What next?

What are you planning to do next? Where are you planning to go next? Which school for your boys? Now that you are finally settled, have you invested somewhere? How are you saving your money?

When are you expecting? When are you getting married? When do you plan to invest? What shall be your specialty subject? Do you plan to complete your residency? Do you plan to pursue residency in foreign land?

What next??????

This has always been a strange perplexing question for me. I am one of those people happily living in the present, and then someone comes and interrupts my calm. It is supposed to be general gentle banter. But it is always bound to come up. It slithers along a convenient conversation and then strikes you in the face. You know it is out there, but every time it is uttered, this question baffles me.

Talk about history, geography, culture, current affairs, emotions, feelings or even plain gossiping! You will find me in my element. Here, I am trying to live one day at a time, enjoying my present, counting my blessings. The most I can plan is for next day and after that. But the questions about an uncertain future, more precisely about my plans for the future has always put me on the back foot.

Why does everyone have such a fascination for the future. I remember lot of my class fellows, lining up to meet an astrologer or was it a palm reader? at a Rajasthani fair that we all once visited. Some sat there for fun, some pondered seriously. And one big guy got very visibly upset, when a late or null marriage was predicted for him. Understandably so! Now, I hear he is happily married to a beautiful girl.

It starts right in our childhood when affectionate well meaning elders ask us playfully, what we want to become when we grow up? The question becomes a part of our existence as we navigate through our basic secondary subjects with bare minimal understanding and the crippling question nagging us is which field? Is it maths or biology? Is it Medical or Non medical? Do I have an aptitude for science, or literature or art or commerce it is?

While in our so called professional college also, the stream of questions about our future, our choice, our pursuits, our decisions continue unabashed by our indifference. They provoke us constantly and there is nowhere to hide. Shamelessly these questions follow everywhere. Like a shadow lurking in all dark corners.

They derive unseen pleasures in questioning our choices, deriding our journey, pushing their own glorious beliefs and theories on the experiment of our life’s experiences.

Who can explain to them the futility of their actions, when we all know explicitily that in this world and all other dimensions that exist – it is always, has been and will be – Que Sera Sera – whatever will be, will be. The future is not for us to see. Que Sera Sera- what will be, will be.

No, the harbingers of these how, why, when prophesize — destiny is a design for the weak. The strong, the iron willed find their own story to carve in stones, they say. Is that true? I do not know. I have not lived long enough to know.

But I beleive in the universal truth of my inner voice or gut feeling or God or whomever is in there and leading me and guarding me. Protecting me and nourishing me. I believe that faith in this innermost spirit is the most important thing that has played a part in my life till now.

There are no regrets. Even mistakes have been a life’s learning experience. And yes, failures are stepping stone to success. Success might brings arrogance, but failures bring humility. A true voice has its own reasons, better reasons, unknown to us. But faith in that voice is like the giant leap similar to the one which Lord Hanuman had taken once, back in treta yug. Jai Shri Ram.

Not to say, that I do not have resolutions or plans for a better me. I hope to become a better version of me every day. I hope to learn and read about our ancient scriptures. My dream is to learn atleast one form of classical dance. My aim is to imbibe good values and habits in my life. My purpose is to do best that I can everyday.

When will people come to the real questions. The questions which matter. What is the purpose of this life? What are you doing for your environment?have you unravelled the mysteries of the world around you? How close are you to defining your true self? Have you understood the enchanting world of geometry around you? Have you understood the deeper philosophy of 369 magic of Tesla?

Have the questions about what next? ever bothered you. How have you defined your life? What are the real questions that you are working towards. Do tell.

Different dimensions at the dead of night

There are plus sides to being an insomniac. On dark nights, filled with clouds, after a thunder struck evening you can slowly watch the mist engulfing your tiny home. Odd memories and odd dreams mix together to form a strange connotation.

You can hear the crickets and other insects slowly singing into the night. You can feel the slowly rising cold from outside engulfing your inner self. You can see the moonlight sky and stars dancing around whispering their tales of joy and sorrow.

And there, at that time you can feel a different vibrant unfettered you. A new relaxed you, who does not bother about what to cook, how to teach or the other mundane activities. A new you, who is on an altogether different dimension from the day version of you. Your brain becomes an intruiging story teller. Fleeting thoughts, random observations and old feelings come back to haunt you in the dead of the night.

I usually often stay up after my boys have slept. My fundamental purpose remains to take them to the toilet one more time, so that I have less trouble in the later part of my sleep. When my nonstop chatter boxes have dozed off to their dream land, exhausted by their own din, my precious time begins. My time with myself – my me time!

Sometimes I plan the next day, from the comforts of my bed. Some other breezy nights, I cherish this time by spending it with my beloved books. Sometimes, I relive the moments of the day. Some eloquent nights, have been spent gazing the moon, the sky with studded stars. Sometimes, with my headphones in the lull of air conditioning, I finish a series that I had started in the day. And at times, if I am not too lazy, I write.

I write for myself. My words are an echo of my thoughts. I offer to do no poetic justice to them. I am just an amateur with a wild spirit, trying to find solace in the touch of the paper. Words and their silent music rings in my ears. I try to be true to my myself. The mother, daughter, wife, doctor me melts away in the darkness of night. When I sit at my desk, I lovingly embrace the strength and solitude of my pen.

Sometimes, I longingly wait for all the din of the day to disappear so that I can be one with my thoughts. With two toddlers, forever at my feet, it becomes nearly impossible but I try and scribble down some memories along the day, as and when they appear. Most of the times, those pages are marked by innumerable incoherent color pencil sketches and retrieving content from them itself becomes a task!

