March 2017 – Two 11-year-old boys met by the poolside in a Dominican Republic resort. The following three days were spent in one another’s company – breakfast, lunch, dinner, table tennis, beach volleyball and more. The parents met briefly to say hello to one another and the conversation was courteous and minimal. The families came from different continents – Europe and North America, spoke different languages, had different food habits and yet the boys got along like a house on fire. One family left on the fourth day. A tearful farewell was an understatement. The boys exchanged phone numbers.
Upon coming home, the North American family decided to be courteous and send a text thanking the other family for the wonderful time the boys had together and also inviting them to come visit, should they ever felt like seeing North America. The response to that text, from the father of the European boy read, “Sure, our son will visit you in the summer”. What followed was a series of family room discussions about the possibility of the visit. There were a lot of apprehensions about how the child would adjust to food habits because the North American family is predominantly vegetarian. The father of the European boy was reasonably sure that his son was easy going with food and would adjust well. The boys spoke to one another a few times a week in preparation for the trip, also exchanging their interests and likes and dislikes.
July 2017 : Summer arrived and so did the boy from Europe (alone, may I add!). It was a jam-packed three weeks of camping and sightseeing and eating out and fun. It was about meeting more North American families and sharing stories and also having a lot of them asking, “Wait, what? He came alone? You just met in Dominican Republic for four days? Do you know the family?”
This is no fable. This is real life. This is the story of our family and a European family, one of immense trust and friendship. I don’t know what came upon the European family to trust us in the little time that the boys spent with one another in Dominican Republic. They took a leap of faith and sent their son to us for three weeks. To me, this is what real world should be. This is what we as human beings need to believe in more. The family didn’t see us differently. They knew their son would be safe and loved and cared for. In a world of mistrust and chaos and hatred, this friendship comes as a breath of fresh air. It comes as hope and it reaffirms my faith in mankind. . The experience humbled us as a family. It was one of the best summers we have had. We look forward to a life-long friendship.
“Never say never”, is a phrase that has a much deeper meaning in my life than ever before. A few years ago I met my spouse, fell in love, got married, had children and swore, “Never again will I seek anything in my life ever”. Boy, was I wrong! Through the years, life rolled on with ups and downs and I began to feel a void. I began to search. Search for answers and often, the intensity of such a search will yield some pretty quick results. And it happened to me.
We met two years ago. It was brief. It happened in a hotel. We were together for four days. It was my first experience with that kind of joy. And life changed. Dramatically changed. I knew in my heart there was a shift. And then I came back to my real life – work, home, children, challenges etc. But those four days were memorable. I yearned for more. A few months later it happened again and then a year later again. The sporadic meetings intensified in between. Daytime was spent dreaming of midnight rendezvous. Typically it was around the 2 – 3 am that we would connect. There was a lot of deep breathing that would happen. The house was silent. Everyone was in a slumber. And no one suspected anything. The meetings over a period in time became regular and now are a daily occurrence and much of the family, friends and colleagues are seeing that shift – loads of laughter and giggles, conscious efforts at spending time with family, a glow on the face, a sudden appreciation for littlest things and a very different outlook to life. Very YOLO attitude. A spousal confrontation is right around the corner. My love for sleep has diminished dramatically. On the contrary, an inner alarm wakes me up around 2-3 am.
From whatever is happening on a daily basis, I know this is going to intensify. I am consumed by it already. And I have friends who have begun asking me questions specific to the issue. The ones that know me well get a decent daily download of my post midnight experience and the others on the periphery are watching to see where this will lead. History has it that anyone who has gone down this path has never really returned to their original life. And yes, he has a name. A powerful one. I know that he is the only one that can make my dreams come true and they have been coming true too. His name is “pineal gland”. :). I meet him in my everyday meditations during the beautiful wee hours of the morning. Life is bliss.
My first experience with the pineal gland happened when I went for a meditation conference two years ago. Although I loved it, I wasn’t regular at it. But the subsequent two conferences put me in a very different frame of mind and now my post midnight rendezvous with the pineal gland is the highlight of any given night. 🙂
Image courtesy : http://www.wakingtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/yin-yang-final.jpg
All my life long I have wanted to travel and I have been blessed with a fair bit and if anything that I dream of, is more travel. I dream of travel. I write about travelling. I talk about travelling and pretty much my everyday life revolves around the thought of travelling. Having said that I am yet to make travelling my lifestyle. I mean the kind of travel where it is an unknown destination – get into the car and drive aimlessly, stop wherever and do whatever kind of travel. The boon and bane of a family life!
