Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Opening up to life

A lizard just fell on me. Literally. A real one. I yelled and didnt even want to flick it, as flicking it would have meant touching it.. eeeeww!

not the point of this blog post though. Stepping into office, there was an interesting thought that emerged. A pal is having a moment of crisis and is in a job that she detests, cant do hates. What it does give her is wealth but little else. 

As we chatted, the idea of taking a vacation emerged. Not the lets go to italy, and see the leaning tower of Pisa kind of a vacation but a break from your life. From a need to work for security, from being on a path of getting somewhere, doing something that will get you someplace, from validity and productivity. 

Its a notion that is very urban based. I am valued because I do. I earn. I generate. 

Spending time wisely has got intrinsically linked to generating something, creating something that shall take you ahead. Living on a linear time line. Diversions are frowned upon and welcome. Milestone chase warranted and appreciated. 

The idea of taking a sabbatical - not so original I admit came to mind. The trick to however, truly enjoying a sabbatical is to give your self license to be. Being free is a mindset. If a sabbatical becomes a next job hunt, where every conversation is laced with an hidden anxiety - will this lead to business, will I gain something from this, then lets admit it, its a job hunt and not a break. 

Il bel far niente (dolce far niente) – This Italian phrase translates as “the sweetness of doing nothing.

This was the term that Elizabeth aka Eat Pray Love, learnt to appreciate in Italy. Cynics, I can see the rolling eyes and the smug expression of yea well, what would the world be like if we all just sat with our legs on the table playing poker all night long. But its not about laziness. On the contrary, its about awareness.

Imagine this. You take a sum of money and gift it to yourself. This is money that you made/got and have permission to spend. Gift yourself time. Say a quarter of a year, not too little not too much. This is when it gets interesting, find yourself ways to spend the time meaningfully. 

The only things that you are not allowed to do is
  • see any form of TV/movies/serials/games or external entertainment that comes of a box as a way of killing time.
  • or find a job or other ways of SECURING the future 
  • or facebook. 
rest is ok. the intention is to get comfortable with the idea of uncertainty. Letting the cloak of security drop and still live the present.
Hmm. As I type out this sentence, there is a devlish smile that is playing in my face. In fact I think I am going to give myself a break just like this once I have say 50l in my account. Challenge the self/soul/mind to find things to do. Be comfortable in solitude.

Drumming my fingers on the table, thinking thinking of what is it that I would really really want to do/be/learn.

Getting the obvious ones out of the way first, would want to head to a shamanistic master in south america, and drink the brew that only he can give to you, to spend time in serious guided meditation at the Kailash. To learn a dance and a martial art form. Stillness. 

To travel with a exploration troupe, and write a series about it.. like the nat geo kind of a group. Would work in a clean animal farm and bring up a baby orangtutan. Study the science of human behaviour, throw myself into the world of interesting classes, where I can shamelessly blend art, painting, history, psychology, creative arts and writing, learn what the term impressionist really means, tag a photo journalist for a while, become a healer and learn how to skate. 

or simply take the trans altantic siberian train-- nah somehow that is a bit too long in a train

Just today, sat transfixed in an auto for 3 minutes, stared at the map of the asian continent. Beyond the topmost point of the Himalayas there was a world. Tibet a nation - a mystery. China a power a centary. Mongolia and the wind readers, Russia. Siberia. Japan. The span of land was immense. 

Each city with its own tales and experiences. Travel for travel sake can get dull. its tough work, takes courage and the ability to not stop. But a journey is different. Its not about wandering for the sake of being in motion but exploring for the sake of knowing. It slows you down.

If I could and I will. On my sabbatical I will wander inward, with the presence of people who do so. Explore the thousand ways of connecting that people have. 

A self given gift of a break. Love the concept.

Academia, Kill Bill and Fasting

What the heck do these three topics even have in common. Its a valid question, to which I do have a valid answer. 

Stepping into the portals of the National Gallery of Modern Art, there was a silent breath that I took. It seemed that I had stepped back into time, into a world where the thinkers, the academics and the activists had gathered together. Chappals with interestingly tumbled hair held in place by a hastily thrown pen, rubbed shoulders with the trouser clad man whose label did not boast of Allen Solly, but a Fab India. Pink  fought with the bright yellow for colours and SlRs were hastily thrust into the bags that at once were hip, smart yet non conventional

The crux world. The meeting point where the academic returned to the corporate. but did not get absorbed there, instead they sat a bit on the fringe connecting the government to the corporate to the non profit to themselves to the others and debated, discussed, taught and otherwise created hotly contested moments where new thought was getting created, channeled. 

