Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Good Job is like an Idli

Another rambling just to oil the creative side of my brain and get the words flowing!

A good or the right job is like Idlis. 

Packed with the right nutrients in just the right proportion, idlies are good for us. Wholesome and simple, idlies can be categorized as the saintly variety of food that simply can’t harm us. (But yes, even divinity needs to be moderated or can lead to insanity and harm.) My point is, a good job that fulfills most of your core expectations and objectives is like an idli.

Now the big question is can idlies be enjoyed without a tasty side dish? A spicy chutney or sambhar or podi or at least some sauce or sugar and ghee? Nope. You need the accompanying side dish to complete the idli so that it can be savored in its true glory. That’s how a good job works too. 

You simply need to couple your full time job with interesting side dishes like a great hobby, friends and fun, or at the very least some awesome music, to relish all that is great about your chosen job. Otherwise, you risk struggling to chew a bland idli and will be forced to soon spit it out. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Haiku

an empty paper
words just refuse to spill out
rest, boredom, rust-out

Saturday, June 9, 2018

From Maya's Diary: Trapped

Trapped in your own mind.                                                                                                                                                  
Sounds like sci-fi fantasy or a great adventure? Not really. It can be one of the most challenging and painful experiences you can go through in life. 

I believe, but for brief spells in my life, I have always been trapped in my own mind. A mind that has gone through tremendous transformation over the years for good as well as bad. The sad part is, in the last few weeks, it has taken the form of a vicious, slippery, bottomless pit of never ending streams of stray thoughts from the mundane, meaningless, irrelevant, and the profane to the erotic, exotic and the very profound. A mind that refuses or rather struggles to stay happy and content. One that is not kind to me.


A mind that is often tempted and is successful in leading me astray into a painful web of expectations – not so much from others as from myself. A harsh task master constantly pressurizing me to achieve the best, and beating me up when I fall short, which is quite often these days. In its current worst avatar, it is Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Confused. Twisted. Always restless, searching for meaning. For purpose. Direction. And fulfillment. But in vain.

Slowly, it drags me to a state of lethargy, frustration, irritation, uncertainty, and anger. Waking up every morning becomes a struggle. Should I call in sick at work?  Every single task that once brought joy to me now seems difficult and meaningless. Listening to music. Praying. Exercising. Even writing. The worst is being unable to even sleep it off.

Mesmerizingly magical – my mind raises me to a euphoric high where the world is a heaven of promises, possibilities and potential. The happy moments seem endless. The challenges before me seem like easy adventures to be enjoyed, at the end of which I would be crowned with laurels of victory and pride. But the euphoria is a mirage, short lived. At the peak of absolute bliss, my mind takes on a frighteningly crazy form, mercilessly pushing me to the lowest depths of unexplained, unreasonable sadness.  And then, those weakening tears keep running down endlessly in an angry haste to drown me. This has happened ever so often, that these days, even as I am climbing the peak of joy, I am also anticipating the fall. Ultimately, left overwhelmed by a sense of being cheated.     

Well, it is quite easy to define my mind and its ways using these lofty words. But getting down to cross its eccentricities and find a peaceful path, where every day can be lived normally like any other, is never easy. In spite of this, I am quite proud to say that I am forcing myself to maintain a sense of normalcy, because at the end of the day, I am not an isolated soul, but a mother, wife and employee, with real responsibilities. So I go about trying to do the routine tasks, while my mind continues to pull me deeper and deeper into a whirlpool of painful thoughts, constantly gaining speed every day.

It’s typically easy to escape from or defeat your enemies if they belong to the external, physical world around you. More so because the possibilities of winning allies to fight your battle are plenty. From genuine friends and caring family to polarized ideologists and even voyeuristic strangers who are willing to extract some fun out of the situation, there could be many who are ready to take sides with you and help you defeat the enemy. You just need to sound your bugle, and your comrades and companions come marching behind you – enthusiastic and determined to lend their muscles and brains to help you win. Well, mostly.

It doesn’t matter who the trouble makers are – your partner or spouse, friends, neighbours, employers, colleagues, politicians, or even children. Because they are real. Even trouble with money is real, framed in neat rectangular shapes and bright hues of purple and orange. The world is also conditioned to accept issues ‘related to the visible physical body’ as real because symptoms and evidences of disease and pain are crystal clear. These are serious health issues that manage to get enough and more attention and importance.

The world can understand and relate to these accepted problems that are connected to the physical world and the body.

But the mind is still an ignored, invisible enigma. 

When you declare that your enemy is your own mind, you are immediately looked at with distrust and disbelief. You could be trying to tackle mild troubles with your mind, which is distressing to you, but has not yet become a source of distress to the external world – like complete insanity, delirium or dementia. Chances are you will be labeled as being so jobless that you are actually creating imaginary problems to while away your time. Or so indulgent and selfish that you are shamelessly seeking attention and sympathy.

I agree that the times are changing and there is increased awareness around the problems of the mind. But still, there is a lot of ground to be covered before you can openly apply for sick leave stating you are depressed. The world gives you the license to either suffer full-fledged madness or safely indulge yourself in complete normalcy. Being stuck in the middle is the tricky part that everyone has trouble addressing.

So what do you do? If you are a control freak like me, you will not let the tyrant lose, no matter what. You will put in every damn effort, however painful and tiring it is, to escape from the dark chasms of your mind into normalcy. The important thing is to not let yourself fall so deep into the pit from where even your strongest ally cannot pull you out. 

