The Secret of Happiness

In a world that is perpetually searching for Happiness, he teaches me about finding joy in simple things every day – a hug, a kiss, a long walk, running barefeet in the grass, a whiff of fragrance from the evening primrose..

He shows me each day what living life to the fullest means, why trust is synonymous with love and belonging, that friendship is acceptance and how words are an unnecessary ingredient when there are soul connections….

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The ‘If Only’s of daily life

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The city is dry, parched, thirsty for rain.  The colours of March are long gone.

The red, pink and the occasional purple geraniums and the orange nasturtiums have given way to greyish green leaves that fall ever too soon to the ground only to be raised by the hot winds from the west in a dusty swirl.

The Met department had predicted rains on Thursday evening. The clouds dutifuly gathered on the horizon darkening the evening skies and encouraging many a hopeful city dweller. But like the promises that are made but never kept, they floated away almost as quickly as they had come.

And we woke up Friday morning to yet another dry, dusty, hot day looming ahead of us.

This doesn’t seem to have deterred the forever hopeful met department from cheerfully making more enthusiastic predictions of rain for the weekend!

 

I often wonder how many of us are actually thankful for the constant supply of cool fresh water that (still!!) flow out of our taps all throughout the 24 hours of the day. And the electricity that keeps our air-conditioning running.

There are hundreds and thousands out there for whom these are  luxuries they can only dare imagine.

Like that group of impish little children at the inetersection a little distance away from my hospital. On regular days, they’d diligently pester each driver to buy whatever trinklet they were taking turns to sell in the few minutes till the light turned green or they got shooed away. Since the past two weeks, however, they’ve taken to asking for cold water.

It makes me incredibly sad….

 

It is amazing how cruel as a race we humans have become!

The other day I had a passionate verbal altercation with Mr.X ( For the lack of a better term, I call him my colony-mate)

X is of the opinion that the water bowls that the likes of me leave on the footpath outside our colony gates attract stray dogs, which are a menace to the humans. According to X, helping animals is ‘ fine and fashionable’ but humans are a far superior race and when it comes to the interests of humans, animal needs are to be sacrificed.

Hence the water bowls must go!

 

To say that the likes of him awakens my primitive destructivel instincts would be an understatement!

Leaving aside water bowls and stray dogs, it escapes me how a person can go through life living with a notion of such audacious superiority!

Of course it is entirely a wastage of one’s energies to reason with such a man about the number of thirsty living creatures ( in addition to the dogs that he hates) that would drink out of a small bowl of water – the small squirrels, birds, a line of bees that always line the rim and sip water unmindful of the crow that drinks from the same bowl, perched on the other side of the rim.

But I being me, did not let the opportunity pass by and mercilessly imparted a good amount of education on the necessity of being kind to ‘all living creatures great and small’, much to the chagrin of X.

The result?

He now pretends to be busy with his phone, the button on his cuff or the imaginary speck of dust on his shirt  whenever I ( or anyone remotely resembling me, I’m sure) cross his path..!

Instead he has taken to admonishing the security guards for filling the water bowls!

I wonder if it is the kindness that these simple uneducated men carry in their hearts, or my threat that I’ll call animal-abuse groups if anyone dares hurt these dogs that make them ignore Mr.X.

Anyway, for now, the arrangement is working!

The bowls have remained where they are. In spite of Mr.X!

 

 

 

22 Zen Wisdom You can laugh at!

Zen Laughter

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.

4. Don’t be irreplaceable. If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.

5. Always remember that you’re unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

12. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

13. Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like ‘The Force’. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night

Of Books, Sonnets and such like amusements

 

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What is in a Date? It would be just as mundane as any other.

Or would it?

23 April

 

UNESCO declared this date in 1996 as World Book and Copyright Day to pay worldwide tribute to books, authors, publishers and to collectively encourage ‘discovery of The Pleasure of Reading’ !

But it is only now that the world is largely waking up to discover why!!

23rd April 2016

The hashtags of social media spread far more rapidly than a wild fire!! The google logo stimulates speedier research than frontpage news headlines in conventional newspapers!

400 years since the 23rd of April 1616.

400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. And less famously of Cervantes and Garcilaso de la Vega !

Have you wondered what Shakespeare would have to say had he been around to see himself trending on social media ?

Something to this effect, I’m sure…..

“You speak an infinite deal of nothing.”
―  The Merchant of Venice

 

 

 

GO ON….

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Go on…live your life just the way you want to…

Find warm friendships, smile a lot, laugh out loud, do happy things..

Drive fast, feel the wind rushing past on your face, feel free, find beautiful moments, make lovely memories…

Get angry, scream, cry…

Make wild love, sing along, dance freely, create something beautiful, find challenges and enjoy winning them all…

Enjoy feeling handsome & attractive…

Feel proud, look up to yourself, find inspiration in unusual places, wear beautiful clothes…

Write those poems if only in your head, look at yourself in the mirror and smile…

Fall in love, adore, let the movies make you cry, relish your popcorn, play, run, let someone else win…

Hug tighter, love fiercely, kiss deeply, wish earnestly, give freely….

