A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. ~Oscar Wilde

Archive for the ‘living moments’ Category

Feeling like home

It is beginning to feel a lot like home. Coming back from a day of work, and swerving into the narrow garage with the bumpy road just outside that had brought forth so many frustrated tears during those first few days after moving. The pest control guy has worked his magic and the electrician, handy man and telecommunications guy have all done their bit. It is easy to step into the place with the confidence of long standing residence.

It seems no longer to matter that it is getting dark by the time tired feet clamber up the side entrance. The security key finds its way into its lock and, click, the door opens. The friends have turned up by turn and helped fix little teething problems. The black and blue toe hurts no more, though colleagues gleefully predict that the nail will fall off soon.

The strange hot water system, which needs a little rest between showers, or washing dishes or such like no longer irks. It is just something to which the rhythvan goh bedroom in Arles sepiam of the rest of the day needs to fit in.

The old furniture has mostly been taken away and the new furniture is not here yet. Each earmarked spot seems to be quietly anticipating the advent of the bed, the dining table, the sofa. The things that are around, have settled into their new home. Everything seems to just “go there”.

The plant whose name is a mystery, which rewarded careful attention to it with half a dozen flowers only at the height of summer, has suddenly thrown out half a dozen juicy buds, even though there is a distinct chill in the air. The new geranium has taken three days to bud and flower from its baby stalks. Only the lemon tree seems to miss the hot balcony of yesteryear, and has come crashing down with every bug that can hit a citrus plant. Somehow, even though life is just as busy, there still has been time to nip up to the nursery and bring back an eco friendly pest oil to treat the plant.

The mornings are being greeted with eager anticipation as the sun shines through the camellias, lazy and satisfying, even on a work day. The evenings are relaxed and somehow seem to provide time to watch the cork float even after attending to the chores.

The quiet rustling of the trees and the trilling soft cheep of birds accompanies the drying laundry. The family of bush turkeys who come around every dusk make coming home sweet.

It is peaceful, beautiful, and welcoming. It is home. Home, it seems is not a place, but a feeling.

~Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.~

Footprints on the sky

gogh-clouds

The path to keeping the earth fresh, green and having it not implode into a gooey mass of plastic suffocating wildlife is littered with pitfalls. I arm myself with cleaning vinegar, sodium bicarbonate, lemons, jute scrubs. Okay, not jute scrubs. But I totally would, if they were easily available. I clean my floors cupboard, vanities, shower walls and door knobs. I repeat.

As I put my cleaning vinegar away, I notice that it is in a plastic bottle. I am not entirely sure where the recycled bins get taken to in Sydney, and worry that it may be just dumped somewhere and end up leaching into the ground, mix into the earth, create new hitherto unknown compounds and kill the millions (trillions ?) of very small creatures that live there, change the balance of the soil …….

If it gets taken to a recycling plant and gets re-energised into another lease of life, I worry about the form of energy used, the strong bleaches, cleaners and other ingredients used. I worry that putting all the plastic containers on a ship to a distant land where labour is cheaper defeats the purpose, with the ship guzzling fossil fuels and possibly allowing some (a lot?) to flow into the ocean.

My Sodium bi carbonate is in a paper carton. I worry that it killed trees being made. I worry that even if it is recycled, it will still need to be mixed with new paper. I worry that reducing the cutting down of trees by … now … how much does the poster claim on the wall at work …. 73% (?) is not enough.

I worry that if every one starts using lemons to clean their door knobs and interiors of fridges, we would have to start cutting down virgin forests in order to grow enough lemons.

Such considerations would keep me awake at night if I allowed them to.

I visit the houses of friends and marvel at the sparkling walls, cupboards, bathroom vanities. I come home and realise that in my possibly futile efforts to not step on my Earth or Sky, I have allowed my home to grow shabby. The environmentally friendly cleaners just do not achieve the same sparkle. I rush out to the shops and buy the strongest household bleaches and cleaners I get. I get the home looking cleaner, and then sit back worrying about how much larger I just made the hole in the ozone layer.

Perhaps Abraham (Link to some Abraham videos for those interested in woo-woo) are right, and Nature will always come aright. Does that necessarily mean that we are allowed to cease to care? Am I not a part of Nature, as well?

