I walked the untraveled road

At the crossroads of decision making, I’ve always chosen the untraveled road. Was it my sense of adventure (I am not really a risk taking person), the lack of competition, the lure of the unknown or a longing to be original? I never know. It may be something even more mundane like the thrill of being different. Whatever the reasons for they are unclear even to me, my walk down the path has definitely been new and original.

After a decade, I am glad. Where at first the road seemed lonely, unconstrained and leading towards an abyss, today it seems familiar. My path still doesn’t have the flash, the dazzling lights and traffic of other well chosen ones and few have traveled the path with me, it is now a cozy patch.

But the best part of the journey has when I kept falling down initially. The lonely road does not offer support. In it’s silence there’s a patience. In it’s firmness there’s a challenge. It waited for me to get up, dust myself and walk again. At every fall it also challenged me to stay fully expecting me to run to the other well lain paths.

On  my solitary journey I discovered more about myself, my strengths and weaknesses than my years at college.

A complete awareness of myself – that is the gift of the untraveled road.

Happy Mother’s Day!

A surprise song early in the morning, hugs and kisses, innocent smiles and wonder in the eyes…. what a way to wake up to in the morning! Happy mother’s day mom! My kids shouted, bright and smiling at the first call. That is the general term used in my house for the initial wake up call on weekdays….  from there on it goes to sterner tones, a shout and ultimately begging on my part so that they don’t miss the bus. (I know its Sunday, but we live in Dubai, so its a weekday)

So a smiling wake up song on first call is really a treat today. At breakfast I finally assimilate the fact that today is really my day. What would I want on this day? A quick glance at the newspapers gave me a lot of options. So made my bucket list of what I did not want for mother’s day….

  • A pup, bird, fish….. I already have done my share of feeding, diaper changing and toilet training. Am not planning to go through the rigmarole anymore.

  • Lingerie ….. It’s Mother’s day not valentine’s day…… What are shops thinking putting such things on sale today? Slightly silly imagining  my son pick up a pair of wispy clothing
  • Ill fitting clothes …. Please I gave birth to you, looked after you, have now grown old… dont shatter my fragile self esteem

  • Any kind of household or kitchen equipment…. Don’t remind me of those clothes I am yet to fold, that cake you suddenly decided you wanted, last night before u kissed me Gnite.

So what would I really want?  A bit of time today to be myself. To walk in the morning, to write to my heart’s content and probably curl up in the night after only one bedtime story. But the best part of today I guess will be my thank you to God for giving me a chance to celebrate.

Therapy or Torture?

Blogdosts…. Now I kinda like that name. Its like we are a secret team, conspiring to create the next best whatever. Today was a shopping weekend. Needed to buy a lot of unrelated, unrequired things. Of course you may ask why buy the not required? But that’s my next hobby. Buy first and through out the week try to find some use for that impulse purchase. (Read, hubby giving very dirty looks every time confessions of unnecessary purchase surfaces).

So this time I went to the kitchen items aisle and picked up a box of 25 containers. My excuse? It was on a sale. Now I am home, I don’t need 25 extra containers, the ones that I now have are already conspiring against the new arrivals by not giving an inch of a space on the shelves. Poor boxes are still in their packaging. To top it my husband is already expecting some exotic new dish to magically arrive in those containers. How the men link every purchase to a cinematic fantasy is beyond me.

OK its not called shopping nowadays. It’s rechristened Retail Therapy. A cure for my inner conflict of having a pretty constant life and the only change that happens is my occasional change in lipstick color. And don’t I just hate that? Living the NRI life, my weekends also have this call your relatives routine.

And I hate the so-what’s-happening-in-your-life question every time it is asked, sometimes a few hundred times every call. I have tried Hmm nothing much, you tell me, even the sarcastic Oh I’m a boring sort of person routine but the question has become a kind of opening statement. So I am waiting for the fantasy and inspirational anecdotes that I can conjure up.

How does seeing a mysterious looking stone in each of the 25 containers sound?

Howard Roark – a view

There is a perceptible gap between what man is and what he should be. Howard Roark, the supremely talented, individualistic architect of “Fountainhead” epitomises the latter.

“Howard Roark laughed” From this powerfully joyous opening line of an improbable novel, Roark answers the basic questions of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy.  In the words of the author, that probably is the reason behind the novel –“It had to be said: the world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrifice”.

Rand’s Roark embodies the kind of man everyone wants to be but finds it impossible.  He is the perfect antithesis to the popular human species that moulds itself to societal wants. Roark on the other hand is a product of his choices and not a result of his upbringing (we are never introduced to his family), his friends (he didn’t have any), or societal necessities or religious training (Roark never found them important).