And sometimes, I just introspect. It is a wonderful feeling to be alone with your thoughts. They can be blissful and merry or frightening and dull depending on their content and your control. You can either let your imagination loose and run amok with ideas or you can rein your thoughts and focus on your meditative spirit.

This time for me has now become a must and an integral part of my existence. How and when do the rest of you write? Please give suggestions and share ideas. πŸ’‘πŸ™

My humorous struggles with humble dough!

Roti, chapati, Naan, tandoori Roti, Parantha, stuffed Paranthas and what not! Most of these items are omnipresent in day to day menu of by and large all Indian kitchens, North India particularly. Growing up, I ate them with relish along side generous servings of sabzi, daal prepared lovingly by Ma.

I regret standing less besides her, in her modest kitchen, to either help her or to learn from her. Now that I stay so far from her, it is impossible for me to fulfill my cravings of Ma ke haath ka khana! Back then, the heat in the kitchen would get to me. I somehow did my bit by preparing salads, or cutting fruits. I would often volunteer to do utensils, but that she still hates when I sneakily do, and would then throw me out.

I had then believed that my mother is an impatient teacher and has a sharp tongue πŸ‘… that was quite piercing to my young tender heart. Rather than teach or dictate her methods, she would only want me to learn by watching her actions. And one slip of mine, would be a reason for my ridicule and rebuttal. Reluctantly, to avoid embarrassing myself I gave up any learnings of home science. In my heart, I blamed my Ma. But in her defense, I was quite clumsy and absent minded growing up. My defense is that I had a lot of studying to do!πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Now, a mother myself I can vouch that no amount of patience is ever enough for a mother to constantly manage her children. We continously swim in deep oceans of abundant patience, perseverance and affection to tide over ever so difficult situations with our sometimes annoying bachas. And being angry is akin to drowning in one’s own agony.

Now , I can understand how impatient and impulsive I was when I look at my first born behaving just the way I did. You can somehow gauge the extent of your craziness in your kids. How we both hate to lose, frustrate easy and love enjoying a good downpour by getting wet! Now, as an adult I have better modulations over my behavior but his behavior is prematurely giving me wrinkles! Just the way my Ma used to complain about her grey hair! Thankfully, she has very little grey hair till late and maybe I will also get lucky that way! πŸ˜‰

Another unrelated but happy anecdote is when I would always fill a glass of water for her to drink during my study break. I still have the same habit. This time for my boys though. And also, my boys do surprise me at times, by being likewise sweet and caring. πŸ™‚

So, back to my abysmal cooking skills. I was really excited when it was time to set up my own tidy modular kitchen. I was inexperienced, but took to this art with gusto! Because eating is my all time favorite passion. And soon cooking all sorts of vegetables and dishes became comforting for me.

Rice was easy to cook with exact measurements and I soon mastered various variations like jeera rice, tomato rice, pulao and the all encompassing biryani.

But the humble dough alluded me. The mess it created become unmanageable. And I hated sticky hands. Sometimes too hard, sometimes too soft, I could never get it quite right! In my desperation, my husband and I bought an atta maker with specific measurements for atta and water, but the mess it made was messier. Cleaning afterwards, became an even arduous task.

Cooking soft thin rotis became a distant dream. Even with dollops of ghee, what I made was barely consumable! Sometimes it would become too hard, or otherwise half cooked. My family suffered in silence. My husband would only encourage and pretend to be in denial.

The only yummy thing I created out of atta/wheat were the various types of bake cakes! 5 minutes cup cake, with lots of chocolate and sugars became my comfort food. Although my variations of so called Italian and Chinese dishes were much sought after, but this local wheat denied me any favors.

To make matters worse, my husband and his side of the family are all ardent roti eaters, if ever there is a term like that. The average folk of Haryana, especially the agrarian class, only need thick fat rotis with either their lassi, ghee, chaatni, pickle or even plain salt. Bajra or Jowar roti, should ideally be called rota for their sheer size and requires mammoth capacity to finish one in one sitting!

Anyways, after years and months of despondency, I carried on with desperate determination and one fine day, I finally forged a bond with this lovely atta. I have understood that the art of pounding dough is a fine wrist work. My wrist fell in love with the rolling and pounding movements and my work gathered pace. It was no longer a chaotic wet slippery mass, alien to me. The mess was sorted. I understood that it needs strength, precision and consistency rather than aimless plundering! It needs love and affection, and not hate and despair.

Cooking soft ballooning rotis needs patience and fine juggling. It is a slow sublime art. Too quick turnaround will harden the surface and too late, will end you with burned tar. So just the right size of roti needs the right time, under the right watch. The delight of a slowly ballooning roti on tawa, the soft properly cooked paranthas give me simple joy that I cannot explain.

I can still not call myself quite the expert. But that has been my tale with the roti. My version of my experiment with the truth.

Making good chappati or rotis is a life’s lesson for me. Just the way you go through a drill, you are pushed and rolled and then a nice soft doughy you is made by God! He puts you in the perfect shape and then waits patiently for you to be done nice and soft. If you hurry incessantly, you become unchewable, uncomfortable with yourself. No amount of ghee/ money or material comfort can make you feel correct. And if you are too lazy, you may get charred. That, my dear friends is the simple philosophy of life.

Simple pleasures of life!

The lock down has bought some silent solace to the otherwise streaming streets. There is a slow unhurried pace of life. We are all spending more time indoors. As a result, the outdoors are healing.

