Lock down revelation-The social frame

Lockdown has urged us all to step inside not only our homes but also our minds, our souls. I wonder that after things go back to normal do we want to go back to ALL that we have left behind. With me, multiple activities have been revisited and rendered futile during this period. I may not want to go back to that mythical busyness, where everyone simply tries to fit in a frame – ‘A Social Frame’

The social frame is strange. We look up to others and decide our course of action. We fear not going to a weekend party, no sending our child for extra- curricular, not having a perfect figure, not vacationing abroad…. Why? I think largely to fit in that frame. We squeeze ourselves, we struggle straining ourselves and without realizing. In our quest to multitask we burn out and burn the resources around.

Covid has directly hit and shattered that very social frame into pieces. You pick any of the pieces – you will see your own reflection…

Bhaidooj – Time for sibling love

Bhaidooj is made up of two words namely- “Bhai” meaning brother and “Dooj” meaning the second day after the new moon which is a day of its celebration.

Bhaidooj is an auspicious occasion for the Hindus where brothers pay visit to their sisters and sisters in turn make special arrangements – treating them with delicious food and gifts too. An important part of the ritual is the tilak which the sister puts on the brother’s forehead wishing him prosperity in life.

There are few Hindu mythological based stories related to the origin of this auspicious day. According to one legend, Lord Krishna visited his sister, Subhadra after killing demon Narkasur. Her sister gave a warm welcome to him and made the occasion really special through flowers and sweets. Subhadra also applied the ceremonial “tilak” on the forehead of her brother, Krishna and hence the festival of “Bhai Dooj” was born from there. Another legend revolves around the story of Yama, the God of Death and his sister Yamuna. It is believed that he met his beloved sister on Dwitheya, the second day after the new moon.

I am blessed with two beautiful children, a girl and a boy. They are young and tender minded, sharing a special bond with each other. Once I was upset over my son for misbehaving and playing mischief all day. I and my husband reprimanded him, by not speaking to him for a while. I encouraged my daughter too to not converse. Her reply was, “No, I will not stop talking to him, we have explained him and he will not repeat.” Though she was not on our side, inside my heart I felt very peaceful that she did not give up on her brother. That is all that mattered…

Another incident was when we were at Jaisalmer at a desert camp. My daughter suddenly went out of sight. It was a spread out property and she wandered away. I and my husband were both worried and angry. The moment we found her I just bashed her for how she just slipped away on her own. Even my husband carried a firm face and intoned, that she should have been responsible. But my little son, simply said, “We were searching for you. I was sure though that you will not have any fun without me and you will soon be back. Now you stay together…” and just held her hand. My heart melted because he did not give up on her…

Siblings are special and worthy of the connect, so do revisit your innocent childhood memories and choose to bond better this Bhaidooj…

Diwali – The festival of inner light

Like each day, I sat reading the newspaper. What surprised me today was that Bombay Times the attached newsletter to Times of India which is usually an 8-10 pager supplement was a bulky 24 pager. Flipped through it and found it is disproportionately filled with promotion material. The paper is propagating Diwali as ‘the time’ to buy it all – from appliances to cars to jewelry to apparels to vehicles…Woof!!! I was left wondering that is Diwali all about shopping?

Tradition says Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of the goodness; as felt by the kingdom of Ayodhya when Lord Rama came back from a 14 year exile. They lit the entire place with diyas, they decorated every corner with torans and rangoli. The fragrance of fresh flowers filled the air; the sky was lit up too with crackers… Above all this all of them came together to celebrate the special day with a broad grin on the faces and a renewed spring in the steps.

See, we come from somewhere so simple. Festivities should be more about meeting and greeting. Diwali should be more about illuminating our souls. Today, there is so much darkness inside us – due to social media statuses, competitive environment, and pressure to be the best at everything. Diwali is indeed a good time to do away with these negative emotions. A large section of Hindu community also celebrates the following day as New Year. Which means it is an appropriate time to resolve!!

Kindness, humility, forgiveness and acceptance are the four key things that lead you to a better life. We forget about them in the everyday humdrum, and festivals are the best time to check on these virtues. So gift your house help, downplay your achievements, forgive your friends/relatives, and accept the difference in the opinions of family members.

