Thursday Thoughts…

Here’s a thought…I am so much more regular when I’ve got a theme going or a challenge. Are you like that? Can you be regular and diligent without a deadline looming? Even if it is a passion? I mean I love to write and take pictures and I like to write poetry too but of late it has forsaken me. I say this because I never seem to be able to think up a poem on my own…as in, when something, anything really, affects me deeply (whether at a conscious or sub-conscious level), I let it stew for a while…ruminate in my soul as it were and see if something emerges. It used to be that a poem would often emerge…scattered words and thoughts that would wander into my consciousness and coalesce gently into an idea and birth an emotion that felt ‘right deep down in my gut’. That’s when I would sit down and put pen to paper and eventually they would flow and make sense.

These days however that happens less and less frequently. I always seem to be ‘doing’ and never taking time out to just ‘be still’. And although I’m doing things I love to do, I crave the stillness that births my poetry and so this morning when a thought came into my head, uncalled for, sudden and persistent, I felt fulfilled…like when you find that elusive piece of the puzzle, that puts everything in the right perspective? Just like that 🙂 It’s just a couple of lines but it helped me understand what’s been going on underneath all that ‘doing’. My family is ageing…everyone I love is growing older, and age brings with it a unique set of circumstance and issues – most of which have appear to have no solutions. And while for the most part I can cope, lately I think the worry & concern that’s never far below the surface must have increased ever so slightly tipping the scales, so that it finally ran over into my consciousness. Well that’s what I think anyway.

And for some reason the first thought that then popped into my head was of this picture of a leaf in it’s final stages that I took ages ago. It’s a favourite of mine…because of the intricate patterns that a bug has created, delicate and fragile like Life itself. And so it is with Dementia…as Time eats away some parts of the brain and spares others, creating patterns that change the very essence of who we thought we once were. So relentless, so merciless, so final. It’s hard to watch the people who were pillars of your world fade away and slowly disappear, while you watch on helpless. It is hard and hurtful and tremendously scary, coz through the constant concern for their well-being, there’s a little anxious voice that whispers, “Will this happen to me too? What if this happens to me?” and “What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?” in a never-ending loop.

And because it is so scary, we push it deep down and cover it with all the ‘stuff’ of Life, until we feel insulated enough to go about our routine as normally as we can. And we get pretty good at the cover-up, so that we begin to believe that things will indeed be alright, until Wham! One day – a thought emerges…

Entropy

P. S. I’ve decided to make ‘Thursday Thoughts’ into a weekly thing…just one more attempt at being regular at writing and a place where I can lighten my load by sharing it with you guys! And don’t worry…not every Thursday will be dark & heavy 😛 It’s not in my nature to stay that way long! What do you think? I’m game if you are.

Something’s Gotta Give!

Last week I forgot a birthday. That in itself is unremarkable. I do it all the time. I’m one of those people who remembers a Birthday months in advance and usually up to a week of the actually date…only to have it slip away entirely from memory on the Day itself! Truth be told, I have now reached a stage where I can’t even remember that I’ve forgotten (if you get what I mean!), without someone reminding me, like my friend did a few days ago! You know those nagging sensations one relies on…the ones that warn, ‘You sure you’re not forgetting something?’ or ‘Wait a sec, isn’t it so & so’s B’day today? What’s the date? Geez is it March already?!’…turns out those dim with age too (lets hope it’s just age and nothing more serious!). So you see, the whole thing is pretty hopeless!

With the advent of memory-enhancing tools like Facebook, one would think forgetting Birthdays, Anniversaries and any number of important dates and events would be a thing of the past…apparently not! Turns out, the mind only remembers what it’s focused on in the moment (at least mine does!), and so I am perfectly capable of logging on to FB, ignoring all important reminders, and heading straight to my farm for an hour of relaxing, brainless activity 😛 I know! That’s just me! These last two weeks have only served to make matters worse. It’s almost like 2011 has ushered in a period of frenzied activity. There’s been some cosmic shifting of gears and Life is taking on a rogue treadmill-like quality…repetitive, unending & perpetually rushed! Maybe I should just blame it all on Saturn? The scariest thing (to a lousy multi-tasker like me), is that it doesn’t feel like a phase. I look into the future and all I see is more of the same. When did Life turn into this giant hamster-wheel??

