# the comeback post

Wow, I touched this cyber space after eons! Went through some of my old posts, the ones written in the day when I held a certain reluctance towards fiction and poetry, when I felt a piece of my life’s pie was an essential ingredient to my writing. It is interesting while reading some of the posts, how one grows, pushes the limits and walks out in the unknown. How the experience becomes a defining line on one’s forehead, a punctuation in one’s sentences and makes all the difference.

Writing is powerful. Good writing is abundant but great writing is rare. So, I’ll keep coming here to see if I can write something worthwhile. Something meaningful otherwise nothing, because there is already too much noise out on the street.

# Only coincidences!

One of these days, I recall learning the boring facts about rational numbers, natural numbers, progressions – the infinite list of things built on 0-9! A silly theorem pops up  – why don’t I observe and see if day-to-day life events are tied to a simple, numeric progression from zero to nine? My contribution will be an ounce of mindfulness and an ability to derive a correlation. The outcome will be to locate any order in a random, zigzag day.

Zilch – My son arrives from school and declares that he could not convince even a single friend to watch “Life of Pi”. Some were interested hoping that Pi had a fascinating correspondence with mathematics but my enlightened kid removed every bit of excitement, spilling the beans that the movie isn’t about math; it isn’t about the Bengal tiger or the young, adventurous Indian boy but it is about meaning of life – a grownup concept that he and his buddies aren’t equipped to understand since they are all eleven. However his sole intention was to impress them with his mature understanding and  not to diffuse their enthusiasm. Well, there you go, I tell him – that is what meaning of life is. Btw, I continue – it was about believing in God and experiences of life. Same thing, my boy shrugs and goes back to his Wii game.

Uno – My doorbell rings once and it is the UPS guy. Usually, he rings the bell a couple of times to get our attention. Today, he only does it once – perhaps he knows about my nonsense experiment.

Dō – I am expecting a single package but two are awaiting my gracious presence outside. The second one has arrived early. I raise my eyebrows.

Trois – I go back online to work, instead, I end up checking my daughter’s scores – a few subjects are updated with near perfect scores. Delighted, a minute later, I realize the number of new score equals three  – 3 smiles at me with cupid lips.

Cztery – A crisp afternoon deserves a good cup of tea. However, the gas stove objects to my desire right away. There is some water around the burner but I don’t notice it until on the fourth attempt, it miraculously lights up and the remaining, shinning drops instantaneously evaporate in the blue heat. A pause rests in time.

Pět – While I am sipping my tea, my daughter asks – I have Spanish homework and I am supposed to find five words describing my personality – confident, charming, caring, cool .. what else?  Gay – my son turns from his Wii game with a monstrous laugh. What nonsense, she retorts. Why don’t you say something to him? She frowns at me before I can respond. I turn towards him with a menacing stare and he innocently counters – I meant happy; look it up – happy is the literal meaning of gay. Well, he meant happy –  use happy – it is the right word.  I pacify her without losing control. You mean gay, he shouts back. Quiet – we scream together and sigh simultaneously. She ends up choosing calm.

ShestʹIf you are done with your homework, let’s watch something on the tube; I suggest: Say yes to the dress but both of them choose Supernatural. I raise my cup of tea and start Netflix. How many episodes are left in this season? I ask my daughter. Six, my son grins at his dexterity before she can answer. I gulp a big sip of tea in response while she taunts – You need to teach him some manners.

Sieben – My son rubs his belly, growing weary of the TV drama – I am starving like never in my life. Well, we eat dinner around seven, seven-thirty, what time is it now? My eyes stay fixated on the TV screen. Seven – my daughter blurts before he does; smiling at her victory. I check the clock – seven pm it is. In the background my son raises his voice – Someone was talking about manners before! Ha! Women!

