Category Archives: Mixed Bag

Blissful Louisville evenings and flashback in childhood!!!

Summer of 2016
Summer of 2016

All those people who were born in and before the eighties or up to early nineties would relate with this article.

“The biggest gift” we got while we were young (in age) and in teenage was the lack of technology. To rephrase it in better way would be; lack of modern day applications and especially internet, which paradoxically gave us the opportunity to live in real world, rather than relying on virtual reality.

 

Television had just 2 channels, mind was prepared to be happy with what was available and offered by them. Now, with over 200 channels, it takes hours to recognize how confused we are what we intended to see in first place. Lack of mobile phones and social (or rather anti-social) applications ensured that we were connected to near and dear ones “face to face”. When words like “tag” and “poke” had literal physical meaning. When parents wanted to GPS (track) their kids, which meant “go play safe”, the only tracker was faith, which magically worked, always. “World was safer, back then”.

The most interesting feature was the evening time. The only available & limited time, which felt hours passing by as minutes. This was the most valuable time where all the practical lessons of life were learnt indeed; as if it were the playground of life… Fights, friends, conflicts, emotions – all of it existed together and were resolved at the very same place and same times, often. Neither there was scope, nor need to carry the baggage of redundant emotions while returning back home. Letting GO, was a manageable affair those days, and it came so naturally upon us.

Though the depressing time was the buzzer time, to go home, it was interesting how it existed. Cause we never had mobile phones or pagers and every watch displayed a different time as per the owners convenience which we kids conveniently ignored if left at our own will 🙂 . As ‘evening dawned’ (which can be called as dusk in easier terms) we knew the time to go home is coming nearer. The buzzer time was never really the buzzer but the street light. Yes, street lights. They could never be wrong and later than THE TIME TO GO HOME! It always felt as if they were programmed and managed by some group which must have been the association of parents who were determined to see their kids sad, since it was time to square off the play and go back home. As time went by, and years passed on, liberty to stay out for longer hours came naturally; and time-line kept getting extended. However, still, till date – every dusk, my mind tells me “it’s time to get home” and sometimes it is a good feeling. Because that means there is a home and someone might be waiting back there.

I still remember those long summer evenings, which were also the time of the year when we got the summer break from schools. It was the wonderful time to visit native place and have mangoes. My all time favorite has been the Alphonso mango, as rights called as the king of mangoes. Now that I spent my second consecutive summer in Louisville, the evening here are long and you can see the sun go down at 9:30 PM… WOW what a feeling… The child in me just elates every-time to watch the sun go down so late.. I wish this was the case when I was a kid, but the good thing is the child in me is still alive and loves this experience!!!

AND…sometimes it is worth missing what you think you are really missing!!!

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On a strange journey, where one wouldn’t really expect much of a surprise, I learnt and experienced a fantastic lesson, to be happy. Of course we all know what happiness is and how to be happy, don’t we? But also, the aspect of finding happiness in everything is a great ability indeed, which is an art to master.

The stranger, bus driver of “78X Bluegrass Express” in Louisville, was a remarkable teacher to teach a lesson or two, on how to live life, worth much beyond the trip cost. Though I traveled with him only for few days, not even weeks, I never failed to feel warmth and charisma in his attitude. It would be very difficult to figure out if it was start of his shift or the last trip for the day, such was his enthusiasm. At every stop I saw him welcoming passengers aboard with the same enthusiasm. His welcoming was as loud and positive as though every person standing outside might want to travel in this bus, at least once.

My mind was pondering about a lot of things, especially, since that I took an active break from my financial and corporate job, wherein I had spent 9 years, and they now looked quiet lesser, in terms of when I imagined the age of my bus driver. He must have been easily in his late fifties or so, there was no reason and need for him to be so welcoming and waste his energy, like the other bus drivers. They all knew, every passenger gets in- for his journey and would be out eventually, when his/her destination arrives. With most of my colleagues and sometimes even myself finding it so difficult to carry the burden of being happy with such less time spent at job and with the job. So at first my mind wondered WHY WAS HE SO HAPPY? And What is he so happy about!!!

