense. They guide us clearly and directly. When we chant and meditate we feel the connection. This connection is our contact home. I recently attended a passing away ceremony, and it began with the hymn, ‘ I surrender’ and aptly ended at burial with ‘lord I’m coming home’. The final ‘ghar vapsi’. We carry within us our souls. We are where we should be, and will go where we’re meant to. But, “home is, where we will always be “. eternal peace