PS: I reckon Van Gogh’s paintings, reproduced, are copyright free. If not please advise, and I will change the lead picture

Adults: Young and Not So Young

I have recently discovered BookTubers . This YouTuber family is by no means new, it is just that I have arrived late to the party.

Since I came upon BookTubers via my guilty secret (beauty YouTubers), and since a large percentage of beauty YouTubers are in the early twenties age range, all the BookTubers I initially discovered were also similarly aged. Amazingly, or not so amazingly, this group of YouTube enthusiasts seems to review and read Young Adult Fiction overwhelmingly often. Even though not exclusively, it seems to be that much of the Book Reviews, To Be Read videos, Book Hauls etc. I have watched since discovering this genre, has involved Young Adult Fiction, Graphic Novels, etc. I know that Graphic Novel aficionados would all scream in frustration and fall in a heap, because some Graphic Novels are NOT Young Adult Fiction. E.g. “The Arrival”, by Shaun Tan. Oh dear, I have done it again. “The Arrival” is not a Graphic Novel, it is a Picture Book. Both of which are different to Comics. Sigh.

I remember back to my “freshly twenty” age, and the number of girls around me reading “Mills and Boon” or other such similar romances. I was guilty of sneaking a romance or two into my TBR (to be read, in modern parlance), myself. Most of the time, even at that age, my reading was heavily censored by my parents, which meant I read more classics than romances. Many of my friends were also reading Camus, Sartre, etc and making the atmosphere dense with their (surely half baked?) discussions of such thinkers and their work. Maybe they got those authors. I did not, which does not entitle me to cynicism. I did read a book or a half by such philosophers with no understanding whatsoever, but for the most part, satisfied my parents’ wish of my being a “serious” reader with less demanding books. Many of my compatriots at that age, though, were reading much lighter, romantic novels, which today would definitely be classified as YA. So there has been no generational “dumbing down”. People are reading as before, it is just that in today’s world of room to Internet to fame after a fashion, it is easy to get a very skewed view of what is actually happening in the world.

It has also occurred to me that I originally viewed the term Young Adult differently to what it is probably meant to be. I thought Young Adult meant the more “advanced” book for those who are too young to be called adult. The “Twilight” saga having being called YA probably added to this delusion, for I could not imagine that any adult could seriously digest these books. Amazingly, more than a few adults have, and with love. But YA fiction is aimed at those who are young adults. Who would have thought? Right?

Before I turned away from BookTubers and their vlogs, to more “intelligent” pursuits, because it is a very long time since I have been a young adult, I realised, that, Ariel Bissett, BookTuber, crazy, funny, adorable, and twenty years old, has been chosen by the Man Booker Prize people to be a “Man Booker Prize Vlogger”. OMG, right? This is her (along with four other BookTubers) official task: “This year, the Man Booker Prize will be running its own vlog book club, featuring five popular, literary vloggers in the UK and Canada. The ‘Man Booker Vloggers’ will chat about all things Man Booker from long list stage onwards, posting videos discussing the books and authors in contention for this year’s prize”.

What is the Man Booker Prize, other than being a prestigious award that can make an author’s career jump from the doldrums into the firmament? It’s aim is “to increase the reading of quality fiction, and to attract the intelligent, general audience.” I looked through the list of recent years Man Booker Prize winners, and the closest I have come to reading any of them is having the “White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga on the family bookshelf for a couple of years. I have not read it, another family member has. So, it is time I step off my high horse about BookTubers, and embrace them all.

Cute, Mad Ariel 

Very Insightful Rincey Reads       DeathtoStock_Clementine2

Sanne, whose name is as commons in The Netherlands, as Sarah is in the UK.

Only some of my new discoveries.

Photo Credit: http://deathtothestockphoto.com

Translations and trans life

There are some tasks which are so difficult that the mere thought of completing them can paralyse. I don’t know whether the difficulty of this particular task has been built up in my mind to it’s incapacitating proportions, or whether the task is indeed very, very difficult.

For as long as I can remember, it seems from Nursery Rhyme days,  I have been a worshipper of Bengali poet and philosopher, winner of The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, the inimitable, the wizard of words and sorcerer of ideas, Rabindranath Tagore. I have long admired his poetry, even before I began to understand it, because I could recite it end to end without any idea of what the poetry meant. The words knit into each other so well, the rhythm flows so beautifully, that the poems wield themselves into memory easily and effortlessly. As a child I could, as now, recite his poetry, and more often his songs ( I have a flat line voice which does not lend itself to singing) and be lost in the rhythm and the flow paying no particular attention to the meaning. The words fit into each other in a lilting seamless jigsaw puzzle with such precision that if one was to be removed, a substitute is not possible. This is as true of his poetry as of his prose.

