For the love of music

In the bathroom.

Parked on a side street.

Hiding in the closet.

Morning, evening, night.

At every given opportunity, almost on the verge shirking familial responsibilities.

And pretty much every opportunity that I get with my phone, I am hiding away pursuing what seems to be a newfound, insatiable hunger. A certain addiction!

About a year ago, I chanced upon an app called Smule, a karaoke app. VIP members have access to songs from multiple languages and choose to sing and record a certain verse and leave the following verses of that song to another.  Anyone that searches that particular song, is welcome to join. Little did I know that this app would change my life forever.  Let me tell you, I am no singer.  The furthest I have gone with my base voice and singing, is my bathroom.  With no training in music and absolutely no understanding of beats or musical notes, I am what one calls an auditory learner.  This addiction has been consuming me for months.  However, I find this to be a good kind of addiction to have for multiple reasons.

  • This platform allows for otherwise shy singers, to truly sing to their heart’s content alongside strangers.
  • I have found wonderful people who encourage one another to sing.  Strangers leave comments with words and emoticons. It brings me back to my core belief – this is indeed a wonderful world to live in.
  • This app made me realize how latent memory, when triggered, can prove to be so deep.  There are many songs to which I never knew I had all the lyrics to.  These are songs I have heard when I was very young. Yet, when the music cues in, I had every word.
  • It is huge stress buster and a wonderful outlet.

And above all, it can be very entertaining to strangers too!

On a Thursday morning two weeks ago, I was parked on a side street where I park every morning at 8 am.  And I was browsing through my phone trying to find right song to bray to, as I noticed a cop car drive past me, peering into my tinted glasses.  I didn’t think too much of it, until a few seconds later I looked up at my rear view mirror to find him parked right behind me.  My first thought was, “I am parked. I wonder why he’s coming up to me?” So brought my window down and greeted him with a pleasant smile.

“Good morning, officer.”

“Good morning, ma’am.  May I ask what you are doing here?”

“Singing”, I said, with the biggest grin on my face.

“Pardon me?”, he said in complete bewilderment.

“Singing”, I repeated, as I picked up my phone to show him the app and began explaining all about the app.  It was in that very moment the two of us burst into hysterical bouts of laughter.

He quickly gained composure and added, “Ma’am, neighbours on this street have seen your vehicle parked here every morning.  They never see anyone get off the vehicle and the vehicle drives away after a few minutes.  They suspected nefarious activity and called it in.”

At that point, I began laughing so hard that tears were trickling down my cheeks and he turned around to take leave.  Through my hysterics, I managed to tell him that he totally made my day.

Moral of the story : Whether you sing or you bray to entertain yourself, there is always more than one benefit to it!!


Inward journey, interesting results

A recent three day retreat of inward journey was exhilarating, joyful, calming and exhausting, all at once.  The physical body  rebelled at the 2:45 am wake up calls.  Monkey mind tortured the body, as the body chose to sit still.  There were intense moments of energy surges. A ton of pent up emotions flowed in the name of tears and energies were exchanged through hugs.  The room reverberated with deafening silence.  The sounds of sobs became a common occurrence in a room filled with almost 450 people.  After three days of listening to profoundly wonderful and transforming lectures, combined with long periods of sitting still, I emerged, a somewhat transformed human being (or so it seems). What surprised me was the inner chaotic voice settled and surprised my outer experience in my everyday world.  And I seem to be experiencing some interesting results.

The seeming disappearance (temporary ?) of the sock thief : In the physical world, I know for a fact that I have only two children, however, I am reasonably sure that as I delivered them, I also delivered an invisible sock thief, for it is only after their birth that single socks have begun to disappear.  Regardless of how few loads of laundry I do, I have always land up with single socks.  I commend my two children who, instead of cringing at my parental sock-neglectfulness, have now become proud wearers of different socks.  Since my return from my retreat, I have found all pairs of matching socks.  The sock thief has perhaps ended his sojourn with us. Amen!

Order in a chaotic home : As I trotted back into my home, I was welcomed to a rather regular sight, that surprisingly did not perturb me. Piled up loads of laundry in every nook that I could see.  Household chores, grocery shopping, dirty car, work-related issues and much more.  I could barely believe myself when I smiled my way through washing and folding, what seemed like 40 loads of laundry.  I hopped over toys like a joyous bunny in the spring time.  A trip to the grocery store on a grey day seemed like a picnic on a bright summer day.  Work-related emails seemed to take quarter of the time that it would before.  And I know that what has distinctly changed is indeed my attitude towards the issues that once used to be irritants.

