Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The wind in my hair...sand on my feet...song in my heart....love in my soul

I live in a small town, beside the sea. There are plenty of wide open spaces, lot of fresh air and the blue sea, from every vantage point. From the time I was young I’ve always preferred the picnic to the sea than the drive uphill. My dad’s side of the family had this fascination with hills, the chilly winds and plantations. With my mother’s side, it was always the sea. My maternal grandfather even owned a boat and had a house facing the sea. My rather adventurous uncles managed to get themselves a kayak. Those days it was a rare thing. To own a kayak in Kerala. (There was no need for it ofcourse, when we have kettuvallams) But for some reason they thought it was cool. And believe me it was. It’s very different from a kettuvallam. The technique of manoeuvring the boat is a different ball-game totally. Both required different skills, and one was not better than the other. But perhaps more novel because it was ‘foreign’.
Coming back to the romance with the sea, though all of us (my siblings) like to claim that our predominant genes are from our larger-than-life almost legendary paternal grandfather, my enthralment with the waters must be a genetic thing, that i inherited from my maternal strain.
And my absorption with the sea continued to grow as I grew out of adolescence, puberty, teenage, and early youth. My every fantasy had the sea along with it. My every day-dream featured the deep. At fifteen when I was this gawky teenager, with curly short hair, braces and stick like legs, not to mention dark and waif-like, I used to imagine that I would one day become this nymph. I would see myself (the model in the Old Spice ad that used to come on television in the early eighties). I would imagine that it I would look like this suntanned beauty with long straight hair. But even then, I preferred my hair black(the Old Spice model was a blonde) and in my dreams even though I had this awesome figure I still wore my sarong, never cared much for the bikinis. I would emerge from the waters, and slowly walk towards the shore. ...never got to dream further than that...but like I was saying it had the sea in the back ground.
And as I grew older, though I never became the Old Spice model, not even close(my legs changed from sticks to cellulite endowed). My reverie changed drastically. But the sea faithfully remained. I saw myself as this average built person who was happy about how she looked, even though she wore shapeless shorts and absolutely unflattering T-shirt, not bothered about her unwaxed legs, but just happy to be...with the wind in her hair, the sand on her feet, hands stretched out wide. The smile on her face reflected the simple joy of who she has become, and everything she believed in. Happy with life and most of all, always surrounded by this love-that-knows-no-bounds, kind of a feeling. It was picture perfect. This has remained my day dream till date. And the sea still remains in the back ground.
However , I may one day build a house on a cliff-top and have my very own, room-with-a-view. I may grow old to become a grandmother (still with my sarong) who walks the beach barefoot collecting shells with my grandchildren. And I pray that the sea still remains. Azure and blue.
Even if I mange to do all that, it’s the scene from the day dream that continues to fascinate me. It’s my perfect picture postcard. A snapshot frozen in time, of a life well lived and living.... (Sometimes I do feel the person I become when I am here (BlogSpot) is pretty close to what I want to be on the beach on that perfect day. )
Don’t know if it’s merely a fancy, a wishful thinking perhaps maybe even a distant dream. But I have made this promise to myself....the next time I am on the beach....my day dream will become a reality. Even if it means it will take another year, or a few, or maybe even a decade to visit the beach again!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Finding Joshua

