Just another day in my life…

It was a beautiful morning two weeks back. Despite being awakened by the rooster on my mobile phone alarm, I lay on my bed wondering about the mystery of life. Why are we born? This led to more meanderings of an idle mind – Who are we? Where do we come from? Where do we go to? Is there any meaning to our collective existence? Would the world be any different if any of us just vanished into thin air? This was followed by deeper mulling on whether mankind can ever find its collective soul and live in harmony with nature and so on.

Just then a stray thought entered and I realised it was my birthday; the shock of mid-life crisis had set in. Suddenly I did not want to wake up and face the day or do anything at all. What if I could just vanish into neverland and come back another day as if the birthday had never really come. What if I could turn back the clock and return to middle age when I was more equipped to handle it?

Talking about handles, I had tyres now, also laugh lines, a greying mane, a stretch of beard and a double chin to boot!

Goodbye teddy

Whoa! I am something to reckon with. But then, I remembered the mister and me having celebrated my brave entry into the terrible mid-ages, with a chocolate cake at midnight. It hadn’t seemed that terrifying then.

Why was it so scary now? I began to think – what if I live another three decades at the most and still feel the same? I couldn’t risk feeling this way forever. One has to somehow face the moment of truth and take it as it comes. And so, I make it out of bed and into the balcony to look at my plants. They are so freshly green and as happy as the morning. They only asked me for water, knowing fully well they had to prepare their own food using the water and sunlight.

I watered the plants realising that I have to prepare my own food for my own soul. Life will provide the ingredients but I was responsible for making something nutritious for my soul.

I listened to the many birds atop the trees. They were excited about the day, and chirping about as if there was no tomorrow. They seemed to be living for the moment – no mid-life crisis for them.

I looked at some birthday wishes on WhatsApp. These were the mandatory ones aided by smartphones; birthday reminders set up by friends from over the globe. It’s just that it happened to be my birthday too with many others. The day will move along and it will be like just any other spring day. The cake pictures on Instagram brought a few more wishes by virtual friends. A blogger uncle’s egreeting cheered me up – a dancing elephant clutching flowers in his trunk. That was it.

It was a working Friday and I had a dozen chores to do and age had nothing to do with it. I knew the day was going to be a good one, because age did not matter any more. It was my soul I needed to nourish.

The ‘D’ factor no marriage wants to face

 broken-broken-heart-i-loved-you-ps.-sad-Favim.com-54036

Happy wedding anniversary… you guys rock!!!”, I had pinged my long time best friend, on his third wedding anniversary three months ago. Although the green icon meant that he was online, there was no response. And I thought to myself, ”He’s probably missing her.” My friend of twenty years was sitting miles away in the US of A, with his wife waiting for him in Bombay, being apart for only sixty days. The situation called for a sad romantic filmy number, but it was far from it.

Had I known what he was sledding towards that day, I would have been ready for it. The shocking truth struck like a bunch of sharp knives, when he finally broke the silence now, “B & me are going for a divorce,” he shared in quiet a matter-of-fact manner. Ironically, that evening, he had been watching a Gujarati play based on a cheating wife with a good enough reason to do so!

Being married for two years myself, the ‘D’ word sounded scary.

I was numbed for a few moments. Half-hoping that this is some kind of joke he’s pulling on as usual, I asked him whether he knew the meaning of divorce. What followed then was a long telephonic conversation of his three-year marriage ordeal, including mostly about his wife’s clandestine affairs and sly drinking habits. And the worst being her quick, sharp tongue towards his parents, the most community-oriented and genteel beings that I’ve ever known.

The ‘D’ thing has come as a rescue!“ he concluded with a sigh of relief.

It took me a week to get hold of reality; this was to happen anyways…she had started a new affair a couple of months right after the wedding! The mind games she played with him belied the girl I knew of.

She lost her mother when she was 14, and has to tag around her over-possessive father everywhere she goes. She has a degree in psychology of all things. She works as a Human Resources manager, and recently had earned a Masters in HR, hoping to step-up the corporate ladder. Every year sees a grand birthday party for her.  A very strong-headed, ambitious girl, who was always on the lookout for outdoor adventure and learning something new. She had taught me a little of acupuncture when they visited us last year.