I know time-management is the key…whatever you may think, I’m not an idiot! But lets face facts here…I suck at it! I do! Being a ‘go-with-the-flow’ kind of person has it’s advantages but one of the biggest cons is that I suck at planning and sticking to schedules. I generally let my interests of the moment consume me to the point where I’m neglecting important but boring stuff, like helping Ishaan with his homework (although in principle, I don’t think toddlers should even have homework!), doing groceries, deciding menus (ugh!!), doing laundry, collecting laundry, returning calls and the like. Unfortunately, this level of involvement doesn’t affect my fondness for food, enhancing it instead to humongous proportions! There goes that particular weight-loss mantra 😛 No, what bothers me now, is that in all of this constant running around, the tables have turned and I haven’t even noticed! Suddenly I’m swamped in the mundane and it’s leaving me no time to do the things that keep me from losing my mind…writing, reading, taking pictures, having fun, breathing!!

But it isn’t just the physical activity that’s draining. The frenetic brain-buzz’s the real killer! There are many changes happening and innumerable decisions to be made…it’s causing serious brain-drain. It seems these days as if I’m always weighing pros and cons, considering alternatives, anticipating problems and researching solutions…whew! Who would have imagined ‘thinking’ is one of the most exhausting activities there is! Most days I live in a kind of fugue, moving from one thought to the other, one task to another, mechanically. Something’s gotta give! This is not a state of mind I want to be in for long, as you may well imagine. Who would?

Prioritize…that’s the key, but I find that easier to do with chores and the physical stuff than thoughts. Have you tried it? It’s much more difficult, given that, thoughts don’t obey any rules, popping in and out of the mind with irritating nonchalance! It demands an extraordinary amount of discipline and a steely resolve, none of which I seem able to drum up right now. So forgive & forget if this post irritates you as much as it’s irritating me right now! I’m just trying to write myself back into…writing. Trying to build up the discipline and gather the steely resolve, bit by bit, one post at a time. This post has been in my head for a while now, jostling for space with a million others, and I’ve only just managed to get it on paper, in short bursts of free time, over the last couple of days. It’s been frustrating, but I’ve got it done. I know I must find time (somewhere, somehow), to write at least 3 posts a week or suffer insanity. I think I can. I know I must.

Thanks for listening, People.

Silence is Golden

Munira, this poem is dedicated to you, coz it came to me after our conversation yesterday 🙂 It’s a thought that repeats itself to me ever so often, in the midst of the busy days and overwhelming events that threaten to run riot. Silence IS truly golden. Essential, life-saving, energizing and rejuvenating! We could all use a bit of quiet in our lives, nah?

So here goes! It’s the first time I’ve abandoned rhyme and not been disgusted with the result 😛 Hope you like 🙂

Image from deviantart.com

Silence is Golden

Buzzing like bees in my head,

A million thoughts,

Like scrambled eggs and mindless static,

Bubbling white-hot, in molten frenzy.

Amidst the chaos, a slippery thread…

Slim & tenuous…of sanity.

My own personal SOS to the cosmos.

Help it signals, Listen…

Help me unscramble, cool and simplify

this anarchy.

Breathe, it says. A voice or is it just sound?

Inhale! And I do.

Deeply, without reserve, with confidence.

As if my breath were a cleansing breeze,

A luminous zephyr piercing the dark.

At first, Nothing.

No sudden bursts of clarity,

No jagged bolts of enlightenment,

Again. Breathe. Deeper, with abandon.

Watch. Wait. Surrender.

A slow shimmer on the horizon,

Dream or reality?

A gradual glimmer of hope,

Illusion or fact?

The beginnings of a magical dawn? Perhaps.

Watch. Wait. Surrender.

Yes! Yes, I do believe!

Silence. Golden. Peace.

– Harsha

Munira is a fellow Sagittarian & a sensitive, talented, witty writer! In the words of Anne, ‘A Kindred Spirit’ 🙂 She lives in Karachi, Pakistan and offers a slice of her life and times through her blog Munira’s Bubble. I love her tag line – Have fingers, Will Type! Enough said. Do check her out at the link above 🙂

Happy Weekend People!


A Headful of Cotton!

Captain Cottonhead!

It’s how I’ve been feeling these last two days!