It is indeed a dangerous combination to have a travelling mind and static life, bound by domestic choices made years ago. It is not easy to break away and suddenly go on trips to exotic places. Questions arise about cost, timing and much more. It has always left me with a feeling deep sense of despair, an unsettled yearning! I have basic understanding of quantum physics and I know that such despair paves way for more such feelings and occurrences in the future. I had to find that bridge of peace and I found it. And a tad of insanity always helps to find that bridge!
Here is I was, in front of that red door that I have never opened before nor has another man on this planet. Now, I had gone through the motions of this in my head and it was pretty simple – open the door, step in, turn on the light and explore. That’s it. Easy! The key reached the key hole and clicked and I opened the door and stepped inside. It was a darkness I had experienced only inside a cave in Texas – pitch dark. I fumbled with my flash light and turned it on and looked for the closest wall with the light switch. Phew, it was near that heavy red door that had shut itself by now. Flick! And unlike a dramatic set of high beam lights in a soccer field, came on a dim light. My flashlight was more powerful than that. I suspiciously took a step along the wall and walked on, as my left hand touched another switch. Yet another dim light. My hand felt dust and cobwebs. First thought – Let’s get on maid mode! But I held off on that one. I decided to walk further. And the wall had many more switches. I kept walking as I kept turning them on. As I turned back and looked, I found I had walked perhaps a mile and the dim light shone a few feet away from the wall. There was a certain intrigue to this space. Black empty space. It was nothing that I had envisioned before. I had seen places – beautiful, gorgeous, sad, scary places, but nothing felt as soothing as this space. It was my first escapade within. Thus began my beautiful journey inside my own heart – one that hasn’t been travelled to by anyone. I have cobwebs and dust to clear, certain corners need bleaching, yet other need some colour and I know one day this space will be controlled by one switch and that bright light will shine. Until then I am on maid mode! And I found that perfect place to travel to – no conflict with money, no conflict with scheduling, no conflict with people. I am on my own on a travel plan whenever I want to at any time of the day or night. Right now my plan is to pump the space with love. Air filled with love. Not love for a person or thing or animal. Just love. Off I go for now. Awesome!
I love documentaries and often I watch them on various channels. Some I record and some I watch live and some I watch and re-watch and savour. I happened to chance upon one such and I was beyond disgusted and I had to stop watching it mid way because it upset me so badly. And I had to think and re-think as to why it upset me so badly because it wasn’t about injustice or slavery or child endangerment or inequality or for that matter religion. The documentary was simply dedicated to worshipping a movie star. I had to stop watching it because it upset me as to how many young people were such ardent followers and such worshippers of a movie star. Normally, something as trivial would have had no impact on me, because it is indeed their life and their choice and none of my business. But it truly got me thinking.
I am not one for patronizing. However, if you truly are a fan of someone, here are some ways you can absolutely show your respect for that person.
It is not just about creating a facebook page and updating his/her pictures on a regular basis. It is about doing good work in his/her name (if you wish to give that person credit). It could be anything from random acts of kindness to humans and animals alike, to speaking kindly to others to actually engaging in productive work that contributes to social well being.
It is not about screaming slogans of praise. It is about imbibing and influencing your near and dear ones in creating a healthy atmosphere of oneness.
It is not at all about sacrificing your life for that person, instead enriching the lives of the ones that are around you by being responsible and caring.
It is not just about tattooing his/her name on your arm, instead getting involved at grassroot levels in making an impact on society.
And last but not the least, how about not forgetting our everyday heroes of our lives – moms, dads, siblings, children, friendly strangers, the garbage man, the grocery store clerk, the bus driver, the mailman, the somebody and the nobody. In our reverence for a person that we only see on screen, we often forget how our everyday heroes contribute so substantially to our lives and our families and our immediate society. I salute those off-screen heroes that make my everyday life sparkle. Thank you for enriching my life today and everyday.
Predominantly what I am today is because I was raised by my grandparents. It is one blessing that has brought me to where I am today. Especially the values imbibed in me at a very young age by my grandfather. Interestingly, although I lived a good bit of my life in a country where nothing happens on time, I happened to be raised by a man who took things to the opposite extreme. I am reasonably sure that in the history of mankind, no train has ever left before time, yet every travel of ours would mean we reached the train station an hour and a half before the train even arrived on the platform. Perhaps my ability to notice little things about people started then, because I belong to a generation where technology meant a 20″/20″ colour tv with one channel and that tv was at home. The only way to entertain oneself at a train platform was to observe people. As luck would have it, I moved to the west and the western sense of punctuality sits very well with my personality. I sure have far less anxieties now.