I couldn’t digest such extreme variations in one individual. How can one be so positive on the outside, while living out such fanciful extremes on the inside?! It beats me completely.

Meanwhile the divorce is in progress. Right now, as he is battling the emotional void within, she has been harassing him with alimony demands. While this could be a long-drawn affair, as my poor friend fights for justice and freedom, at the same time, it also lays bare the fragility of marriage in this age of Whatsapp, Facebook and other easily available access tools to have quick affairs on the go.

Of course, the fault is not with these tools but the minds handling them.

But, it sure leaves you scared when you have seen quite a few infidelity-led divorces happen to the loved ones in your life. The emotional rupture tearing apart both and if god forbid, there are kids involved, the ‘D’ thing gets all messy and painful, not to mention the harrowing around  for alimony and maintenance of them. Besides, marriages everywhere in the world also involve both sides of the family. And these guys usually suffer the most, as they are mostly parents seeing their children’s lives come apart with their dreams of a happy and secure future shattered.

It is good to be adventurous in life but what good is this kind of a risky behavior, when you were not denied anything at all. I pray that my friend finds the strength to face this and a good companion to make this journey worthwhile.

Image courtesy: fitwallpapers

Things only a mother can teach

mother and daughter

Every morning I wake up to a sudden rush of consciousness and take a good amount of time to configure myself to reality. A reality that I am now married and do not have the privilege to be awakened lovingly by my mother. Or to be near her. “Wake up, kitty,” she would coo softly at first before picking me up in her arms till about I was nine years old. She also fed me with her hands till I was ten; I wouldn’t eat otherwise!

Today is Mother’s Day, a day when mothers over the world would be serenaded for their infinite love. I am taking the effort to remember everything she did for me as a daughter and which I took for granted. Perhaps, this is an escape route for my guilty conscience but strangely she has never expected me to be grateful. Today we will talk on the telephone as is usual on weekends and share about everyday woes regarding house chores. And we will argue again that I am not taking required care of my health along with work and family.

Anyway, let me share some incidents I remember. One day while we kids were playing in the society grounds, a brilliant idea struck us. We decided to climb a very gigantic and old tree and spend the day there. It was our summer holidays and adventure was all we had on our little minds. But, most mothers got a whiff of our plans and found it too risky for our inexperienced little limbs. Except for my mother –

Mum said it’s a genius idea, that we would always cherish its memories, only this tree is too big for us. We were all under three to four feet in height and the first branch of that tree was at least at three times our height. We searched for younger trees in the grounds but found nothing suitable for us. Finally, we climbed a water tank and stayed there with some tiffin boxes and water bottles with us. A little less adventurous than a day on a tree but fun nevertheless!

Many years later I realised the importance of what mum had taught me that day and indeed these are very practical words of advice to a growing up daughter!

Do not fear to take risks but also calculate before you do that, so that you know what is at stake.

Another memorable incident was when the first showers of rain had hit Mumbai bringing on the severe monsoons when I was in senior college. The day had just started with a pleasant cool weather that belied the hot summer just exiting around the corner. And then it began pouring large coin-sized drops of rain. Thick grey clouds formed a sheet around the sky hiding the sun behind them. There were intermittent bouts of lightning followed by thunder, with a heavy shower of rain just falling nonstop.

The academic year had not yet begun and I began to dread the thought of heavy rains, flooded roads, painfully slow traffic and all the muck through which I will have to wade through to college. In my mind I’ve always maintained Mumbai to be the worst city during monsoons and always wished to get out of there. Moreover, a patch of road between my home and college would get severely flooded even with half a day of nonstop rain. But, very soon all of that changed for me.

Mum said, “Let’s go to the terrace”. “What!” I exclaimed and she managed to drag me along up three floors to our building terrace. There she and I got wet in the rains, holding hands at first and then letting go to enjoy pure bliss on our one. I was reluctant at first and also began to shiver but then the magic of rain drops on my skin had worked. It was the most beautiful experience I had ever had.

Feeling drops of rain falling free from the sky right onto your skin is the most enriching shower one can get. It cleanses your soul most of all. Rain was fun and Mumbai became tolerable. This piece of learning has served me quite well over the years, where I look at Mumbai rains as a metaphor for life’s challenges.