Periods of light-headedness, with buoyant, wispy-white thoughts floating in my head; alternating with times when my head feels weighted down, heavy,  bound by thick strands of worry. It could be one of several reasons – my body is pumped full of antibiotics for a cold that has now lingered far too long; PMS (Uugh!); subconscious fears of Ishaan starting play-school and how that whole scene will play out; general ennui after a period of intense, happy activity (the recent wedding I attended); reading too much of Ms. Blyton and the Famous Five off having adventures on Kirrin island, eating all that delicious food, that made my life and meals seem oh so dull & ordinary; the weather (rain – of that irritating on again, off again variety) and many more.

I lay in bed, two nights ago, somewhere on the cusp of sleep and wakefulness, thinking about stuff (I detest cusps, astrological and otherwise! They just seem like a fancy way of saying you’re neither here nor there, you’re in Limbo, which is where exactly?), what next and other such existential questions when the phrase just popped into my head. I said it out loud to myself, unheeding of snoring hubby, and I thought, “Interesting title for a blog post!”, never mind what about! That can come later…that’s what happens when you have a headful of cotton, you don’t make any sense until all the strands and threads are woven neatly into a fabric, no loose ends. And that can take a while or forever or may never happen, for all I know. Luckily, I still remembered it in the morning. Why cotton? your guess is as good as mine! I don’t think the nature of the fabric really matters, or does it? A headful of silk or nylon or rayon just doesn’t seem right. Wool is good and applicable, but I didn’t think of it, perhaps ‘coz I’m a woman of the tropics. Cotton on the other hand, aside from linen is my favorite fabric (again, it’s a tropical thing) and just seemed at that moment to define how I felt. I held on to the line for two whole days, during which I didn’t do much at all, except think about all the stuff I have to do…trust me my to do list is beginning to read like a short story, if not a full-blown novel! I just don’t seem to be able to find the motivation to get started, to get going…sigh…

Maybe that’s what led me to re-reading Life of Pi. (Another of my life-mantras, ‘When in doubt, reach for a book!’ If nothing else, they give you a valid reason to procrastinate longer.) And so I picked two books, Life of Pi and The Silmarillion (not that strange a combination when you think about it!), took them upstairs, and began to read. I decided to start with Life of Pi, simply because I really wanted to start with the other! I’ve read both before and the latter several times and I knew that if I started on it again, I would never get around to Life of Pi. My choice has reaffirmed my belief that when in need, fate leads you down the path you need to take. This is the exact book I needed to get me out of my funk and cotton-fields and back to the real world, which is weird (or maybe not), because the story is so surreal and requires suspension of all disbelief! All I can say is Richard Parker, in all his glorious orange magnificence, did for me, exactly what he did for Piscine Molitor Patel – yanked him out of stupor and into action.

Hence this post…after two days of dawdling I finally sat myself down and forced myself to write. This is the result…can’t say it’s about anything in particular ‘coz nothing in particular is happening at the moment. But next week will bring one of Goa’s major festivals, Ganesh Chaturthi‘, the festival of the Elephant God which is celebrated in almost every household, including ours, and that will be an exciting if stressful time. This is Ishaan’s first Chaturthi and I’m looking forward to his reactions 🙂 We have 3 houses to visit this year, ours, my Mom’s and my Granny’s!

So there, that wasn’t too bad was it? Now, off to finish Pi. Will post review when I’m done.

And it is the weekend isn’t it? Happy week-ending People 🙂


Inception: Dream @ your own Risk!

Aah! Just back from watching Inception and here’s the thing…but really, when we say that, what do we mean? ‘Coz where is ‘here’ exactly? Is it perhaps my Layer 1 dream or your layer 3; maybe we’re in a dream within a dream, the deeper layers; or maybe the both of us are in someone else’s Layer 4; or of course the whole damn planet is just God’s giant dream/illusion/fantasy (call it whatever) that he dreamed up just to amuse himself, watching us torture ourselves as we struggle to find meaning in his madness, order within his chaos!! Whew…see, that’s what a good movie does, uh huh…drives you up the wall, round the bend, until you’re unsure what to think and whether it’s even worth your while to think!