The idiot box takes the brunt : Since my return from the retreat, the need to engage in my inner world is so powerful that my favourite sitcoms have suffered a major blow.  Some of the characters must feel bereft of an ardent fan.  My family has lost a sitcom companion and the TRP has dropped by one and thus having a domino effect on all the missed opportunities for commercials selling products that were seemingly important to buy and hoard.  I have been robbed of the “knowledge” that I could have gained by watching commercials about those pharmaceutical products that cause distress in the undistressed.

Sedated monkey mind : It has been over a week since I have returned from the trip.  What surprised me was the sense of calmness that prevails since – a true appreciation for life, joy in the littlest of things,  non-judgmental peaceful days, a heartfelt gratitude for all setbacks, a deeper sense of community, a profound sense of compassion, a rather wonderful understanding of the macro and the dissipating importance of the micro. It most definitely seems like the a powerful sedation of the monkey mind. And a passionate desire to continue to do what was once seemingly difficult to do – practicing silence every single day.



PS : Thank you Google images for the image.

Atypical bonds

Much has been said about tv being addictive for adults and children alike.  Studies across the globe are proving how the idiot box is influencing people’s lives, decisions, fashion, politics and the works.  While I have no reason to doubt all those theories, I have a statistically-unproven theory of my own.  Typically, statements like these, I support with personal evidence and as far as I am concerned,  can become a globally accepted theory in itself.

Idiot-box-bonds :): You can never deny this.  Tell me you haven’t bonded with a complete stranger or someone who you didn’t think you would ever get along with, over a TV series.  Come on…… Rake your brains. You have at least one person.  Now what does that tell you? I call these idiot-box-bonds.  So fun!!!.  Now you need to understand the deeper meaning here.  What you just did was take your mind away from plotting how to sabotage someone you detest to, “Oh wow. We do have something in common after all”.  Hence, my theory : Idiot-box-bonds thwart potentially hazardous situations.

Ice-breaker 🙂 : Who said, only weather or politics related topics are ice-breaker conversations in uncomfortable situations – elevators / parties / doctor’s office waiting rooms? Let me tell you.  TV-series conversations can completely take you away from getting into uncomfortable conversations.  Such conversations will get juicy and animated and highly inspiring for more non-sense.  Now, I thoroughly enjoy the feeling of disengaging from the mundaneness of everyday life by engaging in idiot-box-series conversations. Hence, my theory : Idiot-box is great for mental therapy. Brings joy.

“Yay-i-dont-have-it” : How often do you watch something on tv and go “Omg. Am I not glad that I don’t live there or I am so happy that didn’t happen in my neighbourhood or Oh wow, people like that even exist? Think about it. What gets reported on tv? The odd stories, right? Does it not bring you to thinking about how lucky you are? I don’t know about you, but for me, it brings me back all the time to how fortunate I am.  Hence, my theory : Idiot box is great for mindfullness and gratitude. 😀 😀

Acquaintances become friends : Oh this is perhaps very specific to me.  A friend known to from years ago and I recently connected on a particular popular series and we realize how both of us perhaps need to go to a tv rehab to get over our addiction for the series! We bonded over characters. Wrote to each other why we related to them.  We even talked about moving closer to each other (we are only a couple of continents away from each other!!!), so we could continue to share our idiot-box-bond.  Hence, my theory : Idiot box is great for the real estate market!

Ever wondered what stress busters are? Babbling on blog is my way of busting the stress, I don’t have. :D.  There is a certain joy in expressing my thoughts to strangers that I will never meet (Lucky them!).  And hence the joy of filterless babbles!!!:)




Photo courtesy – Google images.

Oh nothing but a humorous whining session!

I started out this post as for a different reason, however, my situation changed. It was more meant to run away from morons.  However, I figured the image or the title might attract some enthusiasts to perhaps take a peak at my insanity.  The title should actually read “Runs”.