And we are becoming resilient. Just like the way our wildlife is. I have always wondered at the remarkable grit, courage and determination shown by birds around us. The pigeons and crows show astonishing chutzpah. They eat grains on a busy moving street, unperturbed by any activity and fly away just in nick of time. They gain easy access to open verandahs and are amazingly at ease with human habitation.

I feel bad to see crow crane their necks around city dumpsters. I feel sorry to see dwindling natural spaces in bigger cities and towns. As mankind expands and encroaches the precious land for his home, the home of other species are destroyed and depleted exponentially. Our demands and desires increase, neglecting even their basic survival needs. But they continue to gaze at us with stillness in their eyes. Their raw courage gives me hope. It leads me to believe that we can exist together harmoniously, if we take our responsibility seriously.

Corona, cyclones and numerous other calamities have shown us our place, time and again. We must learn our lessons quick. We are not the rulers of this earth, only her meek subjects and we better abide by her rules before it is too late. The lockdown has given us the time to do the much needed introspection, before all is lost.

I was witness to another resolute spirit shown by a common mynah just outside my bedroom window. During a new window AC installation, there happened to be just a tiny little space between the window and the roof over the top, on the outside, hardly a feet or so. This determined mynah took 2-3 days to built her nest. I tried shooing her away, but she did not give up. I kept wondering why she would give up the abundance of trees around, and pick this tiny little corner. But now it makes perfect sense. As a mother, she is doing all to protect her children. This corner is relatively safe from other predators and also provides steady protection from rain. Now, I am happy she chose this space. And I am gratefully enthralled by her sweet melodius chirps all day.

Being locked in, has made me cherish the magic of nature around me. The exuberant gulmohars or the flame of the forests, light up my day and add abundant cheer. The roads carpeted with crushed red flowers, uplift my spirits! And the white champa flowers of Plumeria tree just outside my balcony bestow me with pure peace and tranquility, every time I gaze upon them.

I share an old bond with trees 🌳. In all the houses and cities I have lived, I look for a green gentle giant to guide me. It becomes a patient listener to my silent stories. Be it a mango tree in the backyard some place or a neem tree visible from the small living room balcony. All my homes become more liveable and lively thanks to my giant green friends and their benevolent presence. But only, in this restraining period of lockdown have I truly valued their magical presence. The leaves, the butterflies, the bees and birds are each a beauty to behold!

Also, the magic of moments is marvelous. If we can forget their incomplete homeworks and just enjoy the innocent mischief without any worries, then children are delightful. Time flies and the growing up years and these troubles will soon be over. I believe, these moments cannot be created or captured, but can only be cherished. We can all sleep in extra, cuddle some more and just lazy around the house!

The usual rigorous daily routine that had been unsettled by the pandemic has now become a little settling. The children have somewhat eased into the process of e- learning. More than us, they have built more patience and mastered the art to sit in front of a tiny screen for an hour or two daily for their dose of classes.

I was never a very social person so it is a relief that pressures of social gathering/ party are non existential now. Also the official zoom and Google meet meetings appear a cakewalk with an option to turn off the audio/ video and daydream endlessly.

I cannot deny that I do not miss the old normal. The soft fragrance of bakery, the delectable aroma of coffee houses and delicious pizza toppings with dropping cheese have all become a thing of past. Cooking paltry meals together is more fun! ( and work afterwards too!)

I do miss the barbecue, I miss the outdoors, miss the schools and miss the thrill of travels, tales and exotic food. But I compensate that somehow by reading more, doing more physical activity, trying my hand at culinary skills and cuddling my loved ones more.

How are you all coping with the lockdown? What are your simple pleasures of life? Do tell.

Gratitude

In times like these, when so little hope remains with gory portrayals and even more grim situations everywhere, there are still some things… actually quite a many precious little things that I am eternally grateful to All Almighty.

Firstly, for a job which I love, where by thou blessings and thou wisdom, I am able to do my bit for the rogi Narayana.

Secondly, for having a sincere and hardworking house hold staff. With them steadfastly managing my household, with uncertain lockdown situations every now and then, I am able to fulfill my responsibility without any remorse.

Thirdly for having adorable kids who understand that they do not have to rush to mommy after she finishes her shift. They obediently give me time and space to bath, change and then greet with masks on!

And lastly I thank God for this beautiful weather that he has created here, in this wonderful mysterious land of his. With the mist engulfing my mountain house and the cool breeze caressing my head, I sit in this tiny little room and count my blessings while looking at the falling white wild flowers beautifully adorning the backyard space.

Tough times do not last, tough people do. I hope and pray that this virus soon becomes a thing of past and we are able to move onto a better peaceful harmonious world in tune with our five basic elements of land, water, air, fire and soul.

Scary times

We live in such frightening times now. The whole set up around us is crumbling and there is just so little one do. This Covid has tested our limits. We have reached zenith of utter exhaustion.

In these times of gloom and despair, it is so difficult to find positivity, hope and happiness. But we cannot quit. We must not quit. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

I don’t know how everyone else is coping with covid but I am determined to take care of myself. Not be too harsh on myself. Not to push my boundaries. To demand rest and sleep timely. It is a luxury when you are a mom and a doctor both! But that is my advantage as well. Let me not get swayed by this thug of a virus! I have understood it and my remedies are ready. Rest and hydration and good and healthy food. And my supplements.

The night, the rain, the solitude…

I admit to have an ardent love affair with rains. And when it rains at night, with the cool breeze caressing the earth, and the distant thunder laughing at intervals, it feels like ecstasy. The littering of lightning that brightens up my window for only a flash second is more than enough for me to take in the breath taking beauty of the splendor of trees.