Habits like punctuality never die and I have been cursed with it. I take it five steps ahead of my grandfather. Had he lived, he would have been a proud man for sure. However, it has rendered me the “punctuality clown” of any given group
- Friends often make fun of me asking if I were at the airport the Monday before the Friday of a scheduled travel.
- Colleagues bet with one another to see if I would indeed be late one day, so one can get a free coffee.
- It seems like I am always the first one in a conference hall, sometimes even before it has been opened! I have been mistaken for housekeeping!
- Friends who are lackadaisical, often find my punctuality annoying and terrifying. Repeated efforts of mine to tell people that I do not have similar expectations of others, are ignored. I have explained so many times that it comes from my inability to deal with the anxiety of last minute rush and my twisted belief that I am on time because I am respectful of other people’s time. (While the other person may not consider it respectful that I am punctual!)
- I am often seen as rigid.
- For a surprise birthday party that a friend threw for me, she had to specify, “It’s a very casual event. So don’t show up on time or before time!!!!”
- Landed at a friend’s place for dinner promptly only to realize that they were still looking for the pasta! It caused them a lot of anxiety because they had the preconceived notion about people from my land of birth! That was embarrassing to embarrass the host!
- The rare occasion where I was late to check into a hotel 5 minutes because I couldn’t find parking, rendered me palpitating. It was supposed to have been a relaxed weekend at a hotel! Not the G20 summit!
- I often struggle within to beat my own punctuality. If I have to be somewhere by 8, I will struggle and beat that time by a few minutes and if I fail in beating that few minutes and indeed arrive at 8, then my wonky mind begins working on ways to beat it the next time!
- My spouse is the exact opposite, rendering our relationship rather strained on a certain OCD behaviour of mine.
All in all, world problems, hunger, starvation, slavery ought to have importance in my thoughts. Yet, being punctual seems to have the highest priority!
A hyper sensitive topic in a politically correct environment.
Oh don’t you worry, this is no venue for me to profess my ideas of the mystical energy that surrounds us. And ooops sorry if you landed this page by sheer accident, for if you are trying to find answers to your problems, this page isn’t the one. This is aimed thoroughly at people that I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis just because I have made a choice to. My facebook only has people that are personally known to me. And yet there are so many that have impacted my life beautifully and yet aren’t on facebook. Having said that, the ones that are on my friends list are people with whom I have spent some memorable times. What I seem to have missed is how some of them have completely missed important lessons in life.
God needs us : It seems like a given that God needs social media today to make his presence known to the world. Really? I find that fascinating. People, wake up!!! Which part of this story are you not getting? God had the best social media that mankind has ever seen. How else has He / She permeated this earth for the thousands of years? You have got to believe He / She is more intelligent than using merely those on social media to permeate earth!
Healing through Amen : Did you actually believe a child or an animal will heal with your typing Amen? Pause here for a minute and think and then read on please. I urge you to use that part of the body that is not used very much by humans. Yes, I am indeed referring to the brain.
Sharing God’s pictures brings luck : Really? Define luck.
Not sharing God’s images brings bad luck : Wow.
People, here is my two cents. My keyboard bears the brunt of my wrath as I type this.
- You want to help healing? Get off the couch. Go on the streets, find someone in need, offer words of solace, offer them shelter, offer them food, offer them water, bring them to a safe place. That is how you help healing. That is how you define Amen. That is the true meaning of that word.
- You want luck ? How about you change the way you think? How about you give before you ask? How about you don’t associate luck with something magical that happens only once in a lifetime? How about you practice gratitude for just being alive, for a roof over your head, for food on your plate, for clean drinking water, for health, for family, for work, for money, for friends, for education ?
- You don’t want bad luck ? Then stop spreading fear amongst people. Stop agonizing over what might happen. For the only way you can create joy and peace around you, is by embodying it and spreading it.
- Work of God? Be kind to everyone. Help the ones you see in need. Don’t complain about little things. Have healthy thoughts. Perform random acts of kindness. Smile at nothing. Appreciate nature. You are indeed doing His / Her work by simply living well. And please for God’s sake, stop making a mockery of yourself.