Ikigai

Call it Ikigai (reason for being) or life purpose, I am consciously, subconsciously and unconsciously working on it, finding mine, Path.  ikigai-blog-post2.jpg new

As a blueprint, I am putting together a personal code of conduct, based on my inclinations, intuitions and strongest desires.

BeOn top of my core values I place Spirituality, NOT RELIGION.

Then comes happiness, NOT OVERWHELM.

Affection, not ATTACHMENT.

Commitment, not CONTRACT.

 

Dedication, NOT OBSESSION.

Empathy, NOT CHARITY.

Self realisation, NOT SELF LOVE.

P.S. This is a work in progress. Suggestions and corrections are welcome.

 

Eight stitches

fight_between (1)

‘An open wound’

I dragged a blade of grief along, 

Until it slit a wound for some to flog

I let righteousness rock my boat

Only to be pushed off my shore.

When lie wedded greed to dare

I smashed my urn of worldly care

Restraint, indeed, you are real strong,

Your camaraderie though did me wrong.

  • The above is my amateurish attempt at poetry. I used to do this a long time ago, say 30 years. I never got it right then, not sure I will get it right now. But it is sort of liberating, this first attempt. It is just a few random lines, which may not fit into any definite category. But it’s original, and it’s mine, and I shamelessly own it with all its flaws. 🙂

Remembering my father

images (1)April 12, 2015, close to 10.30 a.m, a nurse knocked the door and told me I was called to the Medical Intensive Care Unit of the Medical College Hospital, where my 84-year-old father was undergoing a really painful course of treatment for his diabetes-induced kidney failure and the resultant multiple organ collapse for seven long days. He had earlier been in and out of hospital for over a month.
When the doctor told me that my father had suffered a cardiac arrest a few minutes ago and was no more, all I said was: “So, he has escaped all that pain?”
Did I weep that moment? No.
I felt shockingly relieved that his “torture” was finally over. “Please ask them not to torture me,” his words – between sleep and wakefulness, amid groans two days before he passed on – had left my heart bleeding ever since. And for two painfully-long days, I tried pleading with doctors not to put any more needles into his red, swollen body, with endless needles and tubes sticking out from every possible spot – if they could not administer painkillers or sedatives alongside. They insisted his weak body could not take painkillers and dialysis was the only course of treatment to keep him alive, so they could try and treat him for the urinary/blood infection he had!
I tried to convince them that if administering pain was all they had to offer in the name of treatment for someone on the verge of death – I knew he would go any day, I believe they did too – it was a pointless direction they were heading. They said that was what they HAD TO medically do! It made me feel so USELESS.
The last time he spoke to me cheerfully was a month and a half ago, when he was unwell, in a hospital bed, but in a better condition. Back then, he had many bad days, but definitely some good days. His face lit up and his arms closed me in as he lay there exhausted and in pain but conscious. His lips spoke clearly and lovingly.
“See, my little daughter is here, my little daughter is here.”
The affection in those words was priceless. It made me realise that he too saw me as I really were. I had never ever grown beyond the five-year old me mentally. Though caught in a 45-plus body, my soul forever remained scared, stranded, lost, as confused as I used to be at the age of about four or five.
Achan (Dad), if you can read this or hear my soul speak, I want to say; I am really truly sorry for the many times I have disappointed you perhaps, disobeyed you, disgraced you. But now you also can see-I hope-I was LOST, each time, every time I did something wrong, inappropriate. I was only trying to fit in initially, then break free, desperate to find myself, feel accepted, loved the way you did love me when I was the tiny girl you walked to the temple YEARS ago.
Please guide me, drop hints in my dreams, maybe we can still communicate, telepathy, some signs, clues, influence my thoughts somehow. I need you to tell me when I am wrong, stop me before I mess up things, people. I still do not know which path to walk, when to stop walking, when to sleep, when to wake up, when to weep and when to laugh. I am still your little girl, I need you, every wakeful moment, and other times.
We will sit down and have a long chat someday, when my time comes to leave this body and meet you, at leisure. Then, I will explain, every wrong thought I ever had, every wrong word I ever uttered and every wrong turn I ever took in my life’s journey. I know you will understand and forgive me, unconditionally, as you always do. Till then, stay close, stay safe, stay happy. Love you achan…