Yes Diwali is very much about new clothes, good food and a refreshed household/office with new items that make our lives more comfortable. But all this is squandered without a bright soul.
So let us clean up our minds and let our being shine this Diwali!! Happy Diwali to all my readers 

Mumbai teaches patience…

The city of dreams… the city of lights….. The commercial capital of India… so many titles have been accorded to our dear Mumbai. Today while I was waiting for an auto rickshaw, it dawned upon me that Mumbai is also our teacher in patience. Wondering why I am relating such a noble golden virtue to the super stimulated metropolitan – where your status is decided by your unavailability… all in the city are busy and like to be that way. Still amidst all the chaos, I caught a glimpse of patience…

When I saw a headphone clad teenager who was sweating due to the heat and heavy traffic. Suddenly he shakes his head and takes a spring, because his favorite track played.

I saw a middle aged woman, rushing to catch her office bus. There comes a temple on the way, she gestures her colleague to hold the bus while she takes a statue pause to pray for not more than 10 seconds.

The school van arrives and one of the kids has not reached. The driver is continuously looking in the direction from which the child comes, the moment he spots just a corner of his uniform, he shouts, “Come fast!!!”

My husband travels for 2 hours every day (one side) for work but comes home beaming. Occasionally gets goodies too. What does he do en-route, listens to music, pj’s on radio and yes does all his surfing work…

A teenage girl stepped out, wearing a red gown with dazzles in her ears. She is waiting for her cab to come and in the meantime it rains, she runs towards the shade below the tree, calls the driver again. People around are noticing her as she is all decked up, and all she does is gives a faint smile.

At the mart, the billing queue is long. I saw a man with 5 items in his cart, standing behind another who had 2 full carts to be billed. He thinks and requests the man ahead to let him bill first as he will take very little time, the other one willingly obliges.

I was down to fetch my son. An old man and a boy both were waiting for an auto. The boy, dressed in formals, looked hassled as if he had to be somewhere and was running out of time as he checked the time thrice in a span of 10 minutes. After a long wait, one auto arrived, the boy immediately reached for it, but wait a minute, what did he do next? He stepped back and asked the old man to board the auto.

The fruit vendor while pushing his laden cart toppled over a stone on the road. His pile of fruits spilled all around. A car coming in his direction abruptly stopped and all the nearby people and vendors helped him by picking the fruits that had fallen near them.

I had a doctor’s appointment and I reached 50minutes late due to an accident that had occurred on the highway. I was feeling pathetic and that’s when the doctor said, “It’s not you alone, many of my patients are late. Please its ok!”

We visited a popular restaurant in Parel. We were waiting for a table to get vacant. A family had finished their dinner and was casually relishing their dessert. The woman noticed that we were waiting since long and she seemed to insist to her family to vacate as they were done with their meal.

I am sure even you must have come across a few such incidents while you wait for your turn practically everywhere be it roads, malls, theatres, play areas, ferry rides, restaurants, stations, airport, hospital – our city leaves us with no option but to remain patient and poised.

Visarjan

The aura of Visarjan

I am born and bought up in Mumbai. At the age of 34, for the first time I visited Girgaum Chowpatty on the eve of Anant Chaturdashi, and I discovered a new meaning in the process of Visarjan. To the world the relevance is that Visarjan is when Lord Ganesha leaves for Kailasha and takes the misfortunes of his devotees along with him. To me, it appeared as something bigger, something more magnificent.

I and my family chose to park our car at a distance and walk the streets to witness Visarjan. I was a part of a stream of people, belonging to different castes, each with unique physical attributes and of course from different financial statuses. But, there at that point all were together, in one flow. Visarjan unites….

We enjoyed the simplest of foods like berries, star fruit, corn, tamarind and Mumbai’s very own Vada Pav. Through our casual stroll, we relished these and so did my children. Visarjan helps enjoy small and simple……

I saw two kids, of a local labor family, poor but dressed to their best. As the music started rolling, they danced without any fear or intimidation, while their parents clapped and encouraged. Visarjan let them open up and seize the moment……

All were walking, all pedestrians – no two wheeler, no cars, no rickshaws, only feet to feet. No inhibitions about heat, distance and fatigue. Visarjan made us ecofriendly at least temporarily…..

An ordinary annual fest, appeared like, the world is celebrating. From where I could see, I saw only colors and a diverse crowd. From what I experienced I felt a gush of energy and inclusivity. It was as if I understood an unsaid message from God himself that humility is the only religion and camaraderie the only celebration…