But first things first…today was an important first for me, and I must confess it had a dream-like quality to it 😉 I’ve never been to see a movie alone, ever! Maybe that’s not such a big thing for you guys but it is for me. But hubby’s off to Delhi for a week-long training program and if I don’t make the effort to get out the house myself, I’m going to be house-bound for the next week, which will not be pretty – not for me and most definitely not for those around me! So, much to Mom’s horror, which she did not bother conceal, I made plans to see Inception, a movie I knew hubby would rather miss. His taste for movies runs very much to shady Bollywood potboilers, which remain largely unheard of by normal people such as myself and of course, you, dear readers! (Ooh, interesting subject for a whole other post!) To do him justice, I don’t think he actually watches them, as much as sits with unseeing eyes glued to the screen, remotes at his fingertips, fast-forwarding every song and much of the movie itself, while enjoying his favorite tipple and a bowl of salted cashews!! He’s rather a dear…really 😉

Where were we? Yup…with Mom cautioning me to be careful like I was a 6-yr old (Will you be Ok in the theater all alone? Don’t talk to strangers! Don’t look at strangers! Do you have to go today? Don’t talk to strangers! Blah blah…) , after she realized, I was going to go through with it. All she did was make me more nervous than I already was under my bravado! Well anyway, I made my way to the theater and I can tell you, was pretty cool, when I asked for just the one ticket – “One aisle seat please,” I said with an assurance I was slowly beginning to feel. The rest was a cakewalk…no strange looks, no weird stares from fellow movie-watchers. With my confidence increasing every moment, I browsed the bookshop, bought a book, and armed with a cup of chilli-seasoned corn, entered the theater like the seasoned moviegoer I was :).

The movie began and I was lost to the world for the next 2 and a half hours. That’s not to say I always understood what I was watching. Indeed until Ariadne appeared with her probing questions and demands for explanations, I must confess, I was rather lost, except for vague notions, that ideas were like a virus and hard to get rid of once they took root (Don’t know whether I believe that. Would depend on the idea methinks.), but could be ‘extracted’ by people who were trained for this purpose. All of this I took to mean that nothing was safe, indeed your very thoughts, which one could argue, formed your ‘essence’, were unsafe, unprotected from mind-thieves, even in your subconscious, over which, in any case, you had no control! This from what I could gather seemed the basic premise of the movie. If one believes in ‘Extraction’ then I suppose ‘Inception’ or planting thoughts into the mind while it is dreaming doesn’t seem all that far-fetched! What’s tricky however is making the subject feel like he thought of it all by himself, ‘pure inspiration’ is what they call it in the movie. I don’t know whether that exists, but it’s a fascinating theory! By now my mind was whirling, and all the rest – the blurred boundaries between our dreamworlds and our realities, the actual mechanics of constructing such a world and all of that layering business…was like so much air over my head, until friendly Ariadne appeared and thankfully asked the same burning questions I had! Otherwise, this movie would I’m afraid, have remained very much in the realm of ‘I haven’t got a clue’ movies, along with the Matrix series, Minority Report and others like them 😛 My brother would have totally got this movie, though, enjoyed it’s spectacular production and explained the concept to me in simplified lingo, much like he did with the Matrix series 🙂 Then we would have argued and debated until the cows came home…missed him.

I’m still not sure I’ve understood the whole ‘Mal’ episode or the exact nature of ‘the limbo’ state, but I think I’ve understood enough to get the basic message, which is no different than what I have always known and believed to be true – love, family, friends, forgiveness and letting go are the most important things in life, regardless of what your dreaming! That leaves me wondering whether we need a multi-million dollar movie to drive home the basic message! Well, as long as they’re not my millions 😉 I guess! Having said that, I totally enjoyed the special effects, especially the zero-gravity fight sequences :-). Also loved the idea of the ‘totem’ – a one-of-a-kind object that members of the team carry to help ground them in their own realities. The ensemble cast is superlative, which takes the movie to a whole other level! The movie is well scripted and the plot well thought out, or maybe I just think that, ‘coz even if it weren’t, it’s not like I could tell 😉 I’m not a DiCaprio fan, but he’s an excellent actor and gets better with every movie. My favorites were Tom Hardy as Eames, Ken Watanabe as Saito and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur, in that order! Am completely floored by Hardy’s portrayal of the genius Eames with his sharp mind, his nonchalance when faced with extreme danger and his dry humor. A new favorite is born 🙂 It was also wonderful to see Michael Caine even if just in a tiny role 🙂 A fine actor!

And so to the end…I knew they weren’t going to make it simple, that wouldn’t be in character 😉 But I like to think the top toppled over which meant that Cobb was finally home in his reality with his children. Isn’t that what it would mean? Hang on…maybe the perfectly spinning top is a sign that he’s in his true reality? Oh to hell with the top and all the rest…in the end, he sees his children and they latch on to him tightly and everyone’s happy and that’s the best ending there is…in dreams or reality 🙂

Dream at your own risk, people 😉