Sitting there in my Wills Lifestyle trousers, and rather unbecoming shirt, i knew I should have gone the grunge earthy look. Never Mind. Gathering all the material handed out, I sat in a corner and read the profiles of the people. 

Profiles - hmm they have a way of making anyone sound like gods gift to mankind. Often it makes me want to sit next to the person, a cup of chai in hand and ask them with wide open eyes, how did all this happen, what made you leap from this to that, the randomer the profiles the wider the eyes. Reading one profile after the other a deep desire to go study & have oxford or something like that next to my name was there. 

Between diversity, and depth there is a debate that is ranging about the deeper journey that one should be a part of. Depth and diversity, in where it is applied may be an interesting twist to make the both come together. Where one travels doing the one thing that one is good at, while learning a lot of other things by the side. The now abused mantra of Steve jobs - Stay hungry stay foolish comes to mind.

Leaving the intellectuals at their discussions, I headed off to more materialistic events that made me happy. Wedding shopping and movies with pop corn by the side. Kill bill 2 was the entertainment of the night, and new respect for Uma Thurman and martial arts as a world emerged. 

Martial Arts, judo, karate, tai chi, kalari, chi gong, all seem to have a root in orientalism. The submissive discipline that it requires you master and be apt at may have something to do with it. Enough and more movies have been showcased with the wayward student being made to go through the grind and then emerge later to be talented, gifted and with senses alert.

Long time back a pal was getting to be profecient in Tai Chi. At a party, he was conversing with a girl, when someone to the side of him, someone out of his line of vision dropped a glass. As a reflex action, his pals hand popped out and held the glass. a action even he was surprised by.

Centering, withdrawing inwards and then pushing yourself to limits you didnt even know has been a method they repeatedly adopt. 

I failed.

Needed to fast for A DAY. A DAY! ok not even A DAY, could eat in the night, and that was such a tough thing to do. Drank water, juice the works and still food came and sat plonk in the middle of the brain refusing to budge no matter what else i entertained it with. Bugger him.

Eating at the end of the day, was a relief as half the mac donald burger killed any de tox that the body may have gone through. Food you are such joy.

Sunday was spent gorging on food. And unhealthy one at that. The laziness carried on to Monday and its only now. much much later that I can feel me stretching and acknowledging that work is about to happen!

Its my favourite kind of a day

Today is how a day should be. A friend is sitting on the couch having an afternoon beer, the dog is on the rug chewing his shoe. Hot lunch smells are simmering in through the kitchen and I am sitting with the laptop watching the virgin rain wipe clean the trees.

Its the kind of day when you want to sit on the couch curled and have a long conversation with a friend. slow down speed up, have a long bath and dance around in your towel singing snatches of songs that come and go at will.

Its a happy day.

Standing in front of my bookshelf the other day, was wondering what to read. The voice in the tummy has for long been asking me to sit, just sit on the yoga mat in the silence that lets things happen position. for an unknown reason have been deffering the same. The guilt intellect -  decided a comprise solution was the best idea lets read a book about life and its greater mysteries.

Neale Walsch, Conversations with God. Book 3 stood innocently on the shelf. Sharing space with a Wanye Dyer and snuggled next to a lame Daniel Steel. Picking up the book, i played the silly mind game that I like playing. Sitting with the book in my hand, I shut my eyes and asked the book to open to the page that I needed to learn from.

It did.

There were two messages that the book ended with. Belief in the fact that we are all one, and there is enough.

The moment you commence believing everyone in the same shoes, each one living their lives and doing things that they need to do. it also talked about the life choices that existed on other planets, one could of course choose to believe it or choose not to be a part of it. both are choices that are valid. If one chooses to believe that there is some other life out there, then it makes you wonder if they have a new way of life, a alternative belief system.

The book claims they do.

its a planet, where the other beings do what they truly love to do, each person believes that fulfilling each of their love the barter flows well, and there is enough for everyone to grow. There is no need to hold and constrict, no need to close but let go, no need to amass but share.

There is a great joy in sharing, AB a close friend in my view is the one person whom I know is living a highly evolved life, he has sub consciously plugged into the joy of giving. it has changed who he is, made him larger than himself, made him a doer, a creator and selfless in a manner that I see rarely around me.