Powerful.  Unstoppable.  Ruthless. Never ending.  You would think I am describing a book from the Newyork times bestsellers.  But no, thats how a recent virus attack on my stomach felt.  It was brutal.  I often find the only way to combat situations like these mentally are through some sense of humour, for humour is all there is.

North American bathrooms : When I first moved to North America, I awed at the size of bathrooms.  I even wondered why they would waste so much space and at how there was a dry area and a wet area (unlike in India).  Its only when I had the runs, I realized how the dry North American bathrooms are designed to double up as make-shift bedrooms as well.  My bathroom can well accommodate a single floor mattress for easy access to the toilet.  I even envisioned a nook to put my reading light on because given that I was going to get no sleep, yet horizontal is the only other position of comfort for the few minutes between the runs, I could have read about two lines at a time at least!

The inner creator : In times of crisis is when I believe the inner creator awakens.  Since the idea of mattress on the bathroom floor didn’t seem like a hygienic option, I figured I could design “Reclining toilets for the runs”.  The seat would have a lever on one side (you may buy one that suits your preference – lever on the left or right).  After the attack, you can pull the lever and it will recline to almost horizontal position. Thus saving you time to go back to bed.  The upper end model comes with a tv option on one side and a hand washing sink on the other. This option is also very good during spousal fights.

Physics : Never in my life ever would I have thought that about the speed at which I could travel to the washroom from my bed or about the time taken between pants down to sitting on the toilet or the strength and endurance needed to walk back to the bed, until the next run again.  The inner physicist in me is awake and is working on the numbers.  For the first time ever, I feel a bit like Einstein.

Disinfecting : Who would have thought I would look at every surface like plague that I would decide that it was time to use my “Get-my-spouse-to-disinfect-all surfaces – at – 3 am” card.  Oh boy, that was one grumpy spouse!

Food : As a person that lives to eat, I despised every smell, every picture and swore at every facebook post that even remotely was associated with food.  As I flipped through the tv channels to kill time, I even threw profanities at the channel guide that seemed to show “food network” as every second channel!

Yet in the end, I emerge a winner.  A winner and a smiler, for the ordeal is over and food awaits and life invites.


Struggles of an incessant thinker

I work with children and I am amazed by their ability to completely be absorbed in that moment that they are in, whether a tantrum or a smile or the act of devouring food. It is indeed a spectacular sight.  It also makes me very envious of them because I work hard at my meditations to re-learn what I knew as a child.

I consider myself a seasoned beginner, (yeah I know – complete oxymoron) as far as meditation is concerned. It means I have been at it for a while now and I make conscious efforts to meditate every day and even if I don’t, I bring about my awareness to the moment several times in the day, often savouring the moment.  However, I am appalled by my mind’s ability to follow a chain of thought and wander off like Hansel and Gretel and often, I do leave myself bread crumbs in order to find my way back to the original thought that led me to go off on a forbidden trail.  However, the struggle remains.  Hence, I came up with my version of solutions. While some of you might find my thoughts downright crazy, I hope some others can find humour in my solutions.  In this day and age, it is all about technology and with absolutely no knowledge of inner workings of any gadget, I present the following ingenius implant gadgets. The size and implant mechanism shall be discussed on a separate blog.

Thought-gps : This device will track every thought and its vibrational frequency.  The in-built warning system will beep in three variable sounds – low, medium and loud, depending on how negative the thought is.  The device will also maintain data that can be used to analyse the patterns of these thoughts.

Thought-anchor : This device can be activated at the time when a positive thought arises.  The device will ensure that this thought stays anchored in the present state for as long as the person chooses to have it anchored.  The timer option gives the person multiple levels of time to keep the thought. The upgraded version, scheduled for phase 2 development, will offer a high memory capacity to store these anchors for future references.

Thought-sensitizer : This works best in conjunction with the Thought-anchor.  Every positive thought that the Thought-anchor catches on to, the Thought-sensitizer will give power to.  A reminder will be sent to the person to start the deep breathing exercises that will power up the sensitizer, adding electro-magnetic field to the thought.

At the moment, the three gadgets are in R&D stage.  Wonder if the banks will fund me and in the meantime the business plan is being written up for it.  Until then, I shall continue to slog with my ever-active brain to calm down the brain waves through sitting still during my meditations.  A friend of mine that heard me talk about these gadgets seemed to have a simpler solution for me, “You need to be put down!”