No matter how many hurdles are there on your path, you need to accept them, enjoy them so that you can learn something from them.

There are many more stories that have spotted my entire life like pearls of wisdom. Yet mum never takes credit for all that. She believes it to be her duty to shape up her children’s character, make them strong from within, just like all mothers do. The next time I talk to her, I’ll not argue when she says I’m not taking care of myself. Instead, I’ll take care of myself, as that is the only gift I can give her.

Yes, God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers!

Image source: Carla’s Sculptures

And they lived happily ever after…

Love isn’t something you find. Love is something that finds you,” a very wise observation indeed by the American actress Loretta Young. But, what exactly is love and how does it find you? History has been replete with grand stories of love – Romeo and Juliet, Laila and Majnu, Shah Jahan and Mumtaz and many more stories of unconditional love.

The literary world has brought a wealth of beautiful meaning to love in the form of poems, essays, interpretations and research. Scientists have found chemical changes in a brain that is in love; at the touch of love, Plato said, one becomes a poet; love has immense potential to move mountains they say, yet no one has been able to decipher it!

We can pretend to hack it, but it remains elusive. This cupid once struck, bounds two individuals to reconfigure themselves completely for the other. So, we say that love is blind. Yes, it is because what the eyes cannot see, the heart can.

It is our second wedding anniversary today and the mere thought of it sends shudders through me. It is unbelievable! We made it through two years of serious infighting, work conflicts, unequal distribution of labour with large helpings of chaos, clashes and ego thrown in. We have swum against the currents while arguing nonstop about which way to head next. We would pull out our hair in horrifying frustration even when the heart wanted to say, “If it were not for you, darling, I would have never known true love!”

Love made us strong, love made us vulnerable, love made us love each other and do things we would have never done otherwise. We had diametrically opposite views on how stuff needs to be done yet we did all of this together.

So, at this juncture I am utterly at a loss of words. I too, like the many greats cannot describe love.  Perhaps, love is a matrix which engulfs you. Once you are in, its wonderland all the way. Your sense of logic and reasoning delude you into believing new rules of survival. But, you definitely come out richer.

If you were to ask me whether love has certain rules or does it take care of itself, I wouldn’t know what to say. Maybe the couples who have celebrated a platinum anniversary would know better, but I have my doubts. In all these two years I have realised that love needs to be nurtured much like a seedling, yet there is no guarantee that it will grow sky high and strong. Some divine calculations are on every moment up there. But, what I can confirm is that love is not a zero-sum game. We win some, we lose some but there is winning in the losing too!

  • ‘Be truthful’ yet not so much as to hurt the other’s heart. “What are you doing about those tyres around your waist, honey?” can be easily rephrased, isn’t it?
  • ‘Be honest’ and divulge your attractions for someone you have taken a liking for, but do not – I repeat do not – ever cross the line of no return. Affairs on the sly are a complete no-no.
  • ‘Be open’ to new ways of doing things. There may be a thousand ways of changing a light bulb, while you have been changing it in a particular way all your life!
  • ‘Be polite’ and don’t forget your manners. A little sorry here, a little thank you there, a little please in between is not such a tough ask, you know!
  • ‘Surprise’ is something that adds a spark anytime, even after we’ve quarrelled like cats and dogs. This is one element that is inexpensive and gives joy to the one who surprises as well.
  • And, most importantly, ‘express’ your undying love anytime and everytime; do not wait for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Life is unpredictable and do make the most if it every moment that you breathe.

We do not know what lies in the future, but together we think we can make it. How many more years, you ask…Well, maybe forever and even longer…

We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. Even longer,’ Pooh answered.

Love your hair and it will always love you back!

For someone who has been flaunting a boy cut till her late teens, my life has come a full circle after three decades of ‘hairfree’ existence. I am now blissfully aware that thick wavy hair can also be tied up beautifully or played around with to look just as feminine as the ones with naturally straight, silky hair. All thanks to the internet, my hair is well maintained due to the regular hair care regime I began to follow only a few years back. A hot oil champi followed by shampooing and conditioning after two hours coupled with a happy heart, can do wonders for your hair and skin. Trust me!