I would recollect my colleagues and friends, back when I used to work, who were often easily dissatisfied with job, position, travel and incentives, which I never understood or failed to realize. It was a simple concept that you work for salary and for that you have to give your best. Incentives were and should have been the extra bonuses which you win for being extra-ordinary in the results achieved. How could your efforts vary depending on the incentives (including other aspects like position etc) you may earn or earned? AND here, it was this gentleman who was working relentlessly, shouting in enthusiasm often striking a conversation or two with his fellow passengers, giving his best, knowing that irrespective of 5 or 50 (passengers), the outcome (& his income) was fixed.

(It was like, we all know, how it feels when we come across a person who is truly contended in life, their aura speaks for themselves and we enjoy being around them, but they don’t have to necessarily entertain us, for contentment is their personal achievement), But here, I always found him as if it were his motto, not just to be happy but make others happy. And the best part was, it didn’t really matter how many times the passengers may have given him a cold shoulder or felt in similar way for him.

I remember, how many times we throw tantrums and pretend the sky has fallen, when things don’t go right (which may happen often) when our days at work (or other place) are not good. We often fail to show the clear enthusiasm towards work and assignment, which arrives during the last hour of the day. It is always so easy not to be happy and show lack of enthusiasm, I realized, whereas when I traveled both ways after an 8 hours shift with this new teacher of mine, never did it occur that he might have had a rough day or too much of traffic at all. Here my mind was now asking me a different question – HOW COULD HE BE SO HAPPY?!!!

(May be) We have been conditioned in a way to drain off our energy towards the end of day, or just pretend we really had a long hard day at work. We are so used to missing. Missing energy, enthusiasm, attitude, positivity and eventually missing the essence of life. I have heard this so often from people complaining about missing their town, their food, their expectations and their desires.

Well clearly, not realizing that what we all often miss is this moment. So what if, there are hurdles in your daily routine, if you don’t really end up in life where you wanted to be? Is this not success or the ability to be in the moment, and being happy- with yourself and with everyone around is the joy of happiness…. When your dreams are real, you may work for them relentlessly, so is the case with “want to be happy”, you will make everything it takes to make yourself happy, which starts with enjoying every moment in hand, and not just acquiring those materialistic joys and fulfilling your mental desires.

We all have made so many goals and expectations in our life that we fail to give happiness any room in this grand plan or make happiness our real ambition. If only, we knew what we really want in the end, we all would know, what we are craving and missing today – sometimes it is worth missing it. Lets learn to enjoy this moment in hand, it is never too late to learn the joy of happiness.

Shri

August 5th 2016, Louisville

Reality bites…A social experiment – Which had to fail!!!!

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It has been my observation for almost few years (between 4 & 6) wherein I’ve realised that often we have and make several friends, of course over a period of time. I can call this as timestamp activity of our lives. During this period, the person or persons could definitely mean a lot or could be the embedded entity as a passing phase. No rocket science here 🙂

However, not everyone is lucky and have the ability to move on or rather keep moving on. For some, they still find it difficult to accept the diminishing existence of what once used to be an important circle in their life. Times change and so do the priority and interests and the need to have someone nearby. What matters is, can everybody easily forget the entity and timestamp (of their life) when someone meant something (if not everything) to you? Answer is surprisingly – a very very big YES!!

We must have learnt to entomb the past except for acts and emotions which were hurtful; therefore we see more violence today than peace and often by the ones who might have been even not be a witness to the overall violence and hatred around. Well that’s a different subject matter altogether.

I conducted a small experiment of randomly getting in touch with few people or friends who must have been good pals or must have spent a considerable amount of time in the past with me. The results were not at all astonishing. The results just re-enforced that some people, like me, continue to live in coma and have severe inability or deficiency towards “move on man” syndrome. While the social media image still continues to portray the presence of some hundreds of friends (no doubt they are friends and family), the reality remains and reminds you that priorities change, time is only the sweet entity which is made the scapegoat here. As rightly said, one must learn to identify and rectify his mistakes, and, that is called development, I assume. Sometimes, dreams are best when seen while in sleep, remembering them otherwise may not often become hurtful.

A, B, C…. and eventually X, Y and Z, all the phases of life- got over or will eventually will, there will be people who would be the lovely co-passengers during this journey. Some will get quiet close and others might just be acquaintance. For how long should we keep clinging on to the seat of this co passenger? The others have learnt to move on, it is time I must too…

I once knew a person who reminded me the sea!!!