The sweet lullaby of rains 🌧 calms my mind and soothes my senses. I feel like a child in my mother’s lap!

And yes, I enjoy this elixir most, when I am alone. It is not really a solitude, when I have clouds pouring their heart out to me. I try and be the most attentive audience to these mesmerizing moments!

What is your sweetest memory of the rains? Are you an active participant with the dancing and drenching or just a silent listener like me?

Jai Mata Di

Mother epitomizes everything that is dear to us. Our ancestors worshipped Mother earth and all her creations. All our bountiful rivers are hailed as feminine incarnations and worshipped with reverence like Ma Ganga except the mighty Brahmaputra, the only male river of India.

Mother nature nourishes us with her abundant glory. At times in fury, wreck and devastation also follow.

Mothers are creators, protectors and nurtures of her progeny. She is tender and loving in her love, forgives easy and is fierce when her children are wronged. Let us embrace her love and energy.

Happy Navratri.

Management in marriage

Is there any exact equation for success in a marriage? Does it require micro management and investment? or is it like a free flowing river, sometimes flooding, at times drying out and changing its course at random. Does it have stillness and calmness of the lake or is it like a volcano πŸŒ‹waiting to erupt or disrupt occasionally any time?

Our ancestors have always told us that marriage needs communication, compromises and commitment more than love or passion. Is it true? Yes, I believe so too.

There are so many minor occasions when one is misunderstood or misinterpreted. There are so many days when one is so tired physically but so restless mentally that even sleep alludes the weary eyes.

How can only partner make it so wrong or how can one make it just right again? It takes two to tango! It needs both people agreeing to change, accepting responsibilities or consequences of their actions. It needs time, patience and positive attitude. Yes, love sustains us, helps us and nurtures us. But love sometimes is not enough!

Please share your thoughts and opinions on the same.

Frustrations…

Losing shit when some one fails to commit to their word or actions is my biggest frustration. I still have not mastered the yogic art of forgiveness, ahimsa and tolerance for this punitive crime.

I have little problems with people denying upfront but dilly dallying as a way of work or life is totally unacceptable. I have probably been raised in a way that I find it extremely outrageous to go against my own words. I commit to that and stick to that, even at the cost of my inconvenience. My theory is always, to never inconvenience the other person. On some occasions, when I fall short of some expectations, I express heart felt regret and try and do better.

Maybe the so called etiquettes that are taught in school should be replaced by a moral code of ethics for all, irrespective of whether they are atheists, secular or spiritual, whether they are followers or Santana dharma or not. This compulsory moral code, also a part of yoga is sacrosanct for a good existence. I do not understand how people can remain happy by wilfully neglecting their rightful duties at proper times.

Two things are important here, first and foremost is the intent of the person and the other is the time in which the stipulated work should be done. Work done with contempt or doing anything later after the due date also takes the merit away.

Well it is late at night, and I should cut my rant short and go to to blissful sleep knowing that I have done and will do my duties diligently always and forever.

Chronicles of a harried mother!

Life has come a full circle. What started as reluctance to even wash a single bowl of Maggi has now come to staying up late to wash all dishes, clean all clothes and set the house in order.

Motherhood is precious, they say. I agree, but I will also add that it is formidable, perspiring and at times pain staking piece of work! The cuddles and love are a sweet compensation; but tantrums and howling follow quite often.

This mystical art of being a perfect parent- the right balance of firmness and fondness is hard to master from any help books or advices. For me the middle path is to have essential fun, freedom for all ( most importantly- myself) and keep the basic minimal home environment functioning.

The onslaught of online classes, online tools and craft materials have only made the task more dull and tedious. It is a laborious task for me to attend their small screen classes with full concentration. My boys invariably play hide and seek and ruin my reputation in front of their sincere teachers in a thousand different ways every day!

I seek to salvage the situation by taking them outside to nature’s wondrous school. The easy to access and free learning laboratory of abundant sunshine, β›… clouds, vivid rains, colorful rainbows and mesmerizing creations.

The most important lessons for my boys remain the life sketches and heroic acts of the great heros who walked on this land. History, in my opinion is one of the greatest teachers and a science in itself. Hopefully they will emulate the right seeds of compassion, contentment and conscience in their own sweet time from their environment.

Chronicles of a failed Mother

The women’s day hullabaloo is over. And we have all returned as stronger and rejuvenated to our duties. The cultural program was successful. And that was a happy note.

But it put me on the back side of not having time to teach my elder son for 5-7 days. His class has progressed from ‘at ‘ family to ‘in ‘ and subsequently ‘en’ family. While he has yet not completed his ABCs properly.

The guilt of not sitting with him is annoying me day and night and I am unable to get slightest iota of peace. But I will carry on….

A letter to heaven

Dearest Choto Mama

I know you are watching us from heavens above, sitting, smiling and swinging in a substitute form of your arm chair thing, and making other inhabitants laugh with your sarcastic remarks and dry humor.

We are all torn apart. You left so suddenly. There was no time to say good bye. You were the glue stick holding everything together back home at Agartala. How you managed all that with such sanguine sanity and smile? That was a secret that went with you.

I can still visualize you there. It is just hard to believe that you are no more. You had no health complaints whatsoever. Just once I remember asking you to get some annual lab reports done and you rubbished the entire process! And today all I have is memories. Beautiful memories of you taking us to Rajbari, Maa’er bari and all other parts of Tripura. Wearing colored kurtas with ever smiling eyes and bushy moustache on a round face. And above all, a most pleasing personality. I never saw you lose your temper or raise your voice. And you had the most innovative ingenious ideas for all sorts of situations.