This is not to say that the works themselves were superficial or meaningless. In fact much the opposite. Tagore, above all, was a philosopher. His works major and minor, are all artistic philosophy at its best. This is why translating him is such a behemoth task.

It is a great pity, there is no translation of Tagore into English that I have read that brings me to within a hoi of the original. Dare I say it? Even Tagore’s own English translations fall woefully short of the magic his Bengali works invoke. Even the philosophy behind his works gets only partial justice, let alone the raw poetry and imagery of his Bengali words. There are many who do translate his works, and very skilfully so, but …. but….

As a person who can grow emotional over skilful use of words, and as a person who has always admired the power words have in creating images, I have long wanted to translate Tagore’s “Geetabeetan”, his collection of songs. First I had to mature much to even begin to do justice to the philosophy, and I do not believe I have the depth of understanding even now. I also feel that I do not have the power to create that poetry in English.

I feel, that in order to convey the songs of Tagore to a twenty first century world, I need to be able to transcend the century that has passed since his writing, and yet show the timeless beauty of his poetry. Many songs that he wrote seem to be written specifically for today, and yet there is no way I am able to bring this this to the world. I just don’t have the words. Nor the oomph. I have tried.

I often say to myself that if reincarnation is really a thing, I do not want to be born again. But perhaps I should. Perhaps, if I were born again, and I tried more single mindedly, I could actually translate Tagore into English, and pay due tribute to a human who has brought me overwhelming joy. In the meantime, in this life, I can continue to listen, hum, and sway to his songs, feeling their glory in each cell of my body.

What a pity, only some of the very few Bengali readers of this will understand why I am having such a fan girl moment.

In the meantime here are a few translated lines from Tagore’s own pen, for a small taste of the words that reach deep into the soul, the original of which is one of my favourite songs.

The World today is wild with the delirium of hatred,

the conflicts are cruel and unceasing in anguish,

crooked are its paths, tangled its bonds of greed.

All creatures are crying for a new birth of thine,

O Thou of boundless life,

save them, rouse thine eternal voice of hope,

Rabindranath, by himself

Rabindranath, by himself

Let Love’s lotus with its inexhaustible treasure of honey

open its petals in thy light.

O Serene, O Free,

in thine immeasurable mercy and goodness

wipe away all dark stains from the heart of this earth.

Thou giver of immortal gifts

give us the power of renunciation

and claim from us our pride.

In the splendour of a new sunrise of wisdom

let the blind gain their sight

and let life come to the souls that are dead.

O Serene, O Free,

in thine immeasurable mercy and goodness

wipe away all dark stains from the heart of this earth.

Man’s heart is anguished with the fever of unrest,

with the poison of self-seeking,

with a thirst that knows no end.

Countries far and wide flaunt on their foreheads

the blood-red mark of hatred.

Touch them with thy right hand,

make them one in spirit,

bring harmony into their life,

bring rhythm of beauty.

O Serene, O Free,

in thine immeasurable mercy and goodness

wipe away all dark stains from the heart of this earth.

The Golden Girl

I can see her through the kitchen window. She is flying higher and higher on her swing, chubby face split by an endless grin, flying hair bathed in a golden glow. The wind kisses her as she swings daringly higher each time, but her gurgling giggles fail to reach my ears. She has come to visit me, again, as she often does, soundless, and swathed in a golden light. I don’t really know her very well. I think I do, as she is me, at the age of three and a half, give or take. But she is really a phantom of those days, not the whole person that was me. Golden girl 1

I remember those halcyon days, and even later ones as I grew up. Every memory of those days has a warm golden glow to it. That little girl, growing up in that home, is always laughing, always running, with the shiny golden light setting her aglow. I know that my childhood, and youth, as every one else’s had moments of such bliss and moments not quite so blissful. But when I look out of windows, in my moments of peace, that is the girl I see.