KahdeksanWhat are we having for dinner? My kids peep into the fridge. I start narrating the choices – roti (indian bread), daal and dry cauliflower sabzi , or we can have paav bhaaji …. Paav Bhaaji – my son declares right away – I am really starvingHunger changes everything you thought you knew about yourself – he repeats the dialogue from “Life of Pi” – I am changing – feed me to stop changing. Enough – I interrupt him; let me see if we have enough rolls. I spot a single and a half packet of Indian rolls in the refrigerator. Of course, there are eight rolls in all – sufficient for both of them. I smack my lips at this small detail as the butter moves like a freaky cube on the hot skillet.

Jiǔ – Kids get ready to sleep. I feel exhausted after watching three back to back episodes of Supernatural – plenty of gore, vampires and evil spirits for one human evening to handle. Sleep sounds like a perfect angel that I need now. Before I call it a day, I peep into my inbox – nine new e-mails! The ninth email turns out to be a short, loving note from my husband who has been away on a business travel. He mentions that he’d be able to catch an earlier flight. I grin wide forgetting about the numbers, the progressions and everything else I have been trying to make sense of using my stupid theory.

As I stretch next to my son, he rubs his eyes – anything interesting happening? I don’t know, I whisper. I was thinking about …. I stop midway. What – say quickly, I am almost falling asleep; he complains and yawns. I pause momentarily  – you know, the number system and the correlation of its sequence to our routine – what do you think? I turn towards him and run my fingers through his hair. A soft snore comes back as a reply. Right, I  say under my breath and close my eyes. The tenth day of the eleventh month of the twelfth year in this century comes to an end.

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On a not so different note, this is the 100th post (exactly 1000 words) on my blog – nothing random or coincidental here – just an outcome of some plain, ol’ imagination, online thesaurus and a bit of sweat after punching keys for about two and a half years. A small, definite and predictable landmark. However life continues to be random and my disclaimer about it, always is : A work of art in progress – any resemblance to living or dead; people or events and now numeric progression is purely coincidental.

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Legend( in truly a random order of choice) – Zilch(0) – English; Uno(1) – Spanish/Italian; Dō(2) – Hindi/Urdu; Trois(3) – French; Cztery(4) -Polish; Pět(5) – Czech; Shestʹ(6) – Russian; Sieben(7) – German; Kahdeksan(8) – Finnish; Jiǔ(9) – Mandarin

# Life and sundry..

With all the randomness around, could there be a specific purpose to my life, any life? Why am I here?

Cross legged on the patio sofa , I quiet my tickling nerves and imagine the possibilities. Some sparkling answers explode into fountain of ideas; while others remain as foaming broth – with no heads or tails – bubbling on top of each other.  I give my thoughts a rest and stare up. A few,glittering stars appear as scripts on the giant sapphire of a shaved sky. A full moon giggles, piggybacking on a small cloud, bouncing off its edges now and then. From a distance, this milky sphere reflects everything you’d expect of beauty and perfection though in reality, it is cold, uneven and deprived. The darkness shadows its existence like eyes wearing a  rich mascara flashing the soul with every blink. For a moment, this vision approximates our life span – only a flicker of magic in someone’s eyes ripe with beauty and darkness around it; until the sun comes up as a divine light to catch us as we fall dead and frozen.

It is quiet outside. Sumptuous perfume of wood and spice clears my head. The noise of crickets, soft snoring of grass blades and the statue of Buddha start out as definite lines in space and dissolve in unison – just as my posture is merged with the broad armchair, blending with cushions – making all of us passive spectators of a silent dance in the auditorium of my backyard.

A memory of love stings me as a fading blue light at the end of horizon. The blunt pain travels between the maze of recollections and inks memories stacked one behind another like a slide show. The slow burning, weary bulb in the background throws a circle of light, marking my territory. I have stepped many times outside this line, in darkness, to explore and find out my inner limits but have always returned. It is either love or passion that pushes us further than we wish to go. Life becomes manifold as a result of this profound eccentricity called love, else it stays disturbingly safe and unbearable .