My maternal family is a beautiful bunch of fairly complex, crazy and compassionate people. The head of the family is my gentle Nani who is well above 95 years of age now. She had a pretty hard life. Lost her husband very young and yet she worked hard and gave a decent parenting to all her children. Lost her eldest son, separated from her middle son but was still a smiling loving patreon to the rest of her 3 children, their 3 respective spouses and her 5 grandchildren. She has followed all the right principles for a simple life. And has worshipped her God with such fervor and devotion. She has never said any harsh words to anyone. I guess that alone has given her so much courage to face all the calamities that she has withstood.

My Masi is her second born. A strong willed great courageous lady. She studied hard and worked and looked after and provided for all her younger siblings ( 2 brothers and one sister, my mom). She is still there, looking after her estranged family with one hand and the other stretched out to my Nani, wiping her inconsolable tears. She is shattered inside. You were like her elder son too. A constant moderator of her life, her family. No more will she see you descending from your old scooter giving her a sardonic smile and finishing away her food and munching away her paan.

My mom will always miss her chorda. She cries herself to sleep and will perhaps never again be normal again. Not only her and us, the family, but the whole of Ramnagar lane will miss you and your effervescent adda. You were a Mama to everyone. Ever ready to help. Never turning anyone away. The void that you have left behind was felt in your funeral when large crowds had thronged to get a last glimpse of you, even in these corona scare times.

You were only 63. That is not an age to leave. All our video calls with you in the last year were only focused on the ailing Nani. No one could say that you looked the least bit of sick. You were just the opposite of sick. So pleasant, so joyous, so full of energy. No one could say that you had so much burden on yourself. You stubbornly refused to keep a nurse for Nani and would do all her tasks yourself when she fell bed ridden. You were a patient, loving husband for my Mami, who is herself suffering from long illness. How on earth will she survive now?

You did your duties so well that it is extremely difficult for my little bro to step into your shoes now. No one can fill your space. That space will forver be a vaccum in our hearts. But at the end of the day, he is a part of you. He has that same sort of dry humor and the same caring attitude. But he is still very young. Time sure has been a tough teacher to him. I bet, he will learn fast. Afterall, he has the same brains as you.

I hope that your soul finds sadgati, moksha. You truly deserve to be free from bondages of life and death. All your life, you toiled. With your own efforts and hardwork you created this Ramnagar bari. Now may you find a similar bari in Vaikuntha dham near Prabhu’s holy feet.

Panacea for pandemic in Indian Mythology

I go into Upanishads to ask questions.

Niels Bohr, Nobel prize winning physicist and a founder of Quantum Theory

The entire world is engulfed in a deadly pandemic. The normal way of life no longer exists for most people. The health care and sanitation concept around the globe has been battling with Corona virus for last many months now, with no respite in sight. The doctors, paramedical health care workers, lab technicians, sanitation workers, police staff has been round the clock devoted to their duties. They have been appreciated and acknowledged for their hard work by the society. However, now they have reached zenith of utter exhaustion. Yet, the fight goes on.

But some faulty fault finding practices of some states have rapidly deteriorated the medical conditions and also diminished the morale of the frontline workers. Needless to say, we all need some source of strength, some inspiration to move forward in the direction to fight back and eradicate the Corona Pandemic.

Hari Anant, hari katha ananta,

kahata sunhi bahu bidhi sadhu santa.

God is endless and so are his glorious tales.

Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas

The Ramayana and Mahabharata are not only great mythological epics for us but embodiment of life lessons of the great people who walked on this earth. It is rich with characters that make sense of the humanity and guide every men in their day to day life.

The stories of courage and heroism, leaders and traitors, conquest and defeat does hold relevance in these times of uncertainty too. There are symbolic life lessons for everyone. I will try to explain my point of view with few examples. No doubt, there are plentiful more. The purpose of my writing is to initiate further studies and insight to our historic epics so that the entire mankind can reap benefits.

Lessons from Shri Rama

Lord Shri Ram, also known as Maryada Purushottam Ram stands for truth, duty, honor. He was a prince born and brought up in a palace, but was then compelled to a life of struggle and hardships in forest under exile of 14 years. He withstood it with grace and humility and never ever turned away from his duty. When he returned back, after defeating the King Raavan of Lanka, he was forced to give up his wife Sita to set an example before his subjects.

He eusured that all essential care workers to do their jobs staunchly and righteously. Therefore we must also honor commitment by doing sacrifices, may it be small or big. Almost all doctors, healthcare providers, nursing staff and sanitary workers serving in Covid hospitalsΒ  have to stay away from their beloved family for days together to minimize the risk of contagion. Most of them have endured the risk of dehydration and exhaustion in PPE kits in hot and humid climatic conditions.Β  We must strive to continue in the same zeal and spirit as shown by our Lord Shri Ram.

Lessons from Lakshman Rekha

Lakshman rekha is synonymous with provision for self defence. Self precautions, care and self help are must for combatting this evil. In our over sincere commitment, let us not forget our “Lakshman Rekha”. Let us not compromise in our ethics or our personal safety. There is difference between abruptly reacting to a situation and carefully responding to it. Let us show responsible response with backbone of proper training and correct information. Like our honorable Prime minister has said ” jab tak dawayei nahi, tak tak dhilai nahi” . The universal precautions in place like proper masks, social distancing and PPE are need of the hour.