This is the reason why, I am guessing, many wish to go back to those days. They wish to hold on to those moments of innocence, laughter and fear free joy. They say, in a voice languishing with memories and myths, “I wish I was a child again, I wish I was that free and innocent child, again, with no worries in the world, living that life, revisiting those events.” Yearning for that fleeting, probably (perish the thought) non existent, moment of perfection.

I look back at this girl with the golden smile, and I feel her freedom, and her carefree existence. I feel the sun again on my skin, and the certainty the world was just the way it should be, with a delicious dinner and a cosy bed at the end of the dreamy day. But does that mean that I wish to go back to those days? I don’t think so.

I think that what I miss is that girl’s outlook on life. Each moment of her existence is swathed in the present. She is playing, and laughing, in the moment. She does not have a care, not only because she is innocent, but because this moment is perfect, as it is. She may have fallen, or been chided for being “naughty”, or been made to drink warm smelly milk, but that is not in this moment. That is past, and the time for learning silly times tables or spellings is not yet, so this moment is free, golden and alight with laughter, and a bouncy sense of peace.

Perhaps that is what I yearn for. This strength to let the past be, and not worry about the future. My tendency to live in the moment survived for years, much later than some others around me. Then one day I realised that this characteristic in me was looked upon by people I respected, as being superficial. A child’s unconcern about the future or the past is loveable innocence, but to take this un-awareness into adulthood shows a lack of self analysis and self-awareness. I must have agreed with this view of life, so I trained myself to worry , and fret, and analyse my mistakes, and generally hold myself in low esteem because I was not perfect. I could never be perfect, so the constancy of my fretfulness was ensured. I trained myself to fret about things I could not change, and remember real and imagined downfalls for years, years and years. I learnt to fret about the future even if it was only 30 minutes away, and to worry that I had been wrong in the past, even if that past was five minutes ago. I learnt never to let go of the past, and never to be in the present. I learnt to try and change things, everything to fit a standard that now seems arbitrary. Since most things are not meant to be changed, I was caught in a constant vortex of mindful frustration.

Years later, even when I learned that those whom I had respected may have had their own imperfections to deal with, and demons to battle, I still continued on my harried and worried way. As a new age of awareness and acceptance slowly emerged and made itself felt worldwide, I began to see the sense of being in the present, though I still beat myself up about the not present at every opportunity. Even as I wised up to the fact that the little girl had probably been wiser than the big girl I now was, I still clung to my over analytic, hyper critical self. I had trained myself only too well.

But that little girl still lingers. She still pops in once in a while, and teaches me, that each moment is an adventure awash in golden light. That is all.

 

Chill. The centenarians are coming

As usual, scientists are excited and baffled, together and separately by the challenges of living longer, healthier.Social scientists, politicians, financial experts seem to be scratching their heads as well. In the interests of happiness, health and having your grandma around for longer, or great grandma around at all, the scientists are searching for the fountain of youth. Others are debating whether that fountain has the answers society needs. Or wants. Like all real life phenomena, the answer is not displayable in any one sequence of thoughts and experiments.

People age at different rates, this is observable evrywhere. We are envious of the person of fifty with the trim taut and terrific body, and the person of seventy with a spring in their step. Yet, at the moment, the perfectly healthy nonagenarian or centenarian is still an oddity. But mythology, as well as scientific understanding of the human body tells us that a bod can continue to be hot till much longer than is the current norm. So the scientists are searching, the naturopaths are extolling and the pressure on society to give up smoking and start running is enormous. Even though these last two pieces of advice do not seem to be backed by non controversial scientific data.

So what do we do? What do the rest of us do, those who do not live our lives out in a lab, those of us who run from fad to latest fad… as touted by Huffington Post, twenty something beauty YouTubers and YogaTubers? We live life as we can. as always.

The life of a yogi is not lived out solely on the mat, and the life of a beauty guru is not lived out solely in front of a vlog camera. There may be a lot we can apply on our skins to achieve the complexion of a twenty year old. There may also be many pretzel shapes that massage our inner organs to health and youth. We can embrace all of these. But perhaps, what works most, is to embrace these, and other ideas, with the chill of a toddler. With the joie de vivre that is so visible in those who have been recorded laughing and giggling at a hundred and twenty, or so.

