Letting Go

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An angry yell jolts me out of my afternoon siesta. I wake up, rub my eyes, and look out of the window to see the 80-year old Melinda at it again. My eyes sweep across her gate. So it is the plumber this time that has invoked her wrath. I sigh, and lay down again in my cozy bed to lose some more. But Melinda refuses to get out of my mind. I wonder, why would a woman in her riper years, after having led a fulfilling life, with no apparent worries or wants, still remain so bitter?

I sit up and think about a conversation I had long ago with Melinda, during one of her more pleasant moods. She had talked about many things from her past, all of which involved some slight she had endured by some distant relative, some insult at the hands of an acquaintance, and some things that her siblings ought to have done but had failed to do for her. No matter how I tried to turn the conversation, she kept bringing up memories of instances where she felt she had been victimized. I remember finding it all too exasperating after a point and bringing the conversation to a hasty close. I also remember feeling down the rest of that day, as an effect of hearing two hours full of complaints and an endless string of woes.

Now, as I realize that it is the huge Pandora’s Box of bitter memories that she is still treasuring, yes, treasuring because she holds them all so tight to her heart and refuses to let go, that is spoiling her joy of the present. She has had many good moments in her life. She has done her duty as a mother perfectly, brought up her children in a wonderful manner and given them the best they could wish in life. Her children adore her and take good care of her. She had a loving and heavenly married life and was adored like a queen by her husband till his death after having lived a full life. There is nothing in her life that could have counted as a grave misfortune or a big calamity. Very rarely do people reach their old age with such a light baggage. But instead of enjoying the lightness of mind that should come after having lived a full life, Melinda is bent on holding on to the excess baggage that is actually of no use to her, her bitter memories.

I wonder, what is she going to get from these bitter memories, except for a constant feeling of victimization and a heaviness of heart? I do not know what the circumstances were in which those bitter memories took place. I do not know who was right, she or those who victimized her. But one thing is clear. Whoever it was who gave those bitter memories to Melinda have probably moved on with their life. They have probably even forgotten the whole episode ever since. They are not carrying that baggage anymore. Then why should Melinda alone bear that burden?

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Many philosophers, great thinkers implore us to let go of the past. We are asked to ‘travel light and reach the destination safe’ in the journey of life. But something stops people like Melinda from practicing that. I wonder if it is ego. I wish I knew the answer so that I could help her to lead the life of peace, calm and contentment she deserves. Others can hurt us only to the extent we let them hurt us. If only Melinda took a deep breath and forgave them all with a blanket pardon, no conditions attached, her life would take a turn for the better and she would be able to enjoy the rest of her days. If, and it’s a huge if, only her ego lets her.

This was first published in the magazine Infinite Thoughts, March 2013 issue.

This post has been written as part of the A-Z Challenge. Do keep visiting this blog on more gyan on life and my perception of it, all this month.

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Inception

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Few movies have an impact on me that is as profound and long lasting as ‘Inception.’ Not because of the way it has been made, or the actors, or the story, all of which are brilliant in their own right, but because of the extraordinary concept it is based on.

Inception.

“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.”

After Cobb stated that, it seems so obvious. The whole of human history is based on the impact of Inception of ideas, isn’t it. Great wars have been fought on the basis of a small seed of an idea that was incepted into a vulnerable mind. Be it MacBeth or Mahabharata and Ramayana, the greatest sagas hinge on the smallest of ideas incepted into a receptive mind. Rama, Lakshamana and Seetha were sent on exile because Kooni (Manthara) sowed the seeds of the idea that her son should rule the kingdom into Kaikeyi’s mind. The Kauravas went to war with the Pandavas because Shakuni put the idea into first Dhrutarashtra’s and then Duryodhana’s mind that the Pandavas were a threat to their supremacy. Rama banished Seetha after returning back to Ayodhya, thanks to the seeds of doubt sowed in his mind by the mindless banter between a washerman and his wife.

Inception blog post

Our lives are filled with thoughts and actions borne out of the inception of an idea somewhere deep inside the mind. A childhood hurt leads to a son antagonizing his parents for life. A story heard about a daughter-in-law’s cunning prompts a new mother-in-law to view her son’s wife with doubt and apprehension. A boy given more kheer than his sister incepts into him the idea that he is more entitled than his female sibling, and leads him to establish his entitlement over the woman’s body too, by raping her.

Ideas are very powerful. Which is why, it is important to inculcate the right ideas into the minds of our younger generation. As it is, they get zillions of mixed messages from all around them. As parents, we have a responsibility to empower them to steer through the idea deluge. Even then, you can’t really exercise control over which ideas are incepted and which aren’t into those impressionable minds.