Lessons from Raavan

Some of our bureaucrats and political mentors have started suffering from the Raavan complex. Raavan was the learned, wise and able king of Lanka. He was intelligent and powerful. He was also pompous and glamorous. Lanka was called ‘sone ki nagri’ ( golden city). But he was defeated by his own arrogance and pride. The mighty Raavn admonished Queen Mandodari and brother Vibhishan for their wise counsel. Finally he was defeated by Shri Ram. So all our administrators must remember this necessary lesson and be cautious of it.

Lessons from Shri Hanuman

Ramayana offers an easy effective solution to this herculean ego crisis. It is a simple effective Hanuman solution. Lord Hanuman was truly noble, wise and powerful of all. He is known as Vayu putra (son of Wind God). He was strong, yet affable. He was a leader, yet he chose voluntary service. He had no demands, despite his huge stature. On the other hand he had a submissive, generous attitude.

This is for all bureaucrats, politicians and public officials and employees in general. A large hearted deliberation and execution of matters is the need of the hour. It should not be crowded by haughty decisions and hasty implementation.

Lessons from Shiva Bhagwan

The ‘Mahadev’ or Shiva, is in one hand worshipped as the God of Destruction, while on the other, he also symbolizes passion, freedom and creativity. Shiva the Yogi, the ascetic, the fierce one was also a great dancer, singer and kind hearted God.

Passion and creativity is the need of the hour now. To innovate, create and build new opportunities. Be it video conferencing or safe contactless sample collection booths to robotic surgeries, the health care and all other essential services must strive for betterment according to changing needs and demands of present times. We must find new solutions to become efficient and sustainable and environment friendly.

Now, during these socially distant depressing times it is of utmost importance to immerse oneself in leisure, meditation and passion.

Lessons from Shri Krishna

Last, but not the least, Krishna in the Bhagwad Gita (Song of God) has prophesied the Karma concept. We must continue to do our karma ( duty) in the right spirit, with selfless intent, without having obsession for the consequences, with proper guidelines and knowledge. Only then can we emerge victorious from this fatal global pandemic and achieve our Dharma.

The universal law of karma dictates that ‘as we sow, we shall reap’. Our actions in present time will reap results in future. Let us all contribute our best, so that eventually true joy, bliss and peace can prevail.

Insomnia is real.

It is 1o’clock at night. And Piyali is tired of turning and tossing around in bed. She has read the newspapers in the adjoining room as well. She is trying to maintain a proper sleep hygiene. And one of the most important things in that is to get away from the sleeping den when wide awake and try to condition your mind by indulging in mindless reading.

Body and mind conditioning. It has become a big part of her life now. She has read all that she could Google. Being a doctor herself she wouldn’t have hesitated to visit a psychiatrist or a sleep clinic, by now, but there are immediate time constraints.

Piyali is a busy doctor by the day and a dedicated mother of two at night. Her children are small and need her most of the time. Her work keeps her excited by the day and the children keep her ecstatic through the evening. But it is the nights she dread.

Piyali would wrap up her day and keep her phone away, beginning at least 2 hours before her bed time. She would brush, comb and do the same for her 4 year old daughter, Navya and 2 year old son, Nipun. She would narrate stories to the elder one and the little one would suck on her nipples and sometimes would also need a lullaby or so. Both of them took some time to put their heightened minds to rest. But Piyali would always enjoy that. It was her greatest satisfaction to put them to sleep in her own arms.

And then her nightmares would begin. Horrors of sleeplessness. Horrors of not being able to sneak away to a land of dreams. Horrors of being stuck in the dismal reality.

She cannot remember the last time she slept soundly. Maybe it was before Navya was born. Or maybe it was before her marriage. Her wonderful love marriage to Neeraj 6 years ago. She wonders. She loves Neeraj and he loves her back. She comforts herself but never has the heart to wake up her lovingly sleeping innocent husband.

She has not slept for a really long time now. But here she is. She is at her maternal home today. It is her younger sister’s marriage. The whole house is brimming with light and energy. And she is feeling just the opposite

Today is different. It her birthday. She is turning 35. Not a single message. Even though Neeraj, had wished her before hitting the bed and her friends would wish her tomorrow. She is quite certain of that, when they read their Facebook reminders.

Her own mother had wished her and had reminded her to not be extra lazy tomorrow. ‘Remember you have to bring the Pandit ji for morning Puja sharp at 8 AM tomorrow.’ This means that she would be leaving the house at 7.00 AM and will have to rise at 6.00 AM to prepare for the same. It is 2.30 AM now. She still has a chance of a good three and half hours of golden sleep if she is able to doze off now.

It is her sister’s wedding and she is here to work. Weddings are all about work anyways. Who has the time to enjoy. Her sister is an immaculate planner, a gifted person and quite successful. She is extremely kind hearted and is lucky to marry the Man of her dreams. Also, she has very considerate in laws.

In laws remind her of how it all started with her own in laws. Very early into her marriage she had sensed their cold distance, their indifferent attitude and their not so subtle thirst for power, money and dominance. Even when Navya was born and she had suffered serious post partum hemorrhage her mil had ridiculed her health. Apparently her back pain was more severe and needed grave attention. The doctor at the hospital had mentioned somatic hysteria to her husband but it was gently overlooked.

Her mother in law is a fitness freak and enthusiast. She takes all the important dietary herbs, supplements and never misses to report any minor condition. For her unlikely stomach upsets, she does a routine Usg. She remembers the name of all the herbal medicines Patanjali by heart.