It’s the other side of the Red Sea; Moses has his hands raised to the heavens in prayer. With his gaze skyward, he seems lost in this string of undecipherable murmurings. A monotone. The murmuring ends and dollops of air is sucked in only to be followed by the next string. Joshua is standing a step below. He sees the drops of sweat running down Moses’s brow. As he looks at Moses with concern he notices that the tired old man can barely keep his hands raised. It looked as if Moses was pulling some invisible lever in the sky. ‘God must have given him access code to that lever.’ ‘Maybe the code keeps changing every ten seconds and those strange mumbling must be the code.’ ‘He must be saying it aloud so that he doesn’t forget.’ ‘Like how I call out to each of my sheep loudly. So that I don’t forget their names.’ ‘Isfahan, Aaron, Ebola, Tehila.....’ thought Joshua, as he watched Moses intently. His heart went out to the old man. But this is the only way the sea shall part. The people haven’t all reached the right side. ‘Will he be able to hold on till they all get to this side? Is it his raised hands, that’s keeping the sea parted?’ ‘I think it is. And I think he needs help.’
His eyes cringes as the setting sun lets the deep orange rays fall ever so gently on to him. Joshua once again sees the strain etched on the old man’s face. ‘I better help him’ , mutters Joshua under his breath, So Joshua rushes down the hill to find some sticks to support the old man’s tiring arms. He rushes back with two sturdy looking drift wood. ‘Must’ve floated ashore from some wreckage’, thought Joshua. He fixes the wood right under the old man’s armpit. ‘That should give him some support now' muttered Joshua to himself. But what was meant to be merely whisper came out a little too loud. Enough to be heard by Moses, who suddenly realised why he was feeling stronger. His eyes brimmed with tears and it glistened like diamonds in the twilight. Joshua smiled and nodded at Moses. The old man went back to his murmuring trance. The sea remained parted. The people got to the other side unscathed.
This is one particular part of the bible I see in Technicolor like a movie. My rendition of the scenes, are a little more detailed than the ‘Ten Commandments’. I see this in my mind’s theatre almost every other day. After this I remember all those who God send to part the seas for me.
When I had to get admission in college with my rather pathetic mark list, Eddy parted the sea for me.
When I was in a sticky mess of controversies and mishaps, Manoj parted the sea for me. When I longed to go to Austria, Rajesh (my love) parted the sea. God send me several Moses....and if there was a Moses, there must’ve been a Joshua....and I am trying to find my Joshua....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thank yous and Sorrys

Let me begin by saying that this post is dedicated to my friend who pushed me into blogging.
Now I go on to other facts. Is it always necessary to bother with nice-cities like thank you and sorry, with friends?
As the ode goes, friends are there for you, in good times and in bad times. A shoulder to cry on. Among friends there are no thank yous and sorrys. There are so many. If I start writing it all down, I might be guilty of plagiarising every card on Archie’s gallery shelves. It’s not that I think I am above these cards. How much ever I laugh at these cards, when I get one I do feel good about being acknowledged somehow.
Therefore I think to be thankful is one thing and to say thank you is another thing. Being thankful is a state of being. You can be thankful to a friend, situation, stranger perhaps even to God. Also you can live in a thankful state all your life. there is much beauty in that. But to actually say the words is a different ball game totally.
I was walking by the road the other day and a bull rushed towards me. I was caught in the space between the two horns and thankfully didn’t have the horn going right through my intestine with my innards hanging out from the other side. Who was I being thankful to here? To the bull?
I was just thankful for my fortunate situation and maybe even to my guardian angels and to God who appointed them....and to the saints who were praying for me....and the list could go on. Maybe even to the bull, whose intention was probably not to attack but to just scare me. And I could be thankful, that all it did was SCARE THE LIFE OUT OF ME!!! I did say ‘Thank God!’ more than once.
So the question is really do we have to say 'thank you' to our friends or just be thankful that they are there for you.
All of you who think we have to say the word do write a comment in my blog.

Now to what I think, after all this is my blog. I think, thank you is a word that has to be used more often. Something we often forget to use. It is just not used enough.
IT’s about two things. Firstly, you are aware that you are thankful, for better or worse. Secondly, you are humbled that it’s not just you who is responsible for this blissful state of realisation. Also that this state could not have been achieved if not for the other. (There seem to be more than two reasons) Thirdly, you are acknowledging the person’s goodness and admitting it to yourself. Fourthly, it is good manners, just like how you were taught in Kindergarten.

So back to the ode. Friends may say that they don’t want to be thanked. But that’s just another way of saying welcome. Please go ahead and thank people.
Now about saying the word ‘sorry’. Well! The above rule applies for that as well. Now do you want me to go over the whole thing again?
Oh! By the way I forgot. Thank you dear friend, for being my muse!!!
And sorry I took so long to say that.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Duped by Ego