Perhaps we take a regular moment to read, and watch, and then do what our common sense tells us. After due consideration. Perhaps, we should just keep laughing. Keep loving the best in ourselves. Do what seems right to us, inside of us. That part in there, untouched by others, is perhaps the perfect guide. In doing so, if we do reach to be a hundred and fifty, and be able to enjoy that life, let us share a huge belly laugh. If we are cut short before that magic date (set arbitrarily by me) we can still share a huge belly laugh as we leave.

Let the sands slip through……… Slipping sands

These thoughts inspired by: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/10/what-happens-when-we-all-live-to-100/379338/. A pretty un chill article. But seems to be able to provoke some chill thought.

Let the asana do the work for you

Imbued with the culture of doing, achieving, and pushing past the barrier, we end up on our yoga mats living the “no pain no gain” motto. Yet the mat is the one place where we can begin to learn that gain is not related to pain. Never. Not at all.

Along with the multifold (other) benefits of yoga, a double whammy of a benefit is, that, with regular practice, the asana does the work for you. All we need to do, with regular diligence, is to practice each asana to the point that our body allows us for that moment in time. Regularly, with patience, and correctness of posture. Did I mention diligence?

My early years of learning yoga under stringent circumstances, and long years of training in Indian Classical dancing, led me to an arrogant assumption, that, when I chose to learn again, I would be able to touch my toes. Easy. There. What did I say? I could do it.

Supported uttanasana

A chair does the trick as well.

The triumphant surge in my belly was short lived. My spine had to curve, and my shoulders had to stoop, in the exact ways that my book warned me not to, in my effort to prove to the most important person in the world, me, that I still had it in me. Today, I am not quite sure, what it was that was “in me”. I caught myself mirrored in the French window looking most inflexible and tortured. Red with mortification, and sweaty with humiliation, I turned away from that sight and reached for the blocks. I felt an unfamiliar sense of humility, coupled with a reluctant conviction that B. K. S. Iyengar must have known what he was writing about. I turned the blocks to their longest height, straightened, rooted my feet as evenly as possible, straightened my legs, raised my arms up, … you know the deal. When I then sneaked a look at the book, and back to my reflection, I realised I had to straighten my legs to a ninety degree angle from the floor, and soon I was able to breathe in a regular flow. Over a period of diligent, regular, time, I was able to lower the height of the block.

When I finally found a teacher I could adore, she gently pried the block away, and lo and behold, I was in my first, unsupported Uttanasana, since my childhood. I suddenly realised at that moment, that I had not put in an ounce of extra effort, ever, since that first time. Slowly, gradually, imperceptibly, over time, the muscles, legs, shoulders and spine had learnt to do whatever was necessary. Surely, and confidently, each time I practised, the asana had spoken to my body, and the two together had got my Uttanasana into place. As I proceeded through that lesson, I noticed the progress in each asana I had practised. Here was yoga. Here was a journey!

I am indebted to Yoga Adam for the title.

Image credit: http://dev.drfranklipman.com/uttanasana/

Lunch in the City

dumpling and chopstickI peered at the menu on the wall trying to decipher the different delicacies pictured. The young man in front of me and those further ahead in the queue, all had little paper menus in their hands which they were eagerly perusing and discussing animatedly. I looked around but could not see where they had got the menus from.

I plucked up my nerve, leaned forward a little and asked the young man where he had got his menu from. He turned to me and blazed a smile, “Oh! It’s in the back there, ma’am’, he said pointing. I turned and looked past the queue behind me. There was a little stand with the menu and pens for people to pick up on their way in. Even as I spotted it, ruing my lack of observation, aching back, and general city life illiteracy, I heard YM say, “Alisha! Can you please hand ma’am a menu”? A young lady standing outside the queue right next to the stand handed me the paper she was looking at, “Here, have mine”. YM reached around and plucked a pen out of the box in front of the queue and gave it to me. “Here you go, ma’am”. Another blinding smile accompanied the words. It felt strange, being called ma’am and being helped so fervently. People are generally impersonal in their help, and definitely do not smile at and call dumpy old ignorant women “ma’am” unless they are paid to do so.

“Here’s your coffee, ma’am”

“I can certainly help you with that, ma’am. May I start with your account number”?

YM was now sharing jokes with his lady companion, who was still standing a little distance away. She seemed a little wary of his buoyant spirits. I surreptitiously took in the very pumped arms visible below the sleeve of his tee shirt, the square thin line of beard framing his jaw, the very short, spiky hairdo. He even had a chain on his belt. Definitely a happening young man of today.