For a day, for 2 its worth a try, living knowing that there is enough, that there are incredible life stories there that are existing, life stories that are possible because they took a chance, they flowed with life. Life responds to experiences. Routine sometimes causes a lull, a lull of repetition, that only leads to perfect weariness.

Was reading a book this morning. Had an extract about the Tibetian practice of begging. Buddhist monks as a practice are encouraged to beg, so are the sufis and the jains. The intention is that the act of begging created a link of need btw the person begging, and the person giving. The need fulfillment creates a bond between then that can clear the energy for them. Even if one was to disregard that, for a moment I pictured myself begging on the street. Asking. allowing for strange people to help me. It made me feel small. humilated. the mere thought was icky.

Yet it was a interesting notion. The asking minus ego, the not getting because you earned it, but getting because you deserve it. The act of being open to receive is perhaps tougher than the act of giving.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Exploding Typhoon

Yesterday was on of those days that did not start right or end right. The ending was in fact a whimper, which saw me sitting like a couch potato and not moving, I am doing a lot of the couch potato scene now days and havnt got a clue as to why. 

If I am seeing a lot of TV - it is usually an indication that there is not enough living that is being done. There must be more and the line from the most seen video of Steve Jobs comes to haunt me, " every morning i would look at myself in the mirror and ask myself, is what I am doing something that i love to do? then i would go ahead and do it" and if not then dont stop seeking 

Anyway, all that is a long drawn affair that takes a long time to determine. Coming back to yesterday.. for starters my shower began an unusual dance, it took the term 360 degree management and took it to another level. 

On opening the water source, water began to flow out from the taps, the shower and even that knob in between that decides if the water has to come from the shower or the tap. In a minute, it was like taking a shower in those fancy hotel loos, where the water comes and caresses one from all sides and directions.

Managed somehow, and was caught by the cook who mentioned her accident. a pane of glass hit her palm, and a cut resulted in a loss of unprecedented quantum of blood.  Blood makes me faint. Even the mention of a river of blood is enough to get me sick. running out from her phantom hands, I headed out.

office, work and waiting plumbers, resulted in needing to rush back home soon. But of course that could not be as there was a puncture waiting gleefully in the corner, with a big grin on its face. Huffing and panting I attempted to prove that I knew how to replace a tyre. 

didnt even know where to place the jack~~

Bummer. A sweet gentleman passing my, took pity and assisted the 2 men and 1 women trio in the tyre replacement. Thanking him sweetly, I drove off. The car drove off too, off the road that is. it spun out of control and there was a vibration that did not cease. The spare tyre was a bad cannon.

Needing cash, before repairing the tyre, headed to atm 1 - out of order. atm 2  ( a ten min drive and complex parking space later) - getting loaded with cash, not in use. Atm 3 - bingo.. all of 30min gone. Puncture shop 1 - closed for the day, puncture shop 2 - stopped puncture repairing, puncture shop 3- did not even get there.

Disaster lurked around the corner. 

Heading to the gym, after a week of a disciplined work out I stood on the scale. The scale moved and shuddered, headed and got stuck at a weight. The same weight I had entered the gym with. Hmm, never mind, there must be more muscle than fat in the body now. I mused. Heading to the in body assessment thing, i determined the bone mass vs the fat mass and all that nonsense. SAME

Eyes smarting with tears, upset at that which I was seeing i headed to the trainer who yelled for irregular hours, partying etc etc none of which were true. upset, deeply so, and everything seeming to come together I got up and left. just sad. tired and needing a happy day. a simple happy shining silly laughter of a day.

the feeling of not doing enough with life came back, the feeling of wanting more came back. and i sat there, just smarting. 

But then someone just shared with me a story of a donkey. 

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.
Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The t rick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.
Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.
Free your mind from worries - Most never happen.
Live simply and appreciate what you have.
Give more.
Expect less

NOW ...........

Enough of that crap . .. . The donkey later came back, and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him.
The gash from the bite got infected and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.


When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.

so anyway, I know what I am doing wrong. I am not living enough and not doing enough. Not enough of the things that get me joy. And that is the wrong part of it all. wait less, do more. life shall flow, faster simpler and more of what you want shall come to u.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Living a Chocobar life.

