Tag Archives: personal

Water under the bridge….

The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to burn and which to cross…

– David Russell

Very often in life there comes this point in life where one is faced with choices. Every day. Some easy, some that make you squirm, some welcome, others drastic and overwhelming, some earth shattering and others that are pleasant and necessary. And then there are these dichotomies that are not really a choice, because there is no question of one in such cases, because one already knows the answer even without having to contemplate. Because it’s not a choice, it is a question of the essence of one’s entity. I should know. I have made a few. Not necessarily easy ones. But life told me later they were most definitely the right ones. Not to say I didn’t commit a few blunders on the way and I am afraid I will continue to make some more before my body lays down to rest in my grave. But then I shall be burnt to ashes- and here I stop rambling and being macabre because that is most definitely another story and besides the point.

So yes, I wonder about choices. Especially in relationships or about them or is that the same thing? And when I say relationships, I beg you to think beyond the only type that pops up in our minds- the ‘romantic love’ types. There are others to talk about beyond that. Not too long ago, I made unconsciously or in stupor a precocious choice that put one of my most precious friendships on the line, of course not a planned oversight. However, cursed with a conscience, pretense wasn’t my resort. I had made a distinct choice between risking it all for honesty or having an untouched uncontaminated and hypocritical paradise filled with uninformed choices. What do you think I chose? I am proud to say that I chose the former instead of folding. And I harbor no regrets for it…. Consequences whatever they came thereafter.

Then there is the curse of hateful relatives which makes you wonder very often about your own lineage, something you can’t shake. One makes a choice between a hostile peace or a clean break which would bring little good. What does one choose? And then I watched a friend (or something more) suffer the pangs of a broken heart. And there arises the argument of the shelf life of a relationship of the romantic variety. Yes there it is, inevitably! When does know when and if it is the time to stop hoping that things will change? Why do these relationships end? How is it that one day someone you were so much in love with suddenly doesn’t fit in your scheme of things- the larger picture? The ambiguity of the larger picture often frustrates the average man. Only human. But then when does one know when it is the time to ‘let go’, whether to make a clean break or not. How does one know what should be salvaged and what ignored and forgotten?

In situations where equations shared were pleasant but circumstantial differences drift you apart, the bridges are harder to burn. Practicality often fails one in the face of this sort of an adversity. But more often than not a clean incision is what is called for and should be executed. In other paradigms, where the equation was not worth saving anyway, it’s swift and easy. And better best forgotten. However, the trouble as it always does comes from within and not the exterior. One can wear a million masks hiding away the vulnerable self-shelled and fortified or so one would like to think. But unfortunately one is lying only to oneself. Stoicism plays its part and a sense of humor to take everything with a pinch of salt helps but the repression of sentiment that needs to be dealt with somehow has the side effect of affecting all future interactions. An open and shut case of once bitten twice doubly shy in all circumstances. The effects may or may not be far reaching…

Coming back to bridges now,(I think I lost the plot somewhere in the middle like I do sometimes) I often think that it is not  about whether you cross a bridge or burn one, but being able to accept and to live with that choice.Predestination and free will-eternal argument. For life has taught me that the sooner we realise that only we hold the keys to our own happiness, the choices will come easy, we will forgive ourselves and others more easily, and be like steady water like the river that flows to inevitably meet the ocean in the end-steadfast and self-assured. Each one of us part of the grand design.