The queue moved on. YM placed his order, I observed closely how he put his tray of cutlery together and jumped when he said to the man serving him, “Thank you for your help, sir”. A bit beyond old school, this. He walked away with his tray, to the back with the others waiting for their food to be served and their buzzers to buzz. I stepped up to the counter, put my order in, duly received my buzzer and picked up my cutlery. As I moved back out of the way, I noticed the absence of both YM and Alisha. Surely they had not been served already?

By the time my buzzer had heralded the advent of my meal on the counter, and I had limped over to an empty table with my tray of food and lowered my aching back on to a chair, I was feeling downright irritable. I was not sure that I had received value for money in my food. The noise level in the food court was making my head buzz. The table next to the one I had sat down at had no chairs and a pile of dirty trays and dishes piled up.

“May I join you, ma’am”?. My skin slid along my flesh. YM was standing next to the table, two trays in his hands, big, unabashed lopsided grin sparkling in his face. I surreptitiously put my foot through the handles of my handbag under the table, effectively securing it to my leg. At my nod, he set down the trays, conjured a third chair out of thin air, sat down, and shook his paper napkin and placed it on his lap. “Sorry to barge into your thoughts, ma’am, but it is so crowded here. Post Christmas sales are a killer don’t you think”?

He was going to talk? Where was Alisha? Had she run away because he talked too much? I looked down at his trays. It seemed there was food enough for two there.

I nodded at my noodles, trying to school the responding grin that tugged at the ends of my mouth. He noticed the twitching at the corner of my mouth. Scooping a dexterous dumpling into his own, he smiled hugely at me with all the appearance of someone settling into a cosy chat.

“Alisha’s been shopping like it is going out of fashion – what a cliché!”, he said as soon as he had finished his mouthful. I had responded even before I realised that I had any intention to. “Which one, the phrase “going out of fashion”, or the shopping”?

He jabbed his chopsticks at me.

“Ma’am, you are right. The shopping is a cliché. But… here we are.”

He spread out his arms expansively, one arm reaching out to over the food of the people at the next table, the other over the pile of trays on the other.

Oblivious of the startled glances of the people over whose plates of food his chopsticks were hovering, he said, “I bought shoes I did not need. Two pairs. How about you”?

Cautious again, I mumbled, “ A few things I need”. Take that, you too much disposable income earner, you, I thought sitting in my judge’s seat.

“Mmm. These dumplings are delish. Please have one”.

My heart jumped out of my body and took off. I eyed him as he tilted his basket of dumplings towards me. His offer seemed innocuous. I waited for my heart to slump slowly back into my body, then spoke haltingly.

“No, no that is fine, I can barely finish what I have”.

“My mom loves these dumplings, must remember to take some home for her”. He was texting something on his mobile. He looked up. “They’re not quite the same reheated, though, are they”?

I noticed he had stopped calling me ma’am. I knew what he meant, though. I had eaten dumplings made by this particular chain before, fresh, and reheated. I nodded. He seemed harmless. Overenthusiastic. Unusual. I did not know many young people who would strike up a conversation with someone so much older than themselves, especially if that someone did not offer much encouragement to do so. The muscles around my lungs relaxed a little.

I felt I could take on some conversation. “Where is Alisha”?

He waved the mobile towards the escalators. “They are having a red dot sale for thirty minutes at the cosmetic shop downstairs, so she ran. Her phone kept beeping so all her favourited products must be on offer”!

He grinned. “Alisha is always buying cosmetics. Handbags. Shoes. Whatchemyoucall’ems… Accessories”.

He put down his phone and chopsticks and grabbed his face pulling it into a grotesque expression of mock horror.

“Oh. My. God. Am I in love with my own mother”?

I felt my face relax into a genuine smile. “It’s okay. You are safe. Most women are always buying cosmetics. Handbags. Shoes. Even Whatchemyoucall’ems…”.

He relaxed, gulped down some iced tea and winked at me. “Thanks”.

Alisha would probably be back soon. I started to wrap up my lunch. The table was too small for three and I suddenly felt awkward again, chatting to a complete stranger about mothers, girl friends and Asian food. I had eaten all I wanted, so put the crockery and cutlery together and added my tray to the pile on the next table.