I am brown. I live in a brown nation. Everyone around me is brown.
I date a white man.
This combination, is not mine alone. A few close friends are also part of an interracial coupling, where given the location of where we stay there is a tendency for the couple to stand out.

In delhi, there are a lot of non indian friends, who come in to work here and make India their base. They sometimes find a love interest in an Indian man. They too come under the inexplainable category called interracial couple.

Here are a few ugly truths about being an interracial couple in India. Starting from the being a women with a white man. The moment such a scenario is presented to the public, the immediate reaction seems to be from the people around that (i) its a passing thing, one of the expats choosing to have fun while he is here (ii) the women is a gold digger or worst (iii) escort service hmmm!

The manifestations of these can be seen in several technically small incidents. Like for example, when you choose to check into a hotel you are asked to prove that you are married. How does one prove that? By showing them a relevant document. what is that? a marriage certificate! Really!! who carries a marriage certificate and moves around in any case?

or the other incident was even better.

We head to a resort around Pune. A small bunglow converted into a hotel, serene, tranquil .. etc etc you get the drift. Enter details as mandated in the log book. Wrong thing to do was to reach there wearing what i think was a pretty summer dress and heels. What waits us there is a bunch of men, who have come from Pune to ENJOY... you know what that means, drinks, cards a bonfire, loud music, lots of bc-mc floating around and a bunch of loud boys.

Fair enough. Your form of fun, please have it. carry on.

What happens though is this. As i leave the next day and get into network area, very strange sms's begin to pop on my black berry. To the tune of 'if you are done can you please call' assuming it was the landlord of the resort, I call back .. no ones picks up

a min or two later the person calls back. Hi is this N.. he asks, this is Sumeet here.. we met at the resort and you gave me your number? What no! i never gave anyone my number..? so who the hell are you and what the f do u want?

Aaaaahh .. no no we were wondering , you know if you were going to be done with your client!

I hear that and I freak out. Yelling into the phone and I dont even know what to say, so stunningly stupid is that what I am hearing!!!!! Escort service ... what the hell is this even about!! ........ called
the resort person and this was his response was deal with it. People in India are silly! and thats what this is about there is nothing one can do.

The feeling that I got was - that I was being the person silly, why should I even be calling him and getting troubled.. and there is no need for being that loud about it. The fact that I was hurt was my problem it would have been normal

after all i was with a white man. what did i expect
the fact was that I was supposed, asking for it!

This is it. India slaps u.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Turning 30

oh my god.. you are going to be 30 years old? my nephews eyes opened in horror as he looked at me with his mouth open.  Are you not like getting really old? Should you not be sort of settled in life.

He is 20 years old
I am a fossil in his eyes. Stuck between his parents and something in between.

He believes that he shall be a world traveller, half retired, and singing in kareoke bars in Japan for the joy of it by the time he is 30. I hope he is. 

My ivory coast called me and asked if I had completed my list of things that were there to do before I was 30. Am not sure if I made such a list, and if I had where it is now. Nah am not even going to make a list of what I want to achieve by the time I am 40. It seems for the 30 year old in me as faar off as the complete meltdown of the polar ice caps. am sure it shall come, and am sure I shall be as surprised by its coming than not.

But what has happened with this age?
The few things that are visible and on the surface different that I can point out are:

  • There are greys that appear in ones hair
  • Starting something new takes longer to do
  • contentment is about a book, a quilt and a arm flung around the person u love
  • loud music over dinner is an irritant, one prefers conversation
  • reconnecting with parents is not something one is made to do
  • old friends pop back in life, and new friends are more in the i know him but i dont know know him
  • loosing weight is not that easy
  • a good deal - is more about the larger things in life, than flip flops
  • one wonders why girls giggle so much
  • You stop believing that one can retire in 4 years
  • When you travel, there is a hesitation in striking up a conversation with someone new, a little more than earlier
  • you jump a lot more - in your head
  • tolerance levels are at an all time high, at an all time low
  • you know yourself and accept yourself a lot more
There is a growing up. tone of conversations change, but there is a desire like a rocket in the bum that eggs one to do more, be more, try more, share more.. live more

The fastest slow race to leave a mark

As i enter the 30's the one thing that is change, is that unlike the 20s where the canvas of life changed every 2 years, new people came, old people left, the ties were so organic that they changed rapidly .. now something are more constant. and the rest less important

the unknows are there, as many as uncertain but what does change is the fact that you are more sure of yourself.

hope so