Ideas, whether we like them or not, whether they are good or bad, will continue to shape human history, as they have been doing forever. Perhaps, training our minds to view them objectively, to be aware, and to defer judgment will help us nurture the right ideas and weed out unnecessary ones.

This post has been written as part of the A-Z Challenge. Do keep visiting this blog on more gyan on life and my perception of it, all this month.

7 H’s That Steer My Life

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This post has been brewing in my head from yesterday, but a combination of hectic activity and total inactivity made sure I missed yesterday’s deadline. But, like the dialog of a Tamil movie goes, “we may be late, but are still latest.” So, without much further delay, here is my H post.

Like the title says, today I am going to talk about a few Hs that I live by. Or at least, try to.

Help – I must admit I am not able to help people as much as I would like to, but the one principle that always stays with me is – Help Ever, Hurt Never. I try to remember this whenever possible, and try to follow it in whatever way I can.

Heal – Time is a great healer. Whatever wrong you perceive has been done to you today, or you have done to someone, heals with time. in grave cases the wound might not go away completely, some hurt might remain for life. Yet, time mutes the sharpest of pains. Time heals. And it is better that way. You wouldn’t want to live through your life bogged down with buckets full of bitterness.

Health – When you have it, you ignore it. And when it fails, you run pillar to post to restore it. I have seen this happen time and again, with myself, with others. The last 5 months gave me sleepless nights over my health. It may be the oldest of cliches, but health definitely is wealth. For if you don’t have good health, you end up spending large portions of your wealth to restore it.

Head, Heart, Hand synchronization – Another policy I try to abide by, as much as possible. It is the synchronization of your mind, heart and action – thought, word and deed. Many a time we feel one thing, think another, and end up doing a completely different thing. Keeping head, heart and hand in sync helps you lead your life with as little regret and as much peace as possible.

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Harness – Finally, harness the positivity around you. The world around us is filled with negativity, negative thoughts, emotions and deeds. Harsh words, cunning actions, seeing all this around you tend to make you lose the positive perspective on life. Try to ignore the negatives, and focus on the positive aspects. That is the only way you can move forward in the journey of life with light baggage.

 

This post has been written as part of the A-Z Challenge. Do keep visiting this blog on more gyan on life and my perception of it, all this month.

Demons Among Us

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Nirbhaya. 2 School girls raped in Badaun. An 8 year old raped in Bangalore. A nun here. A boy there. India seems to be taken by a storm of sexual abuses at present. Other countries issue warnings to their women visiting ours, telling them how to keep themselves from getting raped. Politicians utter nonsensical statements, media gurus hyperventilate over each and every case that gets discovered. A ‘panel’ of ‘experts’ sit in a studio and scream at the top of their voices, in a competition to see who screams longest. Long op-eds and opinions fill up newspapers, magazines and even tabloids, not to mention their online versions. Social media goes ‘viral’, with people spewing venom (without being entirely sure on whom, just the all-encompassing ‘They’).

And then? You go back to work. To the dal that’s cooking for dinner. To the insurance premium that needs to be paid by tomorrow. To the assignment that needs to be submitted next week. To the girlfriend who needs to be impressed.

‘They’ go back to their work too. Completely innocuous looking. Even making everyone believe they are compassionate and caring. Approaching the little 6-year old whose lying on her bed with an Enid Blyton in her hand, her legs bent at the knee, wide apart with the gay abandon of childhood, her skirt askew. They reach for places that shouldn’t be reached, and when the little bird squirms, they silence her with the promise of a chocolate or the threat of punishment. They touch her newly blossoming busts and tongue her slender lips, all the while making her believe they are doing her a favor.

They are not strangers or criminals conniving to inflict suffering upon the young girl. They are people the child loves and holds in great esteem. They are her grandpas, uncles, chachas and mamas.

How many of you feel shocked to read this? Not many, right? For this happens in every home. Believe me, every single, seemingly honorable, respectable home. In every city, in every state. And yes, in every single country on Earth. There was even a video sometime back that talked of the rate of rapes in UK, which seemed as worse, if not more, as our country.

The truth is – demons are everywhere, even in our homes.

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Then how do we save our children and ourselves, from them?

I am not expert, I can only offer suggestions. The solution is awareness, in ourselves, in our children. Awareness of what is going on around us, awareness of our own selves, awareness of the people around us. Being open with the child and letting them know they can open their hearts to us, take us into their confidence.

And hope, that we won’t be the next victim.

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What do you think we can do? Let us know in the comments.

This post has been written as part of the A-Z Challenge. Do keep visiting this blog on more gyan on life and my perception of it, all this month.