GO ON, My Friend..Live your life just the way YOU want to…

ANSWERS

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“DOGS” is the answer.
Who cares what the question is!

YES! Dogs and Chocolates!

…and a new book
…and a cup of lemon tea

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…and a new fountain pen
…and learning a new song
…and the smell of freshly ground cocoa beans
…and walking around by myself under a clear starry sky at midnight

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…and night driving
…and the phone buzzing your favourite person’s ringtone
…and a real conversation
…and a letter
…and making a beautiful photograph
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…and binge shopping at 2 am
…and a pile of freshly pressed clothes
…and tiny new leaves on my potted plant

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…and that great movie I’ve been waiting for, since ages
…and finding THAT ceramic coffee cup

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In between getting lost trying to understand the questions and finding the answers, life rushes by, till one day one realises the original questions donot matter any more.

It’s not about understanding the questions.
It’s about fitting the answers to them. Answers that have always been there……

In this vastness….

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It is a wondrous feeling…..
To be able to love someone or something with utmost conviction and an entirety that is stronger and all encompassing than if the world was rolled into one tiny ball that fitted into your cupped hands…..

No whys, no whens..

Isn’t that in reality an utter unshakeable belief in a Golden heart..?

And maybe an overwhelming veneration….?

Middle aged nights

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2:41 AM, 10 Jan 2016

The night is ‘middle aged’.. .slipping into a comfortable peace and quietitude that’s missing in its  youth..

Our city nights…the occasional airplane flying past, distant whistle of a train passing, nightly trucks picking up speed they’re denied during the day, soulful music floating from afar…someone finding a lost love story on the radio or just the night guard  trying to keep himself awake..

These are vulnerable, these hours….
But it is an honest vulnerability. ..peaceful, naked, truthful like a child..

I don’t  like our ‘young nights’. Here in this concrete jungle, there’s  nothing like a young night. They’re just extended busy evenings…noisy, rushed, squeezed into hours before ‘sleep time’.
Busy hours trying to accomodate everything that was lost during the day’s rush to achieve whatever everyone’s out to achieve – every single day..!

I don’t  like the ‘old nights’ either.
They’re too close to dawn…too close to light and the fear of revelation.
Too close to the hours everyone pulls out their masks. …including me.

May be, finally, I’ve deciphered why I’m a 3 AM person!

Musings

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2:23 AM, 6th Jan 2016

“Sometimes little things that someone says, by way of regular conversation, sticks to the subconscious mind. And then at some unconnected time, space and context, resurfaces with a new meaning.
It often helps, guides, calms and inspires”.
…I was in a reminiscent mood,when I told K this today.

We were in yet another one of what we label
‘spiritual discourses above the comprehension of many around us’, with an arrogance that we instantly agreed only proved how far we still had to travel before leaving ‘the Id and self’ behind!

But then, isn’t the very fact that one realises this, the first step towards whatever?
We are certainly at least scratching the surface of a spiritual transformation.

Anyway, I can’t quite recall what exactly it was K had said at some point in the past that came back as the answer I was seeking last week.
It was something he had uttered quite unmindfully.
So much so that I didn’t myself realise I had stored it in my “subconscious drawer”!

And on a note of déjà vu, I realised today I was finding yet another answer in yet another one of such unmindful comments my mind had fished out of my “S.drawer” !

” We have all the answers we seek inside us”,  he had said. ” You just have to be quiet enough to hear them”.

Practicing being quiet…Easier said than done!! Enlightenment under a Banyan tree, or otherwise, can’t be that easy! But then one must try.

Maybe today’s highly spirited discussion will one day be the source of an answer. Maybe I have added many answers to my “S. Drawer”.

There’s this book that he mentioned…he had been guided to it by someone..the stories and legends associated with Sage Vashisth’s advice to Rama. The more we delved into its teachings, the more it led us deeper into the similarities with Zen philosophy and Sufi Tasawwuf.
And how every philosophy, religion and belief system, though designed for peace can only lead to it by renouncing the fixed mindless ritual systems for spirituality …
The only true way to peace..the practice of Mindfulness, Living in the NOW, the Power of the present.

If only this was as easy….

One whole week of the new year is passé…in a blink!
As I turned the leaf of my daily calender today, I realized how much has changed between now and 365 days ago.

For a moment I wondered if,given a chance, I’d chose to erase and restart at 31 Dec 2014. Or maybe earlier.

My very own “back to the future time machine” !
What exactly would I do differently, at what decisive moments or would I even realise those were decisive moments?
And at what cost?

And wouldn’t going back to the future to restart defeat the very notion of mindful living..the Power of Now?

Is that why we are designed to live forwards, without a rewind, pause and erase button?