As a little girl, the boy cut was convenient though I wanted long, beautiful, Rapunzel-type hair just as all the little girls of my age did. But, the boy cut was a big time-saver enabling my mum to get me ready for school on time. And, that was all that mattered when compared to running around the school playgrounds thrice for getting late!

But, sadly, what started off as a favour to my mum, stayed on till junior college as I was just too lazy. I was one of the boys. I was free from bad hair days. Dandruff, split-ends, dry frizzles, nothing of all this bothered me.  So while others found boyfriends, I joined a gang of boys and that started bothering me!

I grew my hair long and faced the issues that come with hair, but without much of an effective breakthrough until the moment I began to love my hair. Yes, the defining moment came when I received an email from a former male colleague of mine, who confessed to being attracted to my thick, wavy hair calling it an ‘asset’ I had, and that changed the perspective towards my hair completely. I fell in love with it, it was my identity to being attractive; it was what made me feel like a ‘woman’. The tomboy in me wanted to explore her feminine side finally!

Being old school, I relate to yesteryear actresses like Audrey Hepburn with those bun hairstyles of hers. A little search on the internet led me to various tutorials that demonstrate step-by-step instructions just as the ones you see in the TRESemmé YouTube channel.

So here I am…yes, that’s my first twisted hair bun…something I got inspired by while going through the interactive channel. I have been exploring more about better hair care products and hairstyles that go well with my kinda hair, ever since I learnt that salon-style treatment is possible in the convenience of my home. Do check out the various do-it-yourself videos they have in there; you might just make something as lovely as this 😉

My first twisted hair bun

At the cost of sounding immodest, I would like to state that I’m really proud of this achievement. I just love this twisted bun look, moreover it took me roughly 5-7 minutes only, though I would have loved to decorate it with an accessory like a flower or a butterfly or maybe little shiny sequins. Remember, girls just wanna have fun!

The mister, also the photographer was quite amused with what I was able to do, both of us were unaware that such hairstyles could be self created at home. Anyways, let me share the steps in my own words: tie up a ponytail wherever you want your bun to be made. I tied mine a little high though you could try sideways too, to create a side bun. Divide the hair into two equal portions and begin twisting one of the strands while also circling it around the ponytail. Keep twisting till the end and finally secure it with a hairpin. Do the same with the other strand but twist it in the opposite direction, while circling it in the opposite direction. After twisting till the end, secure it with a hairpin and voila, you are done!

It only gets better with practice. This is the second time I tried this and it was easier than the first time. Next time I will pin up a nice hair accessory and use some hair spray to give it a more professional look 🙂

Meanwhile, I have found this beautiful ‘Ballerina rope braid hair bun updo hairstyle’ tutorial by Bebexo, and plan to save some time to learn this. Thanks to TRESemmé, my love for my hair has only grown. And, don’t forget – the deeper you love your hair, the stronger are its roots and your confidence too!

P.S. Post idea triggered by the TRESemmé blogging contest at Indiblogger.

The real beauty called Annie

Courtesy: Desicomments.com

Annie lay still, as still as a corpse. But she was alive, more alive than any of us. For she had to fight; she had to win over little battles that made up her life.

Her room was not a room at the working womens’ hostel I stayed in. Rather it was the space that joined two rooms with the main passageway. She occupied one of the two aluminium beds that lined the sides of the space, and had a medium-sized suitcase underneath the bed, to call of her own. She used the common bathrooms, and hung her wet towel and worn clothes on the metal railing that roofed the bed. She did not own a locker as in all probability, she did not need one!

Very few of the girls were aware of her existence. She worked nights while we slept inside our comfort zones. On Sundays, while we lazed around the common mess and consumed the ‘news-sance’ blaring from the mounted television, one part of the mind hovered around Annie. What would she be doing right now? The girl who occupies the side bed and owns only a suitcase that lay in gay abandon, what kind of a girl was she?

Was she simple living and high thinking or careless and wanton? The latter was an easy assumption while the former got us nosy, and in good spirit too!