I wonder, if given a chance, I’d change anything about my life? Nothing pops up, not even the limitations of this night. All is good the way it has been, it is and all will be satisfactory ahead. I should just know how to be a spectator when things don’t fill in right and later, pick up fallen pieces to revive. Life will take care of the rest. It always has.

In spite of the lurking ambivalence walking on the mattress of darkness around, the certainty of the present moment tickles me. My existence has been nothing more than a tiny stitch on the fabric of cosmos, but it is there. It has woven up a small web of relationships which has been sufficient. It is a wonder how much value the word sufficient holds in itself in context to a lifetime. That is important – value. I have value and I have nourished value. My purpose, though may not seem much, has been fulfilled in some ways – in producing and protecting value. I believe, that is the summation of our lives and that is all what this night, its lingering,cold moon, the following day, every other day, and everything is all about.

I stare up again. The moon, visible with its scars and mysteries stands tall without a pretentious cloud. It is aware of its presence and value and so am I.

# A reflective dialogue

`Still, reluctant to color your hair?`

Hmm, do they look that bad?  I run my hands through my locks and turn my face several times.

`Well, I see a few stars in the dark night.`

We all need a few stars to find our bearings.  <chuckle>

`You should color them, You'd look younger. I insist.`

Ahem, is looking younger same as looking beautiful?  I raise my eyebrows.

`Not quite, but it helps.`

Why is beauty usually synchronous with youth ?

`There is a reason, why the marketing gurus name their cosmetics - anti aging,     anti wrinkle because youth sells and some how beauty is conceived along.`

Why are we against getting old? Why do we always want to look younger or something we are not until we no longer can? What are we afraid of?  Is it because we love the image of ourselves that first stays in the compliments of others and then only in our memories?  My voice of reason finds its way.

`Old age sucks! Our society associates old age with failing health, handicap,      helplessness, bad odor, dentures, you name it - you will see, you are getting     there.`

Touche’. We want to forget where we are heading but does our body forget? Do our minds overlook this little but significant detail?  One can always ask – do wrinkles ever go away or does the hair color stay forever or is there anything that can halt the biological clock? Or, while trying to cover up, if we miss a profound opportunity – the wonder of growing up; the power of acceptance; the joy of associating with people rather than with their appearances and the wisdom of realizing what life is all about? My eyebrows are virtually knitted in question marks now.

`Umm. that is all poetic dear - But tell me it is no sin to look younger and better or color your hair. Is it?`

I guess, it depends on what restores your confidence in yourself, your being. If it is the shine and color of hair, then so be it – if it is a set of wise eyes with wrinkles all around them, then so be it. The important thing to remember is that illness may or may not come, but old age definitely will. Changes will occur and time will run out but elegance of experience will never go out of style. The best bet is to stay young in spirit and hold a compassionate and genuine attitude. The body will go along as much as it is meant to no matter what you end up doing with it.

`Alright dear, I will get out of your way; lets talk in another year when more     stars will be shinning and who knows, there might be sickle of a moon or two and  you'd want to do something about it. Living a life is very different from claiming what it should be.`

You are right, I may yield to the temptation but I need to remember what awaits me. As long as you remind me what I should be in essence than how I look, we will be in harmony. As long as my reflection from you is moving from outwards to within – from distractions to focus; from noise to meditation, I will be growing in the right direction.

`I will only reflect who you are, not what you wish to be. But, in the end what is inside always reflects outside. So go ahead and grow - grow in leaps and bounds. Good Luck!`

I looked at myself; smiled at the shinning stars and put the curtain back on the mirror.

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One Year later :

The stars have grown and the temptation comes and goes. However, there is no moon and no color yet.

# Goldilocks Moment

I am not known to be a very assertive person and part of it adapts me to regular life without much ado. It isn’t much of optimism as it is conformance. So when the daily prompt on WordPress not too long ago posted about the Goldilocks moment,  I bent my thoughts about what has been the “just right” moment for not too a distinct person such as me? There have been quite many but the one that stands first in the recollection queue is quite recent.