“Are you done”? YM looked up from his phone which had just tick-tocked signifying the arrival of a text.

“Yes, I have more shopping I need to do. … ummmm…. Thanks for your company”.

I stooped to pick up my bags and creaked to a standing position, pain shooting through my lower back again. I wanted to wind things up now, not have an elaborate farewell.

“Maa says ‘Hi, Happy New Year”.

“Huh”? Maa? Who, Maa?

I squinted back it him, revising my earlier soft impression. Mad. Nice, but mad.

“You have no idea who I am, do you”?

“What”? He had an idea of who I am?

“See I did not recognise you, either, at first. As soon as I sat down, I remembered. …” He smiled up at me leaning forward eagerly, as if prompting me to remember him, show some sign of recognition. He did not see any.

“I am Ryna, Mehul’s son”. He said. Did he sound a little disappointed?

I plonked back down on my seat, fully looking at him for the first time. He extended his phone towards me, and Mehul’s face smiled up at me from next to the text. “Really? Say hi, and Happy New Year from me” . He tapped her picture and the enlarged photo was unmistakable.

I looked back at his face in wonder.

“I remember all of you visiting us when I was still in Primary school. Nagma and Naishi.”

He paused looking away to those years. He looked back at me.

“How are they, Nagma and Naishi? They used to be so quiet. They hardly ever come to the festivals these days.”

He chuckled. “ I used to hate them, you know. Every time you visited, Rumu and I would endure days of torture”.

“Why can’t you be more like Nagma and Naishi?”

“Look at Nagma and Naishi! So well behaved. So well mannered. They eat up all their greens”!

He looked down at his dumplings and began toying with one.

“And my personal worst hate from Maa. Should I get Sabi Mashi to come and give you one of her lectures?

Yes. That had been my personal hate, too. All my younger years of raising two children had been haunted by similar taunts. Many had been the times when I had been told tales of how a threat of a visit from me and my unsmiling sternness had made children clean up their rooms, or eat their greens, or get on with their homework. I had forgotten those years.

I looked at Ryna, seeing his spiky, very short hairdo, his smile, his contemporary facial hair styling with more recognition. I remembered how close Mehul and I had been once, going for picnics together, meeting up at each other’s homes and those of other friends. I saw again those years of slowly drifting apart – from Mehul, as well as others, as my solitary nature took over my youthful desire for companionship. Flashes of festivals and large parties shot through in front of my eyes, with a growing Ryna taking the spotlight. Ryna, the Emo with straight black hair down his face, one eye barely peeping through. Ryna, the Goth in black lipstick, and false eyelashes. Ryna with chains coming out of all kinds of piercings on his body. Ryna suddenly turning up at a festival in a tee shirt and a full tattooed arm, setting the community abuzz with speculations of whether did drugs, or peddled them, or both. His arm was clean today save for a small tattoo on his wrist, now. So that had probably been a joke. I could not see any piercings either.

“I don’t hate you now, though”. He leaned forward looking worriedly into my eyes. “ I hope you understand”!

I smiled, reached out and touched his arm. “Of course I do. It has been a very long time.”

He looked relieved. “I often get carried away and say things I ought not to”.

“Oh, no! You did not say anything untoward at all”, I hastened to set him at ease. “I had forgotten the reputation I had during those years. Parents get up to all kinds of tricks in order to raise their children. We were all making things up as we went along. Look at you! Your mother did such a great job of raising you. I am so proud of you! I know she is, as well. We do talk on the few occasions we get to meet.”

“Really”? He looked so wistfully eager.

“Yes. Really.”

I caught a glimpse of Alisha coming up the escalators. I gathered up my things again. “Please congratulate your mother on her handsome and wonderful son, it has been totes adorbs to share lunchtime with you”. He laughed out loud at my use of fangirl terminology.

As I walked to the escalators, I heard Ryna’s voice raised in laughter, ”I swear! I know her! She’s my mum’s friend! I was not being weird at all!” Out of the corner of my eyes I saw Alisha raise her handbag, and take a missed swipe at his impeccably groomed head. I took out my phone and went into my “Daughter’s Dear” What’s App Group. “Guess who I met today”.