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Strange connections…

The tomb of Feroz Shah on a wintry Sunday afternoon

David Baker, retired Reader in History, St. Stephen’s College, Dad’s professor, Dad’s friend, friend of the family. David has been a constant fixture in the family for like ever since that I can remember. Dad’s old teacher friend, for a long time I hardly understood the connection. Deep friendships that go beyond age, colour, ethnicity amongst other things was an alien concept to me when I was introduced to this extension of the family, who I have finally completely warmed up to- idiosyncrasies et al.
Australian by birth, I often joke that he is more Indian than I am, which I can safely say is true. Well traveled around the expanse of the country and well versed with its history, David has lived here for over 4 decades. He came to the country to study and later stayed on to teach, and life as my father and then the rest of our family would know it was to change forever. For good.
As a child I was just about as curious and excited about his visits as a child can be- because he brought me presents! Like I tell Dad, I don’t think David really knows what to do with human beings below age 17. My childhood whizzed past as I suppose he watched me grow up. Then came the teenage years, where I was only minimally wayward, outspoken and begrudged the old man his controlling ways. I would never see the positive, only the controlling or rather interfering aspect as I saw it then. He watched me struggle through those years into young adulthood, figuring out and coming to terms about who I was.
Memory has a strange way of throwing out random glimpses right out of our subconscious. Between looking forward to his trips and hating and begrudging him his visits- from childhood to teenage, I had subconsciously also picked up memories of his habits- compulsive re-arranging of his toiletries, stationery etc, panicking before every trip, insistence on picking up something for each family member however small, sitting out in the sun on winter mornings attending to his correspondence, nodding off every now and then- fond memories.One thing that remains unchanged is the warmth in his hugs that have consistently been the same all through the years!
Coming to live in the same city as him during my graduation days, I used to find his visits extremely annoying and intrusive and uncool. However, as time passed, adulthood set in and with it several realities at various levels, I realised I had grown to feel an honest affection for the dear old man- who looks a very young 86 mind you! And yes gratitude…
With the return to the city, a job and the real world later, I had grown to appreciate David’s bond with Dad, what it meant and his association with the family through everything. His simplicity with all his annoying little idiosyncrasies was suddenly endearing, amusing and comforting. I realised I had grown to genuinely love his company and actually look forward to it. Suddenly it wasn’t uncool anymore. It was the ‘coolest’ thing actually. To finally have someone who I could talk to, who could and would willingly feed my love for History, who better than a historian himself. We had somehow worked out a system for monthly appointments, which he writes down somewhere and we meet to go visit a place of historical importance. We have seen the Humayun’s Tomb followed by a yummy lunch at Kareem’s. Of course I love our afternoons at the Indian International Center and our walks through the Lodhi Gardens. I look forward to these afternoons as I change my schedule around these appointments – exasperated as I maybe that he still insists on using his cellphone like a land line and is as punctual as clockwork.
Our last visit  to Hauz Khas Village was fruitful and a completely new experience for me as we went exploring the ruins of the architecture around the area. His enthusiasm contagious and his knowledge impressive, it was a wonderful afternoon where I explored the history of the village and ruins like I had never before. And on my way back home after a wonderful afternoon, I realized that somehow unknowingly, somewhere I had forged a deep friendship of my own that didn’t know boundaries of age, colour, ethnicity. David Baker- historian, guide, fellow explorer and friend and yes family…

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The Struggle…

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
–Cyril Connolly

Several drafts later- written, incomplete, saved and others trashed- I gave up on the exercise and accepted humbly that the  previously complacent thought that writing comes to one naturally was the misconception of an unevolved mind . Writing is indeed a very conscious and planned effort- at least writing that makes sense. But I wasn’t prepared to be defeated.

Then a random conversation later with someone about my inability to write, armed with a simple piece of advice- “start writing and see what you come up with”- I sat to type away. However, it was not as seamless and effortless I had imagined the exercise to be. It took several cups of coffee, many short breaks, various distractions I hate to admit it mostly welcome, to pen this one down. Several sittings later, a lot of music, random articles and separate unrelated conversations I sat back determined to finish this piece. The mind sure does have a mind of its own. And there I go diving into randomness yet again. It then struck me that my wish to write and to make some sense was my biggest incentive. My biggest fear intellectual stagnation, this inability to write. What could be a better idea for a blog post and so I write about my struggle to write.

Ideas need to stem from some kind of stimuli, need time to germinate and time is the luxury of the affluent. When one is struggling to make a career, to prove a point, for sustenance, to survive, to pay bills and the kind, for ideas to grow and evolve and also culminate to something that remotely makes sense to an external entity is next to an impossibility. The mind is a funny place. Or should I say entity… I don’t know for sure at the moment. I started the blog in an attempt to pour out my heart and my mind only to find I had nothing or sometimes no time to put something worthwhile. Read a lot, spent nights wondering what to write about, talked to people, regular bloggers, prospective readers asking them what they would like to read about and so on and so forth. But then nothing I had any conviction about materialized. I had become lost on the way somewhere of my true purpose. Sitting down to think, I realized that I had not really thought this through. It seemed harmless enough to start the blog. But then it made me think of the bigger picture, of things around me, making me conscious and aware to my surroundings, hoping for some kind of trigger, a miracle. Every little incident, every conversation I had, every scene that would evoke an emotion, a reaction, I investigated deeper. I was grasping at straws.