Piyali loves Navya and Nipun. She loves to play with them. She considers herself very fortunate that she has lots of trusted hands bringing them up. There were Dada Dadi Nana Nani Masi Bua. But now she owed them way too much than she could give. She is tired of listening to never ending taunts of parents. She is tired of being a doormat.

Piyali was a nice keen passionate person till late. She was kind, resourceful and clever. Still on, her skills as a people’s person and team worker were being highly regarded in her professional field, apart from her outstanding work.

But in this personal arena, she had lost her battles early on. When young in marriage, she had rebelled against patriarchal ideas and had never believed in dowry. She had not shied away from presents and gifts to her in laws. But dowry was defunct, for her, at least. Presents, not very extragavant but decent and personal were her style.

But her style had eroded away the perfect dreams of her in laws for their perfect over achieving doctor son. Their dreams of having a nice fair girl, delivering on all the fronts. Bringing customary dowry, doing all the household chores and faithfully abiding by her every duty.

Piyali knows, that she is not a great champion performer of household chores. At the most, she is decent but still lacking. They have never complained openly or treated her with harsh words or physical injustice. But their silent brooding over the loss of capable rishtas for their golden son has never ceased.

Piyali does not know how much longer she can endure. She has entered one more year of her life with never ending anxieties. She wonders if it is easier to end it all rather than drive this obese useless junk body of hers through more years. More years of no sleep, more years of no rest.

She looks longingly at the balcony of her 7 storey building. But the thought of Navya and Nipun, her lifelines, her responsibilities braces her to brave through her treacherous nights again.

She loves Neeraj too and wants the same sort of compassion for his parents. Neeraj has been a very wonderful kind son to her own parents, who love him a lot. But she is unable to reciprocate this to his parents. Their indifferent solemn sullen behavior remains so, even if she tries a hundred different ways to navigate. She has given up.

She looks at the clock once again through the magnificent dim light that has now entered the room. The Sun has risen, with yet another joyous day. It is 5.30 AM now. She heads for the bed to lie down still for atleast thirty to forty minutes before her day begins again.

P.S. Insomnia is real and extremely troublesome; especially for those with any physical, social or emotional distress. With the advent of enormous social media, the problem has only escalated.

Cry out loud, seek help. The lack of sleep can wreck a chemical havoc in the body’s neurotransmitters. Ignoring it has catastrophic consequences. Let us all pledge to fight away the demons of darkness and help all.

For the night is dark and full of terrors. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰ from Game of Thrones.

The only solution

One of my fondest memories of childhood is our annual visits to my pishi’s bari (home) in New Delhi. My pishi (bua, father’s sister) was a very steadfast Sai Baba devotee. There were numerous life like portraits of Baba at her home. She also had a very nice sculpture of him in the puja (worship) room. She would spend hours bathing, feeding, singing, worshiping her beloved God and we children would lovingly play around.

My dad would read numerous stories to us from the large number of books that my pishi kept. The one that I faintly remember is that about a very devout man who very fondly invited the mystic baba to his home for lunch. The baba promised his presence. The man with his humble means prepared the finest feast that he could manage and waited eagerly for his God to arrive. At the allotted time, a very hungry dog came and sat nearby. The man waited and waited but there was no sign of Sai baba. The dog meanwhile was trying to get a sniff of the food. The man got extremely furious and thrashed the poor animal with impunity.

When the next day, the man went to Sai to express his displeasure, he was surprised to see the holy baba all bruised and battered. The baba told him that it was He who had come in the disguise of the dog yesterday and the devotee had behaved so unjustly with him. The man understood the most important lesson – there is divinity and presence of God in all his creatures. We must serve and respect the Gods in all living beings.

This story is of so much significance now. What happened to that elephant in Kerala is abhorrent cruelty and nothing else. How she withstood it all, waiting for her agonizingly slow and painful death, standing and drowning her pain in the river waters has put the entire humanity to shame.

The elephant immersing her trunk and mouth in Velliyar river after some scoundrels gave her a pineapple filled with explosives which burst in her mouth.

The elephant is one of the most empathetic and auspicious animals. For hindus and many other religions, elephant is a symbol of wisdom, serenity and good fortune like God Ganesha himself.

Not only elephants, all the animals including the carnivore species are true to their basic nature and never deviate from that. Except us, humans. We do not hesitate even once before turning against Mother nature.

Compassion is the keen awareness of interdependence of all things.

Thomas Merton

Science has taught us that this circle of life, this structure of food chain is a necessity for the harmony of Earth and its resources. I have read Jim Corbett’s books extensively and he had stressed upon the man animal conflict situation even a century ago.

The man eaters of Kumaon were not man eaters by choice but due to the reasons of a hunt gone wrong and the tiger have been left half wounded by gun shot wounds. The tiger under those unfortunate circumstances had no other choice but to attack the weaker prey in his area. And of course Jim Corbet then had no other choice but to kill the Man eater. But he still, did it with compassion.

Compassion is at heart of every little thing we do. It is the dearest quality we possess. We must not let go of it. Yet all too often we cast it aside with consequences to tragic to even speak of. To lose our compassion, is to lose what is to be human.

Killing of innocent animals for the purpose of fun or putting them in suffering is a devilish act and cannot be pardoned. A couple of days ago, few disturbing videos of cats and dogs were doing the rounds on tik tok. How can anyone presume it to be fun? It is an extremely perturbing scenario.

Not very long ago, my own little boys were fascinated to see frogs in their own front yard. Inspired by some other kids in the neighborhood, they started catching the frogs and putting them in buckets. When their father told them that they might be hurting the tiny creatures and that the frogs need to be with their own mommies, my boys gave it up instantaneously and also begged the other boys to do so.