I was in India, sitting with my family and extended family and having dinner. Somewhere in between, I looked up. There was soft laughter,  delicious food and a deep sense of serenity over everyone. I scanned every face as it moved to talk or nod or giggle; beaming in good health, best intentions and a heightened state of companionship – so many at work towards a single goal of having a good, memorable time. I wondered if I had contributed to any of it except being a part of it. We were all to blame for being perfect spectators and perfect players; moving swiftly without breaking the symphony of togetherness. Words will never do justice to explain how I felt  for the next few instants. I sat dumbfounded until it seemed as if time slowed down and though never a believer in God, I, ended up folding my hands in a prayer hoping that this moment blessed us with courage and dignity and the vivid snapshot of now for ever.

Amen.

# Courage under fire

Kasab – one of the terrorists responsible for Mumbai blasts, was executed in Pune, India. For some reason, it reminded me of the documentary, I saw a few months ago while in retreat, at Upaya – a zen center. It is called Beyond right and wrong and had several episodes of people all over the globe, describing their losses to terrorism, wars and riots. It was about their journey finding out who killed their loved ones and ultimately confronting them. These are ordinary people like you and me, caught in crossfire of politics and power conflicts, who had suffered tremendously. Their loss was so great that they chose to do something about it. Like anyone else in their situation, they were angry and hurt beyond repair but they realized that revenge would never give them the closure that they were looking for.

Upon their confrontation, each one made the other person aware of his/her loss and ultimately forgave him. That was not all – they decided to do something about the illness of hatred that had plagued their community so that it did not spread and hurt others. These are citizens of Rwanda,Palestine,Israel… each with a horrifying story to tell.

I don’t think I ‘d have the courage to extinguish the fire of revenge had I lost a child, a family to something as gruesome as this. And in my blindness of anger and hurt of a personal loss, I’d see brutal retaliation as closure. But as a society, is that the right thing to do? Shouldn’t we be compassionate and forgiving so that there is some hope for who are lost and misguided? After all, the Mahatma said himself – an eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.

Almost all of us remain ordinary until we are struck by something bigger than us. It is, however our choice what to do about it, that makes all the difference.

# counting words

Knowledge Speaks, Wisdom Listens.

An average person speaks about 4000-6000 words a day.

The mysterious silence of nature on the other hand, carries an endless authority as it neither announces its intentions, nor pats its back or laments its losses. It strikes and vanishes; it creates and hides for us to witness,admire and sometimes cringe in fear.

I often think of writing posts about events that have left a lasting impression on me. I begin and my fingers freeze – words are lost in translation and I end up saving a draft of  a few sentences or sometimes nothing at all. Best experiences are gifts of transcendence wrapped in silence or a handful of words that amaze us, quiet our being. They change the course of life without noise.

When ever I am surrounded by silence and feel the need to turn on TV or call a friend or even read a book –  I give up the idea for a few minutes. Instead,  I sit outside and listen to the sound of birds, playing children, whistling of the wind against the movement of clouds etc. The quietness and its resonance never fails to amaze me.

They say, fate has awarded us with fixed number of breaths and limited number of words. Amidst  the eternal silence, sound is priceless and words are expensive – they cause actions, reactions, movements and create history. Make them count.

# And happiness is ..

For uncounted years, many of us have asked the question: What is happiness? And while we struggle within the numerous threads of explanation, another series of questions pop up: What is our perception of happiness, rather what do we want it to be?

Sometimes, my kids coming running to me just to hug, plant a kiss and I am happy. Sometimes, I punch in code thinking it should work as I expect it to and after countless attempts, it does and I smile. Out of the blue, I get connected to someone I knew from my childhood – I shake hands with him/her after a gap of two decades –  I am delighted.