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I used to, during ,my early college years, several times, visit the seashore around Marine lines, In Mumbai, (which I am sure many of us did) and sit there for hours, before boarding the train back.

It was a different phase of life and time period for me and it was the song of the sea breeze which soothed the storming mind. Sitting there on the promenade, a very different life existed on either side – one side (behind and where I was) was noisy with vehicles, vendors, beggars and budding love birds. But that was reality or rather the unavoidable practicality (where we all sat).

The sea envisioned a very different outlook towards life and reality. Filled with life, shallow at the shore (hence approachable) and active with waves  – thereby seeming quiet playful. Yet opposite, as one ventured further inside – farer from the shores; undoubtedly enormous, yet calm, deeper and still, far deep inside.

Even that ”stillness” was momentary and had its own version to tell. As much as it seemed calmer at the surface, it had a life, budding in its own cycle of churning, through its own life stages, only visible to the ones who had the foresight.

Yet, the sea remained the same, playful at shores, still at the surface (as one would go further) yet churning what it had to, in its own depths, wilfully completing the phase of life.

I once met a person who reminded me of this sea. Convivial, pensive, with a zeal towards literature of life – which portrayed life in its own arena. It reminded me of the time, I used to sit by the sea, enjoy the breeze, acknowledge the life on this side where I was and recognize the other which was in front. Congenial and charming, but something beyond that was the true entity of this person, which seemed composed, yet with every act in solace, it had its own life which revealed the other wonderful facets of life.

This interaction was brief; the journey was to be traversed, now, I don’t go back to the sea, life at this end must have found its peace or has drifted far away, only to memoir this piece.

A moment of love, even in a bad person, can give meaning to a life.*

Goa, India, 2013
Goa, India, 2013

Hi World (meaning: the earth, together with all of its countries and peoples); it has been over 3 decades that I have known you, and, we were never too young to be friends during all these days of life.

It was wonderful to connect with old pals and “names” I remembered during the years I grew up. I assume, the joy must be similar for other’s who first took up the social networking sites. Thanks to Orkut and Facebook.

By the time we connected on Facebook, this time, only as acquaintance, we had grown much beyond our school and college days and were now capable of understanding the meaning of our actions and repercussions.

I am sorry, if during this time and tenure, something unfortunate happened about/with life. I now see some people on social networking sites with very different personality than most of my friends and associates. I, like most others, have friends from all religions, some of them in India, and several across the border. None of them seem to have trouble as much as some very few seem to have and is being expressed continuously.

There’s nothing wrong in pointing out what’s incorrect, but to point something unidirectional and with hatred will only, will continue to divide the already divided world today. Whom is it really helping and going to help? “When was the last time the world wasn’t falling apart?”*

While I kept watching most of these posts on FB about how a certain section is discriminating against the others, I actually failed to see them pointing out any silver line and the good things which have actually happened. Additionally, why are we growing so insensitive towards sentiments of another sect? I have resided outside India and have never seen people complaining about not getting meat of a particular animal which would hurt the religious beliefs of the society their. Why shouldn’t the society be mature here to acknowledge the same here then?

This post is not to taunt but I request these persons to take it personally, and evaluate whom are you benefiting by your continuous posts and hatred. Are you really getting those “100” likes for your posts? There is injustice at every corner and region of the world, you can either create awareness or fight, but re-instating your belief and personal thought demeaning the other, is never going to benefit or bring progress. Like non – Muslims’ there are and will be innumerable Muslims who have been affected and devastated by the heat and rage of few. You know it and we all know it. Let’s not propagate which sect is more damaging and devastating. I was trying to counter few of these hatred posts and thought of searching some material towards the same, and surprisingly got over 300 articles within a span of 30 days. I later realized that there’s no maturity and sense in treating a situation with tit for tat. As rightly said, “an eye for an eye; will make the world blind”. On the contrary I also found and though about those wonderful experiences and stories available online which depict and showcase the meaning of peace and harmony to co-exist in the very same society.

What is the point and for how long will we continue to feed the ugly animal inside us, instead of looking out for better and positive outlook for life? As human beings, there can be better means of dealing with problems and issues, only dogs have to bark to communicate. For how long should we get blinded by polarized views of few and change our hearts, instead of betterment of our own society and generations to come?