You decide what is normalcy. Your definition of normalcy need not match the world’s.
To me normalcy is nothing but control. It is the state of mind where you are simply comfortable with yourself, in control and happy. It need not necessarily mean being devoid of insanity, because without a tinge of insanity, it is impossible to truly relish the beauty of life and suffer the rules of the world. 


If you haven’t already, then quickly find your allies, because without their support, you might be tempted to give up midway. Your allies are those who genuinely accept that the issue is not imaginary, or one that can be managed through simple distractions like watching a movie, eating an ice cream or going shopping. And then create a game plan for victory. Stick to it and defeat the determined tyrant called your mind to ultimately reinvent it as a haven of confidence, peace, certainty and true happiness.

The real challenge is to DECIDE you will escape. Once you have done that, the rest will fall in place.

Cheers to all our battles!


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Just Me

I have breasts. I have a vagina. 
That’s how god created me 
I am not special. I am just a woman
I am tender. Like our mothers for years glorified. 
I can wield a knife. Or throw a profanity
I am not special. I am just a woman
I cry when I’m sad. In fury and in joy 
I lose the plot often. Anger’s like my second skin 
I am not special. I am just a woman
Life’s my easel. I paint love and joy
I can hold you when you are down. And hold on to a grudge.
I am not special. I am just a woman
I have tasted disappointments. Spat them like seeds 
But will not abandon my dreams or boast of my wins 
I am not special. I am just a woman
I relish my chastity. And celebrate my orgasms
But a womb is definitely not my definition
I am not special. I am just a woman
I don’t want a pedestal. A trophy. Or a medal 
Neither the taste of blood, insult or hurt
I am not special. I am just a woman
I hate veils. Taboos. And taunts
Make me no bait. Nor a goddess nor saint 
I am not special. I am just a woman
Culture’s not my burden. Religion’s not my shackles 
Family’s not my fence. Fear’s not my noose 
I am not special. I am just a woman
The sky is mine too. The seas and the trees 
Darkness and light. Every street, every nook
I am not special. I am just a woman
I give. I grab. I win. I sacrifice 
Power’s my booze. Booze my right
I am not special. I am just a woman
I am in control. Often lost in mood swings
I can steer the ship. Also ask for help
I am right. I am perfect. I am wrong and guilty
I make mistakes. And correct your flaws
Let me just breathe Take my dues.
And leave my footprints
I am not special. I am just a woman

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Lover, Misunderstood

He was slowly creeping upon me, his strong hands feeling up my legs, waist, shoulders and neck. His icy chill breath sent a sudden shiver down my spine.
 
This was our first encounter, and I hated him. Gloomy, sulky, and utterly heartless, he loved to strip me naked, leaving me bare, barren, and ugly. 
 
But, I had no choice. I gave in. I waited. Patiently. Until he had his share of fun, and left. 
 
And then she came, warm and soothing, and lovingly whispered in my ears: "He didn't mean to hurt you. He didn't leave you barren. He sowed in you the seeds of life. Look at you! You are glowing now, darling!"
 
Spreading wide my leafy and flowery arms, I swayed gently, spring's revelation still ringing loud in my ears. Suddenly, I missed him. 
 
The pain is short lived, I consoled myself. And began my wait, with fond hope, for my next tryst with winter.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bye!

H: Am..mm going away...

Me: What!! But how could you?

H: I can't stand this anymore.

Me: You know I need to submit that report to my manager tomorrow, right? The CFO is here, I told you. Gosh. Not today, please!

H: You are fixed to your laptop all day long, all through the week. Reports, research, ppts, meetings, brain storming, edits and reviews and what not.
What about me? I have had it.

Me: Sweetheart, please. Think about it.

H: Nah. This is it.

Me: Yeah? Okay. It's gonna be tough. Sigh! But guess I'll manage.

H: Byee! You can find me among the trees in the new walkers' park down the road. Or the flower patch by the Hanuman Temple. Or in the banana grove behind our apartment... See you soon!

There goes my 'H'eart!

Ruskin Bond. Like the Cozy Bed at Mom's

Don't we all love that cozy, cool bed in our mom's house, one where we will never feel out of place, one where we always love to curl ourselves in to a long nice nap? Well, for me, Ruskin Bond's writing is just like that old, comfortable bed. His books are a beautiful world I need to visit time and again to soothe my soul, just like we need to visit our mom's home to feel like a child again, and feel free and truly happy.

Nothing complicated about the Bond stories. Nothing intriguing or dramatic. But his every word is like a balm on my stressed and often confused and battered mind. Every story makes me long for one more and then one more. All his stories, settings, and characters have that fond familiarity about them, but still they are so fresh and new at the same time. You almost feel like you are listening to your granny or grandpa telling you these stories. So, I can't not liken him to R.K. Narayan, another one of my all-time favourite authors, much for the same reasons.

Apart from the easy familiarity and simplicity of writing, what really captures my interest and admiration is Bond's stories are seeped in a quite environmental crusade. His stories are a testimony to his love for the fast depleting green cover in our country. Almost all his stories are silently draped in 'green' as he manages to evoke nature and the harm we are doing to her these days. But all very subtly.

Of course, authors like Bond, I guess, are not for those who love the sensational, the loud drama and the evil intrigue we find in some of today's best sellers or media in general. It is for those who find joy in drowning deep in everything mundane. Who relish the simple philosophies of life. Who love quietness, who can sit at the window for long hours watching the rain or the birds, for whom the sky paints a thousand stories at night.