A girls’ hostel is crazily busy on a Sunday. Girls are running around beautifying themselves – exfoliation, deep pore cleansing, herbal hair oil massage, pedicures, manicures and facials made from all kinds of ingredients from the kitchen. Basically, just about everything that society has burdened them with eons ago.

But, a chosen set like me, stayed at the rooms and indulged in small talk. While we flipped through our news dailies or women’s magazines, and spoilt ourselves with extra Sunday coffee, we got talking and somehow the conversation drifted towards that girl who occupies the side bed. This is how I came to know so much about her.

But, one day I stumbled upon much more of her story. Being an immigrant, I wasn’t much welcome by my then room mates.  It so happened that they locked me out of my room, as part of their torture tactics to drive me away. Banished from my room, I set up a temporary base on the unoccupied bed, adjacent to Annie’s. I took a day off from the job and stared at the motionless body in the next bed.

There she lay – the girl with a suitcase and no room of her own. Having no willpower to reclaim my room, I continued to wonder about Annie. She had no room to reclaim!

Annie, eventually awakened from her light dream world, and I smiled at her at once. She was frail with dark circles under her alert eyes. She might have travelled a hundred life years but her body belied that – she looked like a partially malnourished adolescent girl with no dreams shining in her eyes. I wanted to know her story.

Annie took a liking to me as I was exiled just as her, even though for a frivolous reason. And she lightened her heart to me – Annie was a single mother of a six-year old girl and worked at an outsourcing venture, mostly in the graveyard shifts. Very harmful for the human body cycle but a great boon for people who study or work in the day, just like Annie.

Annie’s mother had passed away after a long illness during her school days and later she got a step mother. Her step mother didn’t bother much with little Annie and the family grew to include two more step brothers.  Her dad gave her all the love in the world; he even took her on foreign trips. But, as destiny played out, Annie’s dad passed away from illness too, eventually leaving Annie to fend for herself. All the property and belongings were taken by her step family.

Annie then worked as a teacher and found moral support from her paternal aunts. But, this too did not last long as love invaded in the form of a man who said he cannot live without her. She married him and soon found out he had no stable income nor the will to give her a good life. He was a loser looking out for someone to fend for him.

Then there was trouble with the in-laws so much so that a small gathering of all his relatives accused Annie of being a loose woman. She left to never return but to her horror found out she was carrying a baby in her womb. Since then she has been working hard to make ends meet, however, the poor soul missed out on the joys of life with her daughter. She had to be at work the whole day so the little girl stayed with Annie’s aunt.

Her story was getting brighter. Annie had by then managed to save enough to bring her daughter – who was turning six – to stay along with her. But, destiny had more in store. Her daughter’s headaches were diagnosed to be caused from a tumour developing in her brain. Annie took help from the church and the community, who all roped in enough money for an operation to remove the tumour. This chain of events had taken a toll on Annie for the last seven years, without her ever realising it since the time she had left her own home.

Annie said she cannot cry. She knows no pain for she had surrendered to God above. But, I had tears in my eyes and they just wouldn’t stop!

Annie left the hostel soon thereafter as she was able to rent a decent flat near a school for her daughter. And I know she will be very happy in there always.

Your choices are half chance!

Today as my Sunday coffee regime was happening on one side while I was mulling away on the other side, the words ‘Sunscreen’ lit up in my mind. Somehow I could recollect the title ‘Everybody needs sunscreen’ but Google corrected me out and also led me to the source of this song – ‘Everybody is free to wear sunscreen.

It is actually an essay by Mary Schmich that was published as a column in the Chicago Tribune in 1997. Her essay was written as a commencement speech to graduating students, in case she ever got a chance to deliver one! Now this was news to me as I had connected with this particular song during my college days.

I can remember being swayed by it’s distinct style of musical wisdom, even faintly recollect being inspired and awed by its depth. Adoloscence has its own charm of belief and uncertainty, so a naive me related to only some of the parts in it. Then years morphed into decades and once again I found myself at the alter of this timeless classic today. And I was swayed again…

This time some more lines hit me. But the one that had me shaken all over the most is this –
“What ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either, your choices are half chance, so are everybody elses.”