I decided I had to blog today. I just had to. Something compels me to express my thoughts. Talk. Expound. Offer free advice. Preach. Admonish. Tell you how wrong you are and how you should really do it. But I realise that when I do all that I could turn out to be this avoidable person. The kind we don’t want to stick around with. The one we avoid. The kind that makes us want to turn around and walk the other way.
But there is always the possibility that I may even look a lot like someone who actually has something to say. Something that may after all make sense. Something that may help you. Something that may surprise you for depth, beauty and wisdom.
Or I may simply resemble somebody who is lonely hasn’t talked to someone in a long time. Someone who needs to be listened to. Someone you can help perhaps. With a little bit of attention. A kind word maybe. Someone whose life may change just by your words.
I guess what I am trying to say is....I can be all of this sometimes or some of it in the least. We all can be. Our vulnerable moments make us....lonely, weak, and shallow boring. But our better days make us kind, loving, wise and helpful. Some God forsaken days make us proud, arrogant and full of condescendence. We can be all of this sometimes. Some of it most of the time, and none of it rarely.
It took me a while to be humbled by the fact that.....I may not be as good I think I am to somebody. It did disturb me for a while. The fact that I may seem ‘not’ good. It took some more while to accept what is really disturbing me, is not whether I am really good or not. But what I ‘seem’ to people.
It humbles me even more to understand that my ego is so clever that it fools me all the time. Blinds me from the it’s (the ego’s) existence within. It’s such a fine line. Don’t let the ego dupe you.
Be good. For it’s simply the best way to be.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Holiness and Spirituality. And my problem with both.

I don’t consider myself to be holy by any standards. But to be truly Holy has always been in ideal or an idea i have in fact been fascinated with. I am also caught in this stange kind of web. That of deception of sorts, I think. It surrounds my life today. I am confused with what true holiness means. Does Holiness have anthing to with goodness and virtues? Does being Holy mean to be always be in pursuit of doing the ‘right’ thing? Or does being Holy mean being able to love the other just as much as yourself. Or does it mean to be simply in union with the Almighty,so then by default you become good and loving and virtuous because God is Love ,good and virtuous!?
I have also noticed that Holiness is no longer something people look upto these days. Nobody wants to be ‘Holy’ anymore. It is uncool. Boring even. Prayer and any kind of religious affiliation is strangely looked down upon. Atleast the traditional kind. The kind that believes in the divine quality of self denial is regarded ridiculous. The one which calls to die to self in oder to live fully and free is passe, a strange and archaic concept.
Spirituality is now all about the ‘ I’ factor. Discovery of self. Self actuation. The power of ‘me’. And all that. This is a very seductive concept and appealing too . As humans we like all the attention anyway. And with a spiritual angle to this exercise it somehow becomes ...alright to put in all that effort and time to that sacred ‘me’. Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t have any problems with the concept per say. But I am strangely intrigued by the shallowness and limited scope of the notion. Honestly it seems to hold zilch challenge for the human spirit, which I think is so large and all encompassing and is the ‘image and likeness of God’. That which embraces the ‘other ‘ as much as the ‘self’.
Again does sprituality and Holiness have anything do with each other? Is it one and the same thing? Or are they mutually exclusive?
Now coming back to my very own spirituality. Am I spiritual ? I spent a lot time and energy is thinking about and reading about things that are not ‘earthly’...also about the the ‘Almighty presence’, I call God. Now does that make me spiritual? At this point of time in my life I don’t know. Does that make me a Holy? I don’t know. Does that make me religious even? I don’t know.
I have to admit that, what i thirst for most is being able to experience the security , faith in God provides. I must confess, if there is anything that I seem to be doing right, it is only by Grace. The kind of Grace that comes from the Mercy of God. And it is only by Grace that I thirst His presence. I am discomfited because, I don’t know if that makes me; holy? Spiritual? Religious? or simply human?
Guess the name of the game is trying to be fully human first, then perhaps we can consider..... Holy? Spiritual? God Alone knows!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

If The River Could Fly and Not Flow: Just My Thoughts

Just My Thoughts

2008- A guided tour.

Have you ever felt this way....Like as if God has a hold of your hands and is taking you for a guided tour of life. At least 2008 really seemed like one such tour. I lived almost on the edge. Atleast walking on the edge with one arm tightly tucked under His armpit. He did let my other arm free. We were walking..and sometimes I was so taken up by the sights and sounds that I heard and saw on the other side that I even forgot, I had this one arm with him. It has occured to me several times on this tour, what it would be like to cross threshold to the other side...but even when I tried to, there was this gentle tug, that i felt, just firm enough for me to glance at Him. Then it would all be alright. Then I would realise I am in a better place now. and He has allowed me this tour, for me to realise, how better off I really am. But sometimes He did let go of my arm...perhaps because I was too curious....or perhaps because...that's what He's like. A gentleman. And ofcourse He has after all gifted us all free will. But when He does let go of my hands...I am overwhelmed by the trust He has in me. Inspite of all the times I have wandered off..He still trusts me enough to find my way back. Maybe ...it's not really me finding my way back...it's love, always beckoning us back 'home'. Back to have that one arm tucked underneath His armpit. Where we are safe and content. Really.