Image credit:http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2014/09/09/1227052/652391-89dac820-33df-11e4-a5d1-b77b5e92bd7b.jpg

A Kick in The Pants

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month”. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

A few weeks ago, I realised, that I had not forgotten to take my access card in to work even once in all the time I have been at my current workplace. Of course, the next day, I did forget, or so I thought, to take it in to work. It had actually slipped out of my hand bag under the car seat, but I did not know that until I had gone around all day sheepishly wearing a temporary visitor pass.

Last night, I was on my way to a meet up with some friends, and I thought of how, in the two and a bit years that I have had my beloved VW, I had not put a scratch on it. And sure enough, I scratched it slightly under the left bumper as I tried to park it.

Then, there is the big whammy. After a long time, I nearly lost myself in a huge eruption of anger last week. Only a couple of days after bragging about the beneficial effects of yoga on me, I nearly hit the roof. Bystanders tell me that though I was angry, I did state my case succinctly, and in a level manner, but inside I was boiling. The other person not giving up and trying to continue the fruitless conversation did nothing to help my cause (of maintaining my balance of temper). Since that day I have been rebuking myself for not handling the situation better. Possibly, I am not currently able to sit down, because I did kick myself in the pants a number of times.

Desperately needing to  to calm myself down, as well as continue on my journey, I have been repeating the Ho’oponopono: “I’m sorry. I love you. Please forgive me. Thank you.” After three days of so doing, I am now in a position to accept that I handled the situation very badly to begin with. Had I not had such a strong desire to prove myself right, and hence superior, I would not have said certain things. They were not necessary to say, and hence absolutely necessary not to say. My ego would have moved on very quickly to other things, but having said a number of things that did nothing to better the cause they were said in aid of, and momentarily satisfied my ego, I had to then justify myself when faced with the other person’s very strong reaction. This has then been followed by three days of meditating and berating myself. The meditating has been good, but the berating could have been completely avoided.

I now wish that when I next face this person, which will be very soon, I can maintain my newfound understanding, and behave in a manner worthy of love.

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image credit: http://www.iwallhd.com/wallpaper/1600×900/bright-colorful-water-drop.html

JKR, Notebooks and Cafes

And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss. ~ J. K. Rowling

I admit it. This idea is bliss for me as well. One day, I did do it. I went to a café, ordered a cup of green tea, and wrote. Wrote, and wrote. What I wrote, is still unpublished and unshared. But I wrote so much in those 90 minutes that I was there than I would at home, with the MacBook Air close by, and my phone, the kitchen, the fridge, the full moon rising higher in the sky.

That evening as I waited for a friend who did not turn up, and wrote, I was completely immersed n my story. I was almost glad, in a way that my friend had forgotten about the meet up, and whatever betrayal I felt, was masked by the afterglow of .. what was it…, about 20 pages of scribbled writing.

I was able to shut myself out from the other customers in the café in a manner I would not have been able to, from the children, had I been writing at home. The more I wrote, the further away their chatter receded, and soon I felt like I was in a bubble of light, with the only things that the light fell on were the pen and the notebook, and even I had receded to a place where my thoughts, ideas and pen were a team of their own, distanced from the rest of me.

The other thing I noticed about that experience was that the use of pen and notebook, and leaning over a table, to write was completely different to typing on a computer. One was not necessarily faster or slower than the other, but the age old method of writing with a pen seemed more connected to me, somehow. I have since then (and also because my darling heart JKR does so), written more and more by hand, rather than typing it up on the computer at first go. To me the two are very different, and I think I prefer the old fashioned way. I wonder if the computer bred generations were asked to compare their involvement when using either a notebook and pen, or a computer to write, would feel any kind of affinity to the former? Is it my childhood practise that is influencing my observation? Or, is it as some say, the muscles we use to handwrite connects in a more intimate way to our brain, and ultimately our selves?

For my posts online, I have often written by hand and then edited my work as I have typed them up, and I feel that that has led to a more polished final result. Typing up what has been hand written seems to keep the creative juices flowing in a way, proof reading and editing does not.

Whatever may be the reason behind it, I am keen to try the café experience again. Only, I feel it is a bit pretentious, so even when I have wanted to, I have hung back. I am no J K Rowling after all. But…… maybe I should anyway?
JK-Rowling-in-1998image credit: http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/the-5-craziest-myths-about-jk-rowling/

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