A flash of red


Heavy rain is imminent. Dark, grey clouds are hanging heavy and low in the sky. The gentle breeze ‘that was’ is now gathering momentum, and the leaves are rustling and giggling in anticipation.

I am on my walk, my mind filled with a hundred thoughts, as restless as the leaves. The usual calm that prevails on my walk is missing today. I just accept it and plod on, allowing my thoughts free rein and watching their play.

As I begin my ascent on one of the roads, a flash of red on the pavement catches my eye. From where I am, it looks like a bright red stone or a shiny bit of paper.

When I get closer to this shiny object, I stop in wonder! It is a beautiful petal, reddish-orange in colour, fallen on the grey pavement. Beautiful water droplets adorn this petal, reflecting its vibrant colours even more, and sparkling in the dull evening light.

I am fascinated. The petal lies there, its days over, but still seeking to give joy, still seeking to bring a moment of softness and gentleness to this hard road called life.

I quickly whisk out my phone and capture a picture. The skies open up, and I dash for cover.

I stand under the sheltered walkway, watching the dancing raindrops, the pitter-patter of the rain on the glass ceiling, the swaying plants, the rivulets of water….such beauty.

I think back to my beautiful petal. The rain would have carried away the petal, a drop of bright red floating away in a stream of joy, to places unknown.

The rain peters out. I sigh. I wait awhile. And slowly, the crickets start tuning their instruments for their nightly chorus. Huge silver water drops fall with big plops from the trees. The sky is clear. My mind is bereft of any thought. I walk back home.

Wisps of coffee heaven


When the dawn sky transitions from the deep purple of night to the blue that signifies another new day, I amble in a state of semi-awakedness towards my kitchen. I open the filter coffee maker and add water. I then open my coffee jar, and in that first whiff of invigorating coffee powder, day dawns in my life.

I measure the required scoops into the filter, and switch on the power. The hot water interacts with the coffee, and sends out wisps of coffee heaven.

Courtesy – http://www.pexels.com

I stand there, with an empty mind, just absorbing the aroma of the decoction into my every pore. What a beautiful wait it is. When the filter coffee maker turns off, I start heating milk to that perfect temperature. I pour the hot milk into my stainless steel glass, which has thick, aromatic decoction at its bottom and just the right amount of sugar. I transfer the hot coffee between two glasses to build up froth. The coffee is ready, perfect, frothy and strong. I carry the glass and walk to the sofa.

I sit down and take the first sip, my eyes staring at the walls in my living room. The coffee is perfect, all components blended in total harmony for that exquisite taste. And on this short coffee sojourn, I explore the deeper meaning and purpose of life. I ask questions of myself, I seek answers. I try to make sense of the chaos of everyday life, and the relentless onslaught of time. I think about the past, I envisage the future. I take another sip. I am peaceful and content.

Life is perfect, just the way it is. It may bring challenges, but none so big that my everyday coffee-sojourns cannot resolve. I finish every drop of coffee. And another day officially begins!

Watching the rain….


I received this photo on our family group yesterday – a picture of my little niece and her grandmother watching the heavy rain through the window.

A baby and her grandma, who are seven decades apart, and are looking out the window. My niece is watching the rain, transfixed by the play of the street lights on the falling sheets of rain. Her grandmother derives joy from watching her granddaughter, reveling in her widening eyes, her cooing and her babbling at the rain.

One is beginning this journey called life, where rain will mean splashing fun, paper boats, samosas and hot chocolate. For the other, who has seen life, the rain evokes so many memories of the past, of being a child, of being a teen, a married woman, a mother and now a grandmother. She has seen rainy days and ‘rainy days’ in this long journey called life.

Time seems to stand still, only the lashing rain can be heard. Just like everything else in nature, rainfall is part of the changing seasons; this is also true of our lives, change is happening all around us.

Life flies past in the blink of any eye, but then again, life also stops for a brief beautiful moment like this, when time and age become irrelevant, when only pure love exists.

Metamorphosis


A baby is born. The baby starts tracking moving objects with her eyes. The mom takes her to the park; the baby’s eyes follow a fluttering butterfly. She points out and babbles.

Image courtesy – http://www.cliparting.com

The baby becomes a toddler. She plays in the park with her mom. She runs and chases a pretty yellow butterfly, flitting about like a butterfly herself, secure and comfortable, knowing that her mom is around. She comes back to share a giggle, or to take a biscuit from her mom.

Soon the toddler is in school, learning to hold a pencil, and learning how to draw a beautiful butterfly; learning to colour it with her imagination, adding eyes and a smile, and taking it home, where it is proudly displayed on the refrigerator.

The child grows older, and learns about the life cycle of a butterfly. The child learns about transformation, and learns to label parts, and is awed by science, and shares her learnings with her family.

The child transforms into a teenager, trying to find her own unique identity, while also trying to fit in with her clique of friends. She sees the butterfly as a tattoo, as an expression of who she is – colourful, independent and vibrant.