Interesting story – Please don’t bribe

Yesterday, 29th September it was a routine day with lot of travelling and meetings as usual. Since I used to have driver for my vehicle earlier, I have better temperament towards traffic signals, fortunately. I do not accelerate with seconds closing in or on orange light usually, unlike before.

Interesting incident about yesterday was the fact when a traffic cop assumed I had jumped a signal and approached. Upon being convinced that I actually had not jumped the signal, he tried pointing out towards other issue. While the issue was definitely legitimate, but I am certain majority of vehicle owners must not be aware of the same.

The only awareness I had, was the penalty information for offence which cannot be “exorbitant”. I was asked to pay a fine of Rs. 1000… All I knew was for lack of vehicle reverse etiquettes; I hopefully shouldn’t be fined for Rs. 1000.  All I knew was the fine amount may not be actually Rs. 1000 (and even if it was, I would pay it at the collection office) and that I will not pay cash without valid chalan. That too, after allowing motorists to jump signal on the other side of the road, when it was my turn.

As it turned out, the modest traffic cop wasn’t keen to give me the receipt and I was not ready to pay any amount lesser than Rs. 1000 (without chalan). “Considering this as first time offence, I was absolved by the modest cop and I thanked him gracefully”.

We both knew how and what transaction was expected and there was bound to be disappointment for one of us. Fortunately, it was my turn not to be disappointed this time.

Further (if you have time to read)

I have spent time assisting traffic cops, though for a very brief period of time on certain occasions. Most often, it is indeed the offender who argues and wants to evade the signal, rules and eventually getting the chalan. The first action is denial, then rebellion and then persuasion towards discounting. We often conveniently forget who the offender is but are quick to jump on the conclusion; who’s the corrupt. It is the chasm within which we find others to fill, and blame.

The bond of faith


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Year 2014, a dynamic year in my life, wherein my better half visited USA for long term and I decided to take several path breaking changes in my life.

To start with, decision to be away from spouse itself was a bold decision. Secondly I decided to move to owned apartment which was in an absolute secluded and underdeveloped satellite area. This move also unfortunately ensured distancing from mom & me, and me from myself, unintentionally. But it had its own damage, only to be discovered over a period of time. Soon I realized, being with the same organization is not helping me achieve the goal I intended to achieve, hence I quit the same.

Giving a fresh start or as I call it, a paradigm shift once again to my career path, I had a new beginning. In all these variations and deviations, I could see the alienation from regular course of life activities and everydayness. Friends, family, spouse, inner peace, none of them were at resonance anymore. My irritation was not with the current state, but the inability to find a solution and also what was the real reason behind this entrapment.

Just then, it was one off period, when you’re suddenly active on social site or any particular activity like a sudden rise and fall in the tidal movement. I invariably made some new friends and preferences. I am sure you might be able to relate with it. During this period, I came across a person from social site who incidentally was from the same locality where I lived. As much as I was interested to meet this person and know more with curiosity, little did I know was the big surprise. Enter Daniel, the 1.5 yrs old Rottweiler, the massive ferocious pet this person had. I could not have got a better de-stresser and piece of joy.

Luckily, the age group and interests weren’t not too uncommon and I was able to spend substantial time with this wonderful family of 3 (husband wife and Daniel). There are times you connect with people and become friends due to ideas, need and environment, but for me it was the attraction of Daniel which prompted and ensured regular visits. Over a period of time we became better friends now. It is funny to describe to someone, how I got to know someone on a social networking site just little over a year ago and now we are more than friends, sharing and comfortable sharing every possible activity and secret of our lives.

Those random walks with Daniel, movie plans with husband-wife, meat shopping for Daniel L and jumping in stray ponds with Daniel, activities performed never before, these were my serendipity moments and of course I enjoyed them. Had it not been for Daniel’s unconditional love, had it not been for my short term activeness on social site, had it not been for the positive thoughts shared with the couple, none of this would’ve occurred. Sometimes, these lighter moments help and make noticeable contributions in day to day life.

While rest all matters of inner peace was far from attainment but at-least as of date, I have a direction to work upon. All I have is faith and hope, which I have come to realize how small touch points can contribute and make difference in life. Faith makes it possible. And I surely have a live (Daniel) inspiration to look up to.