He lives on his convictions and his integrity – which he shows to his designs and holds them in more respect than the wealth, fame and success that those designs may bring. But he is not a hypocrite….. A very difficult combination possible only in fictious characters.

The essence of Howard’s life can be understood by his speech at the court: “The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks the parasite copies. The creator produces, the parasite loots. The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature – the parasite’s concern is the conquest of men. The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice. The parasite seeks power, he wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others. That he must think as they think, act as they act, and live is selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own. Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope, or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective. “

Years after this book is written, Howard Roark is still an improbable dream most humans look up to achieving. The good point is many still believe if not achieve, that moral virtue enhances practical success, doesn’t hinder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books, Books, Books

I have been the believer of the magic of languages and its ability to form better relationships ever since my childhood days, trotting along with my dad in his various transfers along the country. And being in a multi-religious, multi-linguistic country like India, where around 33 different languages and 2000 dialects are identified in usage, picking up 5-6 of them did not seem so difficult.

But the importance of languages changed from being just a mode of expression to many things as I grew older. Better friendships in teenage with people who could speak the language. At a time I was the close friend of many groups of people.  My linguistic prowess showed its better features as I grew up and ventured alone in this wide world. A favour here, an easy booking there, people I found out where bound to their languages. Truly language had hidden powers, beyond the squeak of words.

As in the words of Angela Carter, Language is power, life and the instrument of culture, the instrument of domination and liberation.

So three years back when I came to Dubai, the magical land of Middle East, I was thrilled to get a chance to learn the lyrical Arabic. The Arabic language has a lyrical tilt in its words and the script just flows off the pages. A truly artistic language. I was really excited to be able catch the language on the streets so to speak and thus learn it the native way. (I had learnt all my other languages by just being in the city).

But the shock came in a few days of my being in Dubai. The shops, cabs, cleaners, workers, vendors, everyone could speak English, Chinese, Indian and Arabic. I simply didn’t get a chance to learn. So I armed myself with books and an online course to embark this learning experience. But the fun was just not there and Google just about translates everything.  The technology today has made learning something new unnecessary.

As Friedrich Hebbel rightly put in perspective, “ If language had been the creation not of poetry but of logic, we should only have one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers exchanged

 “I want it, I want it now” Sandy screamed at the top of her voice.

“But you already have so many games” her mother tried to calm her.

“No this game is the latest. I want it now. Come let’s go” Sandy was pulling at her mother’s hands. She was a pretty girl with dark brown hair and a dimpled smile. She was also a brilliant student. But she was an impatient child. Whatever she thought she liked, Sandy wanted it immediately.

Her latest tantrum was for the new game on her Xbox 360 Kinect. She didn’t really play with them so much but she liked the idea of owning them.

“OK Sandz, listen up” her aunt Kiran was visiting them. She was a travel journalist and loved new places.

“Here’s the deal” Aunt Kiran went to her backpack and brought out a small packet. They contained small grey seeds.

“These are seeds to a beautiful plant. The flowers look just like roses. Every time there’s a flower, you get one wish. But you need to take care”

Sandy was now interested in this deal. “What will I have to do?”

“Water the plants daily. Be patient and allow it to grow on its own. No tweaking, touching or shouting. Plants are sensitive to sound” Aunt Kiran gave her those seeds.

Sandy planted them in two beautiful pots. She watered them for a few days and then forgot about them. Then one day she wanted a new bag.

“But where is the flower to exchange for the bag?” her mother asked.

“Oh no. My plants.” Sandy ran to see them. Mummy had not let the plants die.

From then on Sandy took great care of her plants. When the first flower came out, she got her bag. For the second she wanted a new doll.

Sandy loved her plants very much and was proud of them. She took good care of them and now had added a few more pots to her collection.

When the next flower bloomed her mother asked, “What do you want this time?”

“Nothing mummy, this garden is prize enough” The beautiful flowers had made Sandy a patient and better person.

Nature is God’s way of teaching us. Have a pet, grow a fish, garden or simply feed the pigeons outside your window. You’ll learn to be a better human.

Vampires, dragons and rakshasas

Cold lips, fire spouting snouts, buffalo horns and loud bellows. Why is the young adult fiction notorious for its blood curling, chilling paranormal villains? Ok thanks to Stephanie Meyer, now they are the heroes too. Is the present teen population this blood thirsty? A glance through any bookstore, library on the young adult category provides an array of ghosts, vampires, dragons or recreated mythological rakshsas. They are the deadly villains that small boys slay, the perfect lover boy that girls don’t find on planet earth, sometimes they are even a reflection of our inner conflict. 

What is so fascinating about their blood shot eyes, poor sleeping habits, huge size and magical habits? I am sure there are some good YA fiction out there that are fun, realistic and earthy. I have read a number of them, but searching for it in a library is like looking for pearls in pig fodder.