When love is not enough…

Union Minister of India Shashi Tharoor’s wife of three years died a mysterious death, probably an anti-depressant drug overdose two days back. After a fairy tale wedding, where the couple appeared blissfully content and the entire world around them showering love and blessings, what went wrong in their beautiful world? Shashi Tharoor with Sunanda
Okay, we know she had minor health issues, and that she was suffering from anxiety attacks and depression, probably resultant of her illness, but more as an offshoot of being married to a celebrity husband, a desirable man, public figure.
Naturally insecurity hits the wife, especially when the husband entertains female friendships, call it intellectual companionship or emotional anchoring. This is in spite of the wife being extremely desirable and successful. That is how women are made, and some of us are more sensitive to apparent dangers like losing a cherished love life.
After listening to the journalist in question speak disrespectfully about Sunanda the other day, I can only imagine the utter distress she was in when she probably decided to call it quits. Such ambitious, self-centred people can only be home breakers.
SunandaI am most saddened about the fact that her son from another marriage has lost a mother he was surely closer than any other soul in this world. I only hope Tharoor quits politics and women companions for good and take responsibility to be the strongest support to Sunanda’s bereaved son for the rest of his life. That alone will allow her soul to rest in peace. 20140118161927
If he is the gentleman he appears to be and if he has a heart, this he will do. If not, he will never ever be happy or sane; not in this life.

Don’t know why, I am sad, heartbroken. May Almighty give her son Shiv strength to bear the pain, peace to move on and bring loads of love into his life, and soon.

Let Almighty also give Tharoor the wisdom and heart to see the poor child’s pain and loss and realise he is indeed responsible for this tragedy.

Soul mates

images (1)Do soul mates exist?
I believe they do. Image

Couples who are perfectly matched in temperament, who strongly resemble each another in attitudes or beliefs exist.

One may not be married to the soul mate (if it is someone from the opposite gender), when married in haste.
But one will meet one’s soul mate/mates sometime in life, souls that connect with instantly, effortlessly.

What if you are already in a committed relationship by the time you meet your match?
Simple. One don’t necessarily need to have a traditional ‘married’ relationship with the soul mate. One can share a platonic bond with the soul mate, while maintaining the existing committed relationship, provided the partner is taken into confidence, I believe.

So how does one know when the conscience keeper appears suddenly?  Image
One will, in spite of the many obvious differences, feel a strong connection, the heart will burst with joy, and mind will leap out and bond, in spite of many inhibitions. It is something like love, but without necessarily the physical attraction.

Will everyone feel that kind of attachment sometime in life? I think so. At least everyone should. If you are alive, you should somewhere in life meet that special someone. And if you are unattached when you meet that person, nothing like it.

On birds and bees

Winter is here and so are the “seasonal” birds, who, they say, come flying all the way from Siberia (really?, this far!) to enjoy the pleasant weather in Bahrain. Here it’s cold mornings in December and first half of January, mostly.

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Photos by Mandeep Singh

From the first week of December this year, flight of birds were seen hovering over the shimmering bay. I can watch them across the glass window pane, outside my office. So many of them, in small or large groups. At times they sit put on the shallow sea bed even at dawn or dusk! Wonder if they are waiting for the sunrise or taking in the spectacular sunset, rested on the warm sand!

Suddenly they take wing and that moment is awesome, breathtaking. They fly close to the water surface, to the right, or left, sometimes right and left. It’s not an aimless flight. They sweep over the sea, peering into the water, following the school of fish, diving in to fetch a few for lunch. Image

What a life! Casual and spontaneous.

Bees have an interesting life too, sweet actually.What a deliciously purposeful life! Image

Not complaining; as of today, I have an ideal life too, as I reach midway of writing my second book. I am not working on a deadline; I work according to my mood, I enjoy the slow pace.

