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…

Lock down hopes

The cities and countries will soon revive

All of us, our hustle – will bring them alive

Nothing is etched, continuous and forever

Change is the only constant, don’t fear

Kids will play hide and seek like before

Business will resume, markets will soar

Days will get busier and full once again

But what we faced mentally, will always remain

When it’s flowing, the same water can’t be touched twice

The ups and downs however do make us wise

Peace and contentment is the call of the Universe

If we work inclusive, it may never get this worse

With this let us wait to begin in full flare

But this time with simplicity, affection and care

As of now please curtail and completely abide

Nature will soon be on our side

Nature will soon be on our side

Lock down revelation – We are just a number

Last year we went for a trip to Auli. Auli is for the people who love mountains and simplicity. The hotel where we stayed had put up a photograph of a mountaineer with a quote – “If you want to know how small you are, try climbing a mountain.”

I would take the liberty to rephrase it – “You come to know how small you are when you are in the face of a pandemic.” The news each day, throws numbers from all over the world. When the numbers are being stated they are not categorized as per caste, status and power, in fact no one may be interested in that data. All we want to know is the percentage of people who are safe. This makes me ponder – Am I just a number?

As the people world over are trying their best to combat this crisis, we are coming to terms with the reality that the so called weaker strata of society makes us what we are – white collared and stylishly sophisticated. When I made a courtesy call to my domestic help who has been working for me since the last 10 years, we both checked on each other, our family members and our surroundings – the pandemic sensitized us both in the same way. Neither of us had anything more to say as we both were uncertain about our fates.

Nature in its best or worst form touches each one , without any discrimination , so you see in the larger scheme of things you are playing your tiny role – better be humble and play it well because at the end you are nothing but a number!!!

Nature’s Agenda


Nature’s original idea was to keep us in a flow
Routine, simple, pleasant but slow

Gradually we all started a race
We chased, we ran, we increased the pace

Objects were invented to facilitate the flow
We adapted, we changed, always on the go

No pause to wander, no moment to exclaim
No time to interpret, why keep each day same?

We hustled, we stressed in our quest to grow
Always rushing to the next task in the row

But all this time we spent in a foolish propaganda
Because this was not Nature’s original agenda

The Soul String

There is this thing in the Universe which calls upon you

It tells you to not tear apart, rather mend and sew

It pushes you to not give up, keep going you will find

At the end of it you will get it, it would be a worthy grind

It asks you to let loose, take each moment one by one

It shouts out saying that serving others can also be fun

It reminds you of the goodness that surrounds you all the time

Staying in gratitude, appreciating – will not cost you a dime

It requests to seek the higher purpose for which we all exist

It pleads to open the palms, why keep a closed fist

What is this ‘It’ that calls upon us every single time?

It’s the soul string that connects you to another soul sublime..

My mind my garden

My mind my garden – Robin Sharma, a revered author had mentioned this elaborately in his book – The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari. And the thought has stayed with me since then. A beautiful garden with roses and lilacs, with lush green trees and water fountains, with pebbled pathways and chirping birds – would anyone want to escape from such a magnificent space? Rather we would want it to be a part of our life – easily accessible so that we can regularly frequent it.

Similarly our mind if cultivated into a cleaner space decorated with thoughts of nourishment and nurturing can evolve into our favorite place. If we sow seeds of goodness and humility and water them, they will bloom into kind thoughtful actions. It is so simple to keep our minds beautiful- which can thus, be our space to rejuvenate. We will be able to design creative ways to work better and enhance our being.

An equally important part is to protect it. Protect it from what? If the metaphorical garden with flowers and trees is dirtied with trash – what will happen? It will stink and lose its charm. Similarly if we allow negative thoughts gain ground in our mind we will end up acting upon those thoughts wrenching our otherwise good life. So we better take care that no bad enters our mind – our beautiful garden – which is our source of peace and fulfillment.

Guilt Trip

Guilt trips

When does one go on a guilt trip? When you cheat, or lie, or pretend or may be just indulge in some extra chocolates? Or when you back bite, gossip, malign or fake? All of these overlap and seem very petty when we think of this one big guilt trip that we take due to wasted time – the one we take when we fail to live up to our potential. It shakes the mind and stirs the soul.

Who defines the potential? You – How you define whether you have reached your potential for the day? The level for a day is achieved if you are not guilty about the way you spent it. It is a self-correcting mechanism uniquely in built in us by the Creator.

The problem is when you do not acknowledge the guilt to self and shift the blame on other people and situations. In reality though, a large part of it can be influenced by you.

Sounds like boring theory!! Here are some instances which we witness in our day to day life and you will be surprised how it correlates to the above. How you are actually empowered to choose otherwise:

The traffic is pressing; all you can see is flashing red lights. You are busy cribbing in the backseat; sweating while the A.C is still on, your only companion is a google map that is showing the same time even if you check like 100 times. There are many options while you are stuck this way like music, downloaded audios on topics of your interest or books. Choose otherwise.