How true! This one came almost like a tight slap of loving advice. Since a month, I’ve been recuperating from a lower back sprain and this has opened up new opportunities to re-think my life. The stress I underwent in the past year either bawling away or jumping on cloud nine with every little step for the startup, had taken its toll.

Had I been dispassionately passionate with everything, the  stress wouldn’t have built up. Had I enjoyed the journey without a care for the destination, even complex tasks would have been simplified. Had I believed that my choices are all half chances, I wouldn’t have worried about the money not flowing in. I would have given a damn to our performance dashboard, goals, content plans, and all that jazz.

Anyways, better late than never! This year I have embarked on a new path where I will strive to find a balance – To be anchored with my destination yet free to stand and stare. To believe in the divine plan and let go of all my worries. To surrender to the Infinite and find answers intuitively.

As 2012 draws to a close…

The year has drawn to a close and what a year it has been – we survived the ‘End of the World’!

I’m neither ecstatic nor gloomy though. The internal and the external have all collided into one big mass of chaos within me. I’m quite numb with what’s happening in my country right now. I’m scared I’m a woman. And then again, its also required a whole defragmentation process for me this year. It’s been 15 days that I’ve been lying unruffled… well, almost!

As I was getting ready to pick up tasks on my to-do list, I heard a faint tear like a tectonic shift in the middle of the Arabian Sea, but only it felt like it was within me. The next thing I know is that pain erupted like a volcano from my lower back and I fell down unconscious before which I had managed a feeble shout out to the hubby.

Probably 5 minutes later, I came back into consciousness to sense tremendous amount of pain shooting out from my lower back to all the neurons in my body.

Oversoul by Alex Grey

It was 9 hours of excrutiating pain as I lay on the floor motionless, having ended all attempts to fight back. But, those 9 hours were a God send. I don’t really believe in the idols or religions but a bright ray of hope hidden in the human spirit has to be God. It was this hope that served as my crutches – I began to crawl and finally walk with the hubby’s support and somehow managed to make it to the hospital. The verdict was clear – I had stretched myself too far this time!

I’m on medication and rest for a month now but I’ve realised that the duration depends totally on me. Every moment that I feel hope, I’m able to walk but the very moment I give up, the pain returns. It is like the Satan is just waiting around the corner for Hope to leave. I was so traumatised by the shock waves passing through my body that sleeping at night was a task in itself, but hope has opened a new door.

Incidentally, I’ve begun to read ‘Man’s search for meaning‘ by Viktor Frankl, which is a rather painful account of his stay at a concentration camp and how his search for meaning ultimately saw him survive unspeakable cruelty.

We, as a species, have survived for so long that sometimes it builds a complex and I don’t know whether I feel superior or inferior. But, every living moment has a meaning so I guess ‘Time’ – being the biggest teacher  – will tell!

2012 started off into the unknown. Me and hubby had decided to bootstrap our venture with a little savings and no viable business model. Today, at the end of the year, I can’t believe we made it through 12 months without a salary and heaps of multi-tasking. It is true I broke my back, but it is also true that I could manage to keep a little of my 2012 resolution of inculcating a strong sense of discipline in me. 2012 also saw our first marriage anniversary as well as the second one for the startup, so the year sums up as one of juggling between two unknowns – a marriage and a bootstrapped startup!

As I bid adieu to 2012, I look forward to the new year and hope to listen more and talk less, to stop running and start walking, to just be in the moment and feel the meaning. And 2013 will hopefully ring in a miracle because that’s just what the world needs now!

Happy 2013 to all my readers!

The laughing club lessons and more

Every morning I’m awakened by an orchestra of sorts – a myriad of laughter sounds in various sizes and shapes emanating from the neighbouring ground. When we shifted home in the middle of this year, all we were in search of was a place with a good broadband connection. But, as luck would have it, we were blessed with much more.

I love the lush greens surrounding my compound walls and the colourful birds nestled amongst the branches. I love the hollering boys playing cricket in the grounds, while a few serious ones practise their yogasanas in the shade. I love the karate class kids too, especially the really little girls and boys. But, what I love most about the ground is the lessons I have learnt just by observing the laughing club members.