My boys on being taught by us are sensitive towards the birds, the animals and their water and food needs. It is not very difficult even with meager resources to put out water and food for strays. I know a lot many people who do a lot more than that and I appreciate that.

Compassion is the only solution. It is the need of the hour before our own greed and immorality wipes us out of this earth. And we must act now.

Let us all act on our compassion now, before it is too late.

3H formula for Positivity

It was the best of times ;

it was the worst of times.

It was the age of wisdom;

it was the age of foolishness.

It was the epoch of belief;

it was the epoch of incredulity.

It was the season of light,

it was the season of darkness.

It was the spring of hope,

it was the winter of despair.

Charles Dickens in Tale of Two Cities.

There are so many things wrong with the world today but this post is about finding positivity. I do not wish to digress here.

Today is Nirjala Ekadashi, a very auspicious day for all Hindus. There are many mythological stories concerning this day dating back to Pandavas. Legends state that pure selfless fast kept today, even without consuming a drop of water in this dry hot summer day can serve as a penance and will lead us to Vaikunth Vishnu’s dhaam after death.

It is easy for my generation to envision to fast. We might even enjoy it for weighty purposes. We do not even do half the amounts of physical labour that our ancestors did. Neither do we suffer even remotely from sun’s fury. Our bodies are conditioned to the comforts of air conditioners. But not very long ago, it was a hard tedious task only made easy by repeating God’s sacred name. It required great determination, tremendous will power and self control.

My father used to observe this fast. We were awestruck to watch him attend his office on foot and also go about all his other duties in this hot weather without consuming any liquid all day. We did not even own any cooler back then.

We had other tasks also earmarked for this day. For my humble landlords, it was a day for divine services. The Sikhs and Hindus have traditionally organized chabeels on this day. It is an arrangement where water, sweetened milk (roohafza), tea, snacks and meals (langar) were provided to one and all. The entire community and neighborhood participated in this joyous event either directly by preparing meals or indirectly by monetary sevices

The task set for my friends and me was to distribute the seva to far and beyond. The tents were usually set up adjoining busy roads or market places where all the rickshaw pullers, auto, truck and bus drivers, vendors, labourers as well as any passersby where fed with utmost devotion and duty.

The restrictions around the ongoing pandemic have made such gatherings impossible; but over the last few weeks we have seen similar such examples of duty and benevolence. We have seen zeal of commitment of corona warriors. We have witnessed selfless tasks of kindness from the common man helping the lesser fortunate sections

I also know, that we have seen more than enough of hate, sacrilege and brutality around the world. But this needs to STOP NOW.

Let us all remember what we need to do. The 3H formula given by the greatest saint who lived in soul of India, Swami Vivekananda. We all need, and this is an individual responsibility – Head to think, Heart to feel, Hands to work.

Let us all think rationally, feel sensitively and with empathy and let us all work relentlessly towards the upliftment of our own society with our bare hands.

Let us not shirk from our own duty. This is the paramount need of the hour.

Happy Anniversary to the best folks in the world!

Dear Dad and Mom

Happy anniversary wishes on your 34th marriage anniversary. You guys have braved numerous storms and have also cherished quite a few splendid moments together all these years. And all throughout, your love, patience and respect for each other has only grown exponentially.

Dear Dad, you deserve all the thanks for doing all the hardwork and for being so strict, so punctual and so demanding on both of us. And not only us, your daughters; you have wanted the very best for our fortunate husbands as well!

You pushed us to explore our limits, to expand our horizons and never gave up on us. We never got things easy from you. Starting from an essay writing competition in school to maybe a coaching class of our choice. You eliminated the easy choice. You have commendably raised the bar so high with your own supreme moral and ethical standards. There is no looking back. We are so proud to be your daughters.

And dearest Mum, my favourite. You have been so kind, so devoted, so gentle and loving. You are an epitome of strength, love and understanding. ‘Never to look for anyone’s faults, but to always correct oneself.’ It’s easier to preach, one might say. But you have been a living example of compassion and selflessness.

Both of you are just the right balance for awesome parenting. You guys have sacrificed so much for our sake. Thank you, for setting such an extraordinary example.

From you folks, I have not only learned lasting love, but endless faith, service and devotion. The biggest education of self reliance and utmost faith in God has been the biggest gift that you guys have taught us. And for that and everything, we will always love you.

Thank you so much. Happy Marriage Anniversary once again. I am heartbroken to not be with you people to celebrate this day but I will see you so soon.

My parents with their grand children

This is the time..

This is the time to be courageous, not reckless.

This is the time to be responsible, and not let any misinformation get away.

This is the time to Be sensible and not let your sanity run away (for 21 days atleast).

This is the time to be understanding (of your maids and house helps) and not let any miserly tendencies invade you.

This is the time to go ancient, dig deep and find your hobbies.

This is the time to read books, scriptures and comics and get away from the negativity.

This is the time to form great family attachments and bond over board games.

This is the time to wisely use your limited resources and to lose your extra weight.

At last, this is time for gratitude towards all health workers, sanitation workers and delivery workers.

Happy Navratri and Gudi Padwa. May Goddess Durga give us all strength, energy and wisdom to tide over this apocalypse.

I love me

The winds play with the trees.

The sun hugs the grass.

Me and my soliloquy,

Builds up a intimate trust.

A trust with the moon, the stars, the Sun, the sky.

Who promise to never leave us and always stand by.

The earth invites me to rest my head.

Lay my head down and relax.

Feel my anxieties wiggle away.

And embrace the love.