The teenager grows into a young woman, who seeks love, and sees romance and magic in the beautiful butterflies in the park, as she and her spouse take a leisurely stroll.

The young woman becomes a mother, and points out colourful butterflies to her little son. Butterflies have now become school projects, and she sees them in craft paper, and tubes of paint.

The young mother is now the mom of teenagers. She has more time, and takes up painting. She paints colourful flowers and butterflies.

Her children move on to university, to their own careers and independent lives, to marriage and kids.

She is now a grandmother, baking butterfly shaped cookies for her grandchildren, and pointing out butterflies to them in her beautiful garden.

She is old, and frail now. Her grandchildren are older, and take her for walks in the park. She looks at the butterflies with her feeble eyesight.

She marvels at creation, and at this beautiful metamorphosis that is inevitable.

Just a few more minutes…


I am sitting on the living room couch, poring over some manual, when my son walks in. His t-shirt catches my eye; it says “Just a few minutes”.

This gets me thinking. This phrase ‘just a few minutes’ plays a very important role in our lives. As kids, when our Dad would wake us up on school day mornings, especially during winter, my sisters and I would furrow deeper into our blankets, and mumble from the recesses of sleep, “Dad, just a few minutes more, please?” On somedays, we were indulged, on other days, not so.

Image courtesy – canstockphoto.com

Now, as a mother, when I wake my kids up every morning, “just a few more minutes” is their constant refrain. And I find myself behaving exactly like my father did, playing both good mom and bad mom.

But those ‘just few minutes’ are indeed very special. Minutes to savour and treasure, a few moments to prolong the joys of sleep, of not having to leave the blanket and rush into the mundane.

We hear this phrase in many other situations as well – when kids beg for a few more minutes of television time, or phone time or play time.

Then again, when one is working out on the treadmill or elliptical trainer, one has to push oneself to the finish line with these same words – “just a few more minutes.” The most difficult few minutes – minutes that truly move at a snail’s pace.

Then there are those days as school kids, when we waited for the “just a few minutes” before the school bell would ring, so that we could come home and play with our friends.

And then, there were all those super important moments in our lives, where time stood suspended and we had to wait “just a few minutes” for final exams to finish, for graduation gowns to flutter, for the first job offer to come our way, for marriage and vows, for the birth of a child.

We can never forget the anticipation, the wait and the joys of all those moments, and the “just a few minutes” that preceded all of them.

And that is how it will always be, where we try to condense the boring moments, and try to wish them away, while we try to stretch the pleasurable moments, and constantly strive to maximize the joy from them.

And now, as I sip my afternoon cup of coffee….I relish every sip. After all, what are “just a few more minutes” in the grand scheme of things.

Chance meeting


We are in a cab, making our way across the city of Bengaluru in India.

As a mother, I have reached ‘that’ stage, where I am not given a choice to opt for a window seat in any vehicle. I am sandwiched between my kids. It is a pleasant day, and we have rolled down the windows.My husband sits in the front, lost in thought, and I suspect, also trying to catch a few winks.

There is heavy traffic, and our progress is stilted. The kids play a game of word building.

After a while, the congestion eases, and we start moving.

All of a sudden, an autorickshaw pulls up alongside our cab. The auto driver waves wildly at our cab driver, and shouts out a loud greeting.

Our cab driver is pepped-up now. He recognizes an old friend. And for the next hundred meters, the two vehicles drive in perfect synchronization.

Image courtesy – Clipart Panda

A time during which the two men exchange pleasantries and catch-up on each others’ lives. Their grins are infectious, their excitement palpable.

Our cabbie sits up straighter, and looks recharged.

Soon, the time comes for the two friends to part ways. One takes a left, the other takes a right. They say their goodbyes.

Our journey continues.

This makes me think. We meet many people who travel with us on this journey called life, who share our time, space, emotions and memories.

For reasons unknown, we do not meet most of these people ever again; but sometimes we do bump into someone we know from our past.

Life pauses for a bit for us to rewind and remember, and then moves on, taking us towards new experiences and people.

What is time?


image

        Courtesy – cmcacorner.com

There is one sentence that I hear very often  -“I don’t have the time.” I say this a lot too!

The days just seem to fly. The New Year is already 16 days old!

What is this thing we call ‘time’? Why don’t we ever have enough time?

What is time? I ask myself.

Time is a resource. Each of us has been given a certain number of years, months, days and hours to live on this planet. We call this ‘time’.

However, ‘my’ time is not ‘your’ time. Each of us has ‘time vouchers’ of different denominations.  These vouchers keep depleting in value, and unused vouchers can never be reclaimed.

Time is a ‘synonym’ for our lives. We should put it the best use possible.

We should spend time on things that actually matter. We should take the time to laugh, love, hug and cuddle.

We should take out time to dance in the rain, sing in the bathroom and ‘de-phone’ ourselves.

We should spend time reading, meeting family and going on long walks.

We should spend less time worrying and more time smiling.

We should allow time to burst into a hundred fragments of children’s laughter. We should allow time to curl around our hearts with beautiful music.