This group mainly consists of bright senior citizens – the politically correct term for elderly people – with a sex ratio of 1:1 and I find them really adorable. These guys start coming one by one to the ground beginning 6 am. Only when the entire group is present do they start and that happens in half an hour around 6:30 am.

Members of the Gateway to India Laughter Club in Mumbai

They quickly assemble in a circle with women and men forming half the circumference each. After the initial introductions and the calling out of consequent numbers by each member, the motley group is all energised for a session of laughter and joy.

The session begins slowly with soft giggles and then catches pace with a laughter barakhadi (ha-haa-he-hee-hu-huu-hey-heey-ho-hoo-houu-humm-hahahahaha) followed by bouts of weird body movements and sounds. Sometimes, they scare each other with a simple ‘boo’ or sometimes its a little startling roar by sticking their tongues out. Its adorable to watch the old men and women claw the air and play animal-animal. The session that started with frail laughter and gestures, then reaches a crescendo of sorts, to finally end in a full-bodied laughter, by which time the onlookers have also had a laugh or two.

But, it was never a cacophony of laughter. It had rhythm, it had style!

I remember in the beginning during my morning jogs, I was way too embarrassed to be crossing them. There they were, the wise old group laughing away to glory without a care in the world. And here was me with my extra tensed neurons and all, so conscious about my rising weight and striving to burn it out frantically as if that is the cure to all my ills.

Gradually, as the days turned into months, I developed an attachment towards them, so much so that if I did not wake up to their laughter, the day would feel incomplete. Come rain or chill, the group was always out there on the grounds, but it was only me who woke up late and missed them. I saw a month of summer followed by four months of monsoons with heavy showers welcoming the early mornings. Now, it is winter and really chilly. I don’t venture out in the morning; just a little verandah watching suffices me. But, the laughing club goes on!

As I sit beside my work table, adjacent to my large window, trying to concentrate on the smaller things in life, the things outside creep into my thoughts. More precisely from the laughing club. The discipline, the dedication, the sheer energy and will power of the group amazes me. Their approach towards laughter, the motivation they share with each other, the laughter sounds reverberating in the air is all so inspiring, that I’m all charged up and raring to go.

Yes, were it not for laughter, we would all go insane!

A solution to all our big problems

Eureka! Eureka! After deep research and many many years of observation, I’ve finally had a breakthrough as I woke up this morning. I believe I’ve discovered a solution that would eradicate all world problems. Injustice, Inequality, Inhumanity and all other ‘Ins’ that plague our world, would simply vanish if only we could build this device. Yes it certainly would! Read on…

The present situation:

Though we are always dreaming about a Utopian world, we somehow also conclude about its impracticalities before giving up altogether. We want to change our world and everything in it, but we cannot change ourselves. We all want to be human but we don’t know how. We buy ‘Be Human’ tee shirts but wear them only to conceal our souls. We give to charity so we could save on taxes.

We give to beggars but we do so by throwing a few loose change from a safe and hygienic distance. We push aside the elderly and the invalids so we could claim our ill-gotten victory. We abuse women and children and then open up institutions, NGOs and reservation schemes to satiate our urge to be ‘human’.

We create borders and then spend billions to find magical erasers to rub them off. We create weapons of mass destruction in the name of defence but use these to abolish helpless nations. We create wars so we could build a better economy for ourselves.

We have ruined all of our natural resources and now plan to ruin other planets too. We have systematically exploited the food chain but still don’t have enough to feed our greed. We know how fickle a species we are when it comes to giving back to nature, but we rather prefer to roam around with a guilt conscience. We know we are doomed but we trust we would be saved. We know we are mortal but we believe we could take it all.

What if…
  • We build a device that could calculate when we would die, right at the time of birth. (When doctors can calculate when you would come out from the womb, can’t they also calculate when you would leave the body?)
  • We are able to ‘visually map’ all our actions in this life in real-time and also after we die? These could be put on our certificates, resumes and our epitaphs as well.
  • We could communicate with all kinds of flora and fauna and be amazed at everything big and small. We could live in harmony with an ‘intelligence’ exchange with them. Remember when we had that major tsunami attack, most of the animals had moved to higher altitudes days before!
If we are equipped with this kind of knowledge, we could be forced to be human. What say?