I have learnt that if strategy and planning of life is what I want to do, I will lose the sensitivity in the present moment. I cannot postpone happiness, neither I can dissect it,analyze it. I can stay with it when it arrives, bask in and then move on taking it along as far as I can. Each time, it will go further and will become a habit and if it does not, it only means that I am still associating it with things that are bound to change.

The time to be happy is now with what ever is around – overrate it with expectations and poof! happiness is gone! I try to remind myself often – my mundane moments are the foundations of my extra-ordinary moments. Although I slip over and again on the road of what-it-should-be versus what-it-is, I am making progress. And I am happy :)

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
― Groucho Marx

Cheers!

Sometimes theory beats experience – I wish it happened often. Today, I read a Daily Prompt challenge – write a post without three-letter words. I wondered if it could ever be real – conversations without three-letter words? Perhaps those three-letter conjunctions, adverbs have always been superfluous. So, I started writing. Given my severe cynicism, I have reached here – sixty words without using a three-letter word. Will I be able to write a passage respecting this rule? Here we go:

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Departure

I watch your dripping eyes as your fingers travel up mine. Creases of spent years stand as intimate space between us. Some young, some older – others of solid, stable matrimony. I touch your eyebrows – trying to feel sparse, shorter hair embedded in your skin. They have always been light, almost invisible – hence, never my favorite. However, your wrists tell a different story – perfectly bony; unbelievably sexy – a dimension of your body I could never feel enough of.

We stay locked in silence though your tears don’t stop. I scrape every ounce of my strength to speak – nonetheless words remain distant, dangling in oblivion – worried that they might break this sacred moment of unity.

Suddenly time stretches; everything comes to a halt; well, almost. My body feels rigid albeit I feel perfectly cozy. Light pours from every little pore illuminating me as I watch your thoughts – full of me – running helpless until they exit through your eyes. I look ahead as these tears hang midair – suspended, transparent pearls – glowing with a life that we have spent in togetherness of love, loss, despair as well as hope – inseparably tangible by breaths – yours, mine, ours.

Pain feels like a forgiven enemy as I move into a different consciousness – it is hard to tell if I am walking away or being pulled so close that your face blurs just as it becomes clear. My eyes remain open – full of gratitude, watching love impersonated in your being. I simply gaze until stillness envelops me from every sound, touch, sight, feeling…. I float effortlessly where time becomes a full stop; space yields into infinity.

Thud! I wake up with a jolt as if pushed down a tall cliff of another world. A complete darkness surrounds me. Breathless, I search frantically, trying to find your wrists. As a response, a slow sensation of your touch comes along. I smile as your fingers travel up mine, once again. Although, I would never know in which universe I died – my biggest relief is that we were together, there as well. A drop falls over my hand – perhaps a remainder of last dream from your eyes; we both were in. I feel grateful watching time as it starts ticking inside my bedside clock. My breath simply follows. Somewhere behind my eyes, tossing my dreams away, sleep gently takes over.

Sometimes life beats death, though only in dreams. Just as an experience materializes an idea or a theory, it is mortality that makes lives worthwhile. Some other time, this dream will be a reality. However, today, life is on my side.

I am wide awake.

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# the starting point

What gets you going in the morning?

Is it the fresh aroma of coffee poured over by boiling water or tea leaves dispersing their color and sweet sensation across a thin mesh holding them in? Is it the curvature of your back picking up the newspaper tinted with ink of information all over, waiting to seep into you? Or is it a quiet date with nature in your yard when for a moment or many, you forget the list of things to be done? Some of us run, some walk, some work in the garden digging into warm soil, waking up the plants gently with water and love. Some of us snuggle with our kids, spouse for a quick shot of love.

It is amazing to see how our minds, after a night’s sleep – look forward to something special before the chores takes over. I believe, this little morning ritual is a sacred chant for our bodies to align with our mind for the rest of the day. It is important to let it revitalize us for it is one thing that we solemnly do for ourselves.

Have a good day!