We should allow time to tease our tongue with new food flavours. We should allow time to tip-toe all around us when we fall into a nice deep sleep.

We should allow time to gallop with us as we strive to attain our dreams. We should allow time to give us the equanimity to accept what is.

Our life and time are one and the same. So let’s harness this resource we have, to do all the things that truly matter.

Does ‘A Here & A Now’ exist?


If the past and future did not exist, we would live every day without any points of reference.

For each task there is an associated memory from the past or a task to be completed in the future.

So, do we really live in the present or are these only associations from the past?

I ponder deeply about this because every single time I smell mangoes, I am transported back to childhood, whenever I listen to eighties’ music, my high school days come to mind.

So where is the now in these moments?

Again, most things I do today are with tomorrow in mind. I plan this, I plan that.

So then, what is ‘the here and the now’, without these associations ? Lots of books on dealing with stress talk about letting go of the past and focussing on the present and not worrying about the future.

I know there is a difference between tasks to be completed in the future vs. worrying about the future; as also the difference between reminiscing about the past vs. allowing it to haunt your present.

But I am still left wondering if one can have a here and a now with no trappings of the past or the future.

Would love your views on this.

What do we truly own?


Many years ago, when my daughter was around four, one of my cousins had come to visit us, with her son, who was the same age as my daughter.

The children eyed each other and then slowly left the comfort of their moms’ presence and decided to play and explore the house together.

We lived in an apartment complex, on the 20th floor. The view was fantastic and my daughter pointed out the beach and the trees to her cousin. Then she pointed to the garden below (belonging to the complex) and said proudly, “See that’s my garden.”

Her cousin was not to be outdone. He said, “No, this is my garden.”

“No, mine”, said my daughter firmly.

The boy was tough as nails, “IT IS MINE”, he screamed.

“Miiiiiinnnnnnneeeeee”, my daughter shouted right back.

Stamping feet and tears threatened. Both kids pitifully pointed out to the garden below and claimed possession. It was a question of toddler egos now, both stood firm, eyes blazing with indignation writ large on their faces.

As moms, we knew they would quickly come to blows! We quickly separated and consoled them, each of us assuring our child that the garden belonged to him or her.

I laugh at the memory now. But seriously, this set me thinking.

What are the things that are truly ours? When we live we covet, possess, buy and own. We hoard, we stack, we trash and we buy more.

When we leave this world, we take nothing with us. Every single thing that we possessed would have become like the garden in the apartment complex, belonging to some one else.

What we will probably truly own is space in the hearts of people we loved and who loved us back, the wishes of people whom we may have helped, the sunshine we brought to somebody’s life maybe!

We will never truly own anything else.

11 Beautiful Women – My Friends for Life


Eight years ago, we left our home land and moved to a new country.  The first few days flew by in unpacking and settling down.  In the evenings I would take the children to the play area and there, I met this woman, who gave me a warm smile. I smiled back and we chit-chatted for a bit.  As I got more familiar with the place, I started exploring the complex, varying my evening walking route every day.

Every evening, my smile-friend and a group of 7-8 women would sit and talk by the pool side.  I envied them their camaraderie; they would laugh, talk and entertain their children.  I would stop to say hello sometimes. Their conversations would stop midway, not because I was intruding, but because they did not know what to say to me; neither did I, for that matter.  Slowly, I became familiar with their faces and their apartment numbers; I guess they got used to seeing me around.

After about a few months, on another one of my evening strolls, they called out to me to come and sit with them.  Slowly but surely, I was accepted into the group.  I took my baby steps in friendship, trusting a totally new group of people, inviting them over, going to their homes, and finally grasped the dynamics of this group of eleven beautiful women.

That was eight years ago. These women are my best friends now; we totally rock as a group.  We are so attuned to each other that just mere glances at each other can set us off into peals of laughter.  We are different people from different backgrounds & cultures, but our value-systems are the same.  We can laugh together, cry together, shop together, eat together, and tease each other.  We can call each other at any time of the day or night just for a good girlie-talk.  We are the queens of impromptu potlucks and lunches and surprise birthday parties.  We rag our husbands, nag our children and brag to each other about what good moms we are.

We have been there for each other, when some of us lost our Dads or Moms; when the children were in medical emergencies, when we just wanted to call each other because we were low.  We meet often with our families, and it is a pleasure to see our children growing up and creating the early bonds of friendship, which we hope will blossom into lasting relationships.

We know each other’s tastes, likes and dislikes.  We can argue without being misunderstood.  We are so comfortable together, that  we are already planning out how we can all age gracefully, and retire together, maybe in the same city.  We have a chat group that beeps 24 x 7. Our conversations continue non-stop, now in person, now on the phone, now on chat & sometimes back again on the phone.

Some of these beautiful women have moved to other countries and cities, some of them have gone and come back. However, nothing changes in the group. We are truly friends for life, irrespective of where we are physically.

These 11 beautiful women give me stability and love, they walk with me when I am down, accept me as I am and give generously of their time, whenever I need it.

Thank you my dear friends.