You are a group of friends. A plan is made without asking you. You come to know once they have already left and out of courtesy they ask you to join mid- way. You feel terrible and want to just shun them. Alternatively you can give them a benefit of doubt and if convenient for you, you can actually join them. Why read between the lines when it is a one off instance? Choose otherwise.

You have good command on English. You use it for the benefit of your kids, your family and for yourself when you interact with others. But is this enough? Can you not let others benefit from your skill like friends, or the lesser privileged around you to help them communicate better? Parallely you should also do yourself a favour by polishing your language further. Choose otherwise.

You are an entrepreneur with a set schedule. An idea strikes you, which will give your business a new exposure but it requires taking a plunge and putting in extra brainwork. Also you need to convince others in the office about its workability. Too much work and investment also, so better stay where we are, why to disturb the flow? Easy way out, but is it the right way? Why not give it a shot with full enthusiasm? Choose otherwise.

Your child is average in studies. You see other kids around prospering. Naturally a parent sulks and ends up getting trapped in a circle of comparison. Another way could be to put in efforts and understand what he/she enjoys. Giving time to the child’s interest and facilitating him to outshine. Choose otherwise.

You love to dance. You have spent your entire life looking at performances and wanting to do the same. But you are worried that you will be judged by people around if you join a class. The idea itself is a presumption, leave the anxiety behind. Choose otherwise.

You have a terminally ill patient at home. Life has come to a standstill. Your entire time and energy is sucked in taking care of the patient. But when you are into it, drown yourself in the same by reading out to the patient, taking him/her out for walks, watch movies together. You may not enjoy it all the time but realize that it is a passing phase. Choose otherwise.

At the end of each of these instances you would have two options either feel guilty about the clumsiness with which you managed the situation or feel contended about the way you lived it. I am not saying that it is easy.

But as someone wisely said time is like the flowing river. No one can touch the same water twice. Time once gone is gone, when you know you have no way out; why not accept it in full grace? At least it leaves you with energy to think new. In that spirit may you actually find a way out and you may actually skip the guilt trip!!!

Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese term rooted in Zen culture. It means seeing beauty in imperfection – Appreciating the rustic, raw, broken, sometimes older ideas/objects. Against the current culture of perfecting everything letting certain things just be as they are.

Everything, every place, every being has a texture and a character. If we see the city of Mumbai, the CST station, Horniman circle, the by lanes of Kala Ghoda, the flea market of Linking Road, tiny windowed buildings in Byculla…. are there since ages. It is old architecture that has lost its sheen but retained a reflection of the era in which they were built.

Talk about broken toys, they take you back to your child’s childhood, old clothes refresh the earlier patterns and fabrics, older advertisements bring the same jingle tune to your mind as it is, old furniture reminds you of the hard work that you had put in building a home…..

Initially when I read about it I found the concept to be humble and interesting. In this complex world of chaos, Wabi Sabi calls out for simplicity. It reiterates that the grandeur of something outdated is no less than the marvels of innovation – the beauty of something former and tattered is nothing less than a newly manufactured object.

I also shared the concept with a few others, each belonging to a different field. I generated a questionnaire as stated below and sourced their responses:

  1. Give me one old object (living or non- living but not a person) which you would like to keep forever even if it rusts, loses sheen or becomes outdated?
  2. Identify and mention the imperfection (by way of appearance, communication and attitude) in life.
  3. Now that you are face to face with your imperfections, how do you deal with them in day to day life?
  4. How and where do you think you can apply Wabi Sabi? Give only one instance.

Jitendra Gursingh, MBA Finance and Promoter – Digilocal is a young entrepreneur. Object/s that he would like to keep forever is his Apple products and some old printed photographs. I could feel the contrast in the nature of items material as well as emotional. According to him he has an attitudinal imperfection where he feels there is no balance; sometimes he is aggressive, sometimes laidback. He clearly stated that Wabi Sabi should not be applied to work; money and finances. He says, “I think the concept works as long as you are AWARE that something is not perfect. Awareness & acceptance is the first step to making it perfect.”

Neena Dhody, a homemaker wants to keep her mother’s chappals. Honestly did not expect an answer of this type. Neena says, “Mom used to wear them and one day I just wore them and never returned them to her. My husband and daughter always tell me to get better looking new ones … honestly I have tried getting new ones myself. But just for the looks of it I can’t part with the utility the old one offers me …somewhere maybe emotionally it also makes me feel connected to my mother.” On where she applies Wabi Sabi, her answer is illuminating – she says her house is simple. It does not have the best interiors or fittings but for her it is Heaven as it gives her peace and comfort. It’s a happy place for her family.

Sejal Agarwal, a young software engineer, working with Accenture has something very abstract that she wants to keep, ideas of older generation with no pressure to wear the modern plastic. Well said, after all ideas make an entire generation. She shares a special bond with her younger brother Krishiv, who is naughtier and lazier than most of his counterparts. He keeps his work pending till the last moment. Though not ideal she felt there is a lot of cribbing over it and too much pressure on him to extend his capacities. She says, “Wabi Sabi can be applied here and we could let him do things within his caliber and not compare him with others. Let him be himself and love him for his uniqueness.”