My dear wish to write had suddenly heightened all my senses and pushed my already hyperactive brain to the brink of chaos as every sensation comes plummeting in. My urge to write makes me suddenly aware of every thing, so much it runs the risk of becoming a flaw. Often accused of over-thinking every situation if there is any such thing, I realize to develop a writer’s consciousness, apathy has to go out the window, and an honest wish makes one earnest and sensitive without any ulterior intentions.

I have run out of things to say but I have managed to say something and have also arrived at a conclusion that I had not been aware of- I write not for others, not for recognition nor distinction.This struggle is self imposed. I write for myself to set free my thoughts and perceptions. I write for ME… I hope I never lose sight of that again!

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Priorities, priorities, priorities!

All the chaos around me and all I hear is this one word echoed all around me…priorities,prioritize or other derivations of the word. When a word invades one’s private and public worlds, one must sit up and think about the importance and repercussions of it.  What is one’s priority as an individual? Different people, different opinions.

As a fumbling adult,wading through uncharted waters, chasing that elusive word-balance, I realise that the word means different things to different people. Sometimes it is non-existent in certain vocabularies. Balance comes in various forms and yet has one homogeneous meaning- anything that gives one contentment and peace. I watched and learned from the mistakes of the people I have admired in the course of my short but eventful life. However what constitutes this peace that is what are one’s priorities and will inevitably be a variable entity. It just can’t come in a one-size-fits-all format I realize that swiftly but surely.

However the problem arises when one’s inner motivations are clearly and only driven by personal motives. Call me idealistic but I truly believe in the adage- “No man is an island” and I am not being sexist! Lol! Our existence is not and never will be independent of the people who make up our support system- parents, a sibling, an old teacher, a dear friend in a different part of the world, a colleague, your favorite uncle, your shrink… but its always people. The career will come, the raise, that vacation, that dress, the car…but the people if lost are gone forever. Priorities stem and should stem from who or what  makes one happy, and believe me the things that money can buy don’t even make the cut- not personally nor professionally.

But our motivations,our insecurities, our egos make us lose sight of that so quickly. Stepping out into the world puts you in touch with the dirt out there in as people build fortresses around themselves making themselves or rather deluding themselves into being islands. Someone wise once warned me, “The thing with common sense is it is extremely rare” and daily experiences just confirm the statement. The thing with the rational is that it enables stoicism which is often more  sensitive than selfish contrary to popular belief. And people say that they are just being practical when they are being insensitive- lame excuse!

Coming back to priorities, a word so casually used when it would be better off used wisely. The apathy that comes attached is appalling to say the least. But as if poetic justice was being rendered, a blast in Delhi today and then some bigger power just answered back…earthquake in Delhi…All in a day’s work. As is within so it is without..how Gothic! (a reference for my initiated literary friends!):)…Chaos….

A point am trying to make. Priorities are relative, ever changing, ever evolving, and as a word so loosely used…overrated.

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Cogito ergo sum…

A sudden restlessness and the urge to do something new got me exploring this forum despite maintaining another blog that satisfies the poet in me, mind you I harbour no misconceptions about my poetic skills though!(http://www.framedsurrealism.blogspot.com/) People claim to enjoy reading them and often are kind enough to shower some praise my way but that is another story.

I still have my misgivings about what this one is going to be about or whether I will have any takers for the random thoughts whizzing through my hyperactive brain. I usually don’t since they have a tendency to whiz right over people’s heads sometimes and I say that with no intention to flatter myself. The randomness of these thoughts sometimes are subject to absolutely nothing in particular.  The caprice of human nature is such that it is more a struggle to live with oneself than it is for others to put up with it. A certain awareness of the self is essential to keep one’s peace with one’s own unpredictable and volatile nature. This I confidently say from experience that has come with a price of its own.

However having said that, I realise I am in essence a thinker, someone who  is making opinions, sometimes subconsciously if not overtly, not that I am saying it is fair- but judge me not! I realise with creeping certainty, uncomfortably so that human fears know no bounds, my greatest one being stagnation of the mental variety. I exist as an extension of my mental universe- my thoughts. So here goes nothing as I attempt to explore ideas- some mundane, some practical, some inane, some serious, some political and others totally irrelevant. All I can say is true to Descartian spirit- “I think therefore I am.”

Read on for the random musings of a self proclaimed 20-something misfit who sometimes obviously and others discreetly forms opinions of all things rational and the irrelevant…

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