So am I a bird, or a bee? A bit of both I guess, but more of a bird. 🙂

Rain Burst

Morning Drizzle (Photo: Mandeep Singh)

Morning drizzle (Photo: Mandeep Singh)

It’s a dull day today in Bahrain. After some rain, drizzle by Indian standards, the roads are drying up, except for some odd patches of wetness, like sparingly used blotting paper. Image

Some seemed excited about the fact that “it rained while they were sleeping”, while some others seemed disappointed about the same fact.

Anyway, there is still hope of more rains/showers in the evening, with the dullness hung around as are the dampened spirits.

Rains, even these scanty ones, make me moderately crave for ‘pakodas’ (veggie-fries), but ever since I have turned weight conscious, my gluttony too has thankfully switched to a bake/grill mode.

rain 3 Rains make me want to sleep endlessly, which I can do even without the showers actually. I am a sloth, have always been one, and am proud of it. But rains make it better, curling up under a warm blanket, drifting into sleep watching ‘Iron Chef America’, or ‘Master Chef Australia’, just about when the results are being announced. Somehow it makes me feel empowered, exercising the right to fall asleep just when you don’t have to. It’s like defying logic and taking my own, albeit inconsequential, personal decisions.

It might sound silly, but that’s what I thrive on: silly stuff.

Bucket List No. 1

Retire.

retirement quotes

When do you know you are on the path of retirement?

Probably, when you start reading articles titled ‘Worlds top 20 places to retire’. ist2_729612_island_rest-OneCredit

Whenever I mention retirement, people usually look at me with raised brows, as if I had spoken the unspeakable. Some even try to tell me that I sound pessimistic or depressed; why else would I be thinking of old age and death?

But, hey, when did I talk of death? And no, I am not afraid of dying. Death is the logical end of life, and if it is peaceful and comes when you have met responsibilities reasonably well, nothing like it. It’s rather a welcome change.

Retirement could also mean a new beginning, like being born a second time, living those carefree pre-school days once again. By retirement, I mean retirement from the labour market: from working for others, taking orders, working for money, working for fixed hours, meeting deadlines, basically, not to be hired or fired.

That is pathetic, to lead that life even after the age of fifty.Image

By retirement, I mean working for pleasure, being my own boss and working on my own whim, doing what I want to do at any point in time.

By retirement I also mean living in the moment, being where I want to be, doing what I want to do at any given moment, without worrying about the world’s take on it.

I have been in semi-retirement for a while now, for the past couple of years, earning only enough to meet my needs, working only three to four hours a day, which many find stupid. But I don’t have any wants! So, I don’t see a reason to toil, I mean barter my time for cash I have no use of.

I know I can work for six to seven hours easily, make at least twice the money I do now without any extra effort. But I just don’t want to do it. I don’t mind the money, which I can donate, give away. But I do mind the confines of time that come with making that kind of money. And besides, I hate being submissive, taking orders and pretending to be scared when an incompetent senior tries to blame me for what he (mostly male bosses have been bossy without always any right to be so) thinks are errors. In the past, when this happened, I had always felt a rising anger within me, which I used to suppress to a point when it all rained down as tears, which my tormentors and onlookers mistook for timidity, weakness, and the like. Whenever, I had failed to control my temper in office, I had either quit the job in the spur of the moment, or yelled at the boss to “shut up” resulting in me being sacked!

Okay, I am drifting. Panama-retire

I am ready for retirement. Actually, I have been ready for it the past couple of years. I just am not able to decide where to be for the rest of my life. Ideally, I want to be in one place, from where I can be available for my parents, and where I can do what my heart always wanted to do, give back to the world a slice of the goodness I have received in life from people, including total strangers. I wish to set up a school for the under privileged, run a non-profit organization for rural women and write, books, my books.

But as of now, I need to be sure where I want to spent my sunset years (read 60 plus!).

I also need to allow time for my son to decide where he wants to be for the next 20 years of his life. I definitely want to live near him, with him if he wants me to.

Till that happens, I will be browsing for peaceful places to retire, in India, my country; and elsewhere on earth. I don’t mind Mars too, provided someone would set up an FM radio station that plays Bollywood music 24/7.