Nikhil Furia, Promoter Era Ethnics, wants to keep his late sister’s Rakhi forever. Who would want to give up on such a treasure? Among his imperfections he says his anger is short-term, but quite blunt and insulting for the person facing it. Once he realized this he says, “Its only now, that I have started talking to myself, that not everything is in my control, and by using the harsh language, I am just being someone whom I don’t want to be.” A thorough leader that he is he wants to apply Wabi Sabi to his expectations from his junior staff members.

Nilesh Talreja, Owner UCID specializes in marketing and creatives. He wants to keep letters from his college girlfriend forever. It’s unique how each individual has a different keepsake. He is one respondent who is unknowingly applying Wabi Sabi already. He says, “I don’t ask for things. So I tend to drop the desires. So have learnt to live without much wants” which means happiness in what you already have.

Radha Gupta is a Yoga teacher and an artist @ Kolorkari, she wants to keep a hard disk which is full of her past memories and keep adding to it as looking back always makes her smile. She thinks she has a round nose, probably a not so good feature of her otherwise pretty face but she has accepted it and other flaws in her by practicing the ‘I am grateful for…..” activity that she learned from Yoga. She expects a lot from her near and dear ones and exactly the way she wants. That is where Radha would like to apply Wabi Sabi, to make her relationships healthy.

Sujata Patki, Founder Owner of Thinking Cap Library mentioned a couple of things that she would like to keep. From the list she shared, I picked up these two – “A bag my daughter used to carry to her dance class when she was 10 and a sweater my son wore when he was a toddler.” Clearly she has seen them outgrow and still she wants to keep a part of their childhood with her. I never knew that inanimate objects can epitomize such intricate emotions. She says she is hurtful when she has high temper which she wants to resolve by staying objective at the time of conversing. Just like Radha, she says she wants to apply Wabi Sabi to improve her relations with near and dear ones by lowering her expectations (pertaining to perfection) from others.

 Wabi Sabi in no way promotes shying away from your weaknesses. I feel it takes you closer to your strengths, closer to positivity, closer to what you currently have. It does not restrain our aspirations; rather we can work better as our spirit is free. Whatever we are going to make of our life in future is separate from what we have made of it till date. Appreciating today’s achievements and possessions, coveting them is significant… and that is what Wabi Sabi means to me…

‘Me time’

‘Me Time’

The title itself brings peace to me. Me time is essentially the time that you spend nurturing yourself. We willingly or unwillingly are entangled with people all the time both known and unknown. When not people it is profession or responsibilities. Amidst all that is outside if we could go inwards towards our self-soul for a while it is ‘me time’. Through this blog I wish to put across simple means by which one can bask in the warmth of self.

Hobbies

We were always asked in school and later what are your hobbies? To me hobbies are mindless undemanding activities which leave you refreshed at the end like painting, singing, dancing, coloring, and many more. A fancier term is passion but the moment it is passion it demands efforts. Up to you, but engaging in your hobby is one of the most interesting ways.

Workout and meditation

To many this means a slimming routine – but largely it is for the overall wellbeing. Workout in any form and meditation in any way, when done with complete involvement turns into me time. Looking at it as a compulsory task in a day, leaves you feeling bound.

Lone outings

For people who have the luxury (by luxury I mean support from loved ones, not resources) you can plan a solo trip to some city somewhere. Unornamented ways could be exhibitions or places in your town where you spend some time observing alone. Mumbai is blessed with multiple spots like Hanging Gardens, Sea faces, Mount Mary Church, Hare Ram Hare Krishna Temple…..This would also include movies and plays, in fact there you don’t even need company. Even easier is having your cup of coffee in a nearby cafeteria alone. You must be wondering that all these places are usually crowded? But the idea is you are not in company of someone you know, freeing your mind to just be.

Cook for self

Stomach and mind have a strong connection. Your mind feels happy when you have something that you like and exactly as you want it to taste. Cooking is one mundane chore, which if done with involvement turns into fruitful time spent. Those who stay independent should occasionally chuck the convenience routine and take time off to cook something exotic. Those who stay in family should take time off to cook a small portion only for self.

Create yourself a corner at home

Every house has an aura. Different rooms with different essentials. You can actually create a corner for yourself where you put up quotes, photos, wallpapers, cutouts or showpieces that you believe in. Once you are in that space you unconsciously transcend inwards. For some it can be a French window with their favorite plants, for some it could be a wall with a parchment stating quotes by Buddha, for some it could simply be their bedroom that has display items of their choice……..the crux is things that you believe in

Once we connect with self, we connect better with others too. This write up is so that people stop craving for something not within their reach to access self. In reality me time is the easiest to find as it depends on how you prioritize, the most certain as it requires only your participation and the most fulfilling.

The soul that feeds you as long as you breathe, if provided with attention and care, will feed you better. Gradually it becomes a way of life.

You can always add more ways in which one can spend some time with self in the comments section…..