Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hoping this is a comeback

Today , I thought I should get back here. I started off checking if the people whose blogs I tracked are still around and was rather happy to find all of them still going strong. I started thinking of what to post and decided to begin with why I was away for so long. And even though it might not be of interest to anybody, maybe someday when I come back and look at my blog, I’ll know what kept me busy.

I somehow knew I was made to live the fast life where you are constantly on the move, doing something all the time and when you find a moment to sit back, you are amazed at how time flies. The two years of work life in Mumbai was as fast as it got. All I can remember is the constant running around. Even though I hardly got time to sit back and relax, I loved my life. Coming to the USA, living in a small town like Stony Brook, things were very different. Apart from school, there was not much I was up to. Even though the one and a half year stint at Stony Brook was hectic, I could safely say I had time on hands. When I graduated and knew I was headed to NYC, I was happy. I loved the city. I loved the pace. I embraced the opportunity to be in one of the world’s most spectacular cities whole-heartedly and am on a roll.

For me, the best part about NYC is its metropolitan nature. And that means you have variety in everything – the people, the culture, the food and so on. And I think I am soaking it all up.

When I saw the Latinos salsa, I knew I wanted to sway like them, dance with attitude and style. It’s been a year since I started learning and I am just beginning to catch the beat .

Getting fit was always on the agenda. I finally put the plan into action. I knew I couldn’t sustain the “running on a treadmill” ritual. I definitely get bored easily. Explored a few options and then finalized a boxing club to join. Have been at it for around 6 months now and apart from the amazing feeling of increased strength and stamina, it has done wonders for my confidence levels. And now sky is the limit. There was a time when all I wanted to do was to get some exercise. Now my demands have increased. Recently one of the trainers at my club told me I was getting better and soon I would be in the ring, sparring. I wanted to do my victory dance, but decided it was too silly to go with my macho image :D

And then there was the “falling in love” part of the story that completely changed my life. Well, it wasn’t that dramatic, but I could see my priorities change. The total maniac that Ashley is, he turned me into one as well. There’s never been a single idle moment for the past year and a half. We hiked, skied, ran, danced, rocked, painted homes , played community gardeners, cleaned beaches, fine tuned cooking skills , seriously took up the idea of being “green” and what not! Being together still feels magical :). With Ashley came heavy metal. Though I knew I was an open minded person when it comes to trying out new things, I never thought metal was my thing. But soon I found myself swooning over the guitar. I decided to learn how to play the guitar. Although, with my poor musical skills coupled with an overwhelmingly tight schedule, it’s going super slow, I know one day I’ll be playing “Tornado of Souls”. That’s how compelling the music is.

Another lovely thing that happened to me was Stephanie Gordon, the 17 year old from the Bronx, whom I am mentoring. Thanks to her, I now know what it feels like to be a parent to a teenager! If she’s a brat, it’s just a phase. Blame it on the age. I am sure Stephanie will turn out to be a smart, mature, creative and totally charming adult.

It feels like yesterday when I was in Stony Brook trying to meet a submission deadline, sneaking time in between to make another blog post. One of my wise friends said , if you think time’s zipping past you, it only means you are happy. I couldn’t agree more.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Strange are it's ways!

The heart flutters
And you know what it means.
You think you can push it away
But you'll find its not always, your way.

Life sometimes, wont let you take control.

You wait for it to pass
Hold on to the Hope thats kept you.
You wonder if it could be worse
And come to know theres no end.

Life sometimes, is an unending abyss.

The night's not to be feared.
You gather the courage that will see you through.
You stop the storm stirring up inside,
All it takes for the calm to break is a single tear.

Life sometimes, wont let you win.

The day dawns and jubilant you are
Only to wake up to the empty dark.
No hope, no dream, no powerful thought
Can halt the doom thats chosen you.

Life sometimes, is a melancholy song.

When Life's decided to take control of you
When Life's pushing you down the abyss
When Life's wanting to be the winner
When Life's pulling down your spirit
Teach yourself a lesson in grace
And one in patience
Teach yourself a lesson in humility
And one in goodness

And know that when Life breaks your fall
It'll be the brightest day you've ever seen.
It'll be the highest peak you've ever reached.
It'll be the success you've never lived.

Life always, is strange in its ways.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The "happy people" of the world

There are some people who live life fully, savoring every moment of it, happy. For them, there are no worries, no hassles. You’ll see them smile and you’ll know the warmth of their hearts and the joy they carry within them. As hard as I might try to categorize myself as one of them, I can’t. I might be happy overall, but there are a million worries that plague my mind all the time. I’ve made action plans to deal with them and any plan that fails brings along its share of grief. The good thing about me is that I can appreciate “happy people”. And I have a friend who’s one of them. This post is about him and how his magic has rubbed off on me in many ways.

I was supposed to be on the editorial board of one of these local magazines that was around. And since no one really wrote articles for this silly magazine, I wrote an article for it too, every now and then. I was forever finding ways to skip this activity. God's kind and one fine day, one fine man decided he would save me trouble by writing the article that I was supposed to. That was how I met him first, my “happy friend”. He was in another part of the world those days, busy spreading his cheer around there. The first chat we had was nondescript. There was a very noticeable enthusiasm and energy in his tone, but I stick with my comment that it was ordinary. Young people are generally enthusiastic. We didn’t keep in touch after that.

I was doing a lot of things those days, was a member of uncountable number of committees and organizations. One of these committees was planning an event and was hoping to get a lot of people involved in it. We faced never ending woes with it and finally when all looked fine, there was a setback. We ran out on our options for an experienced compere for the event. That’s when someone suggested this fun fella as an option. It was my “happy friend” whom they were talking about. He had landed in our part of the world a few days back and people found him amusing and what they called “fun”! “An option” was better than “no options” and so we took him on board. We pulled it off decently. I got to know him a bit more that day and knew he was one of them, the "happy people" of the world.

I never spotted him without a smile on his face. He was simple. He was like a little kid when he spoke. He would ramble on forever talking of things that made him happy. He would describe how life’s been super good. When he talked of his home town and his people, his eyes would light up with a special kind of sparkle. He loved what he did, both at work and outside of it. Like all of us, he had his own set of worries, but he paid them no attention and focused on the joys in life. His bunch of friends, the little jokes he wrote and contributed to the magazines around, his ambition of writing a book, the thrill of sky diving, the village life he lived when he was in that other part of the world and so on. There were a million things he could have cribbed about and I knew of it. Like a sadist, I waited for the day when he would give up and tell me about all things that were wrong. That day never came. I met him recently after around 2 years and found nothing had changed. There are only more happy stories to listen to and rejoice :). Yes, this time around, he talked about a few things that to me, looked like they went wrong. But he spoke of it so positively and with so much of an optimistic context that I couldn’t help but be in awe of the happiness of his spirit.

I’ve learnt a lot of things from this fella. I’ve changed in a lot of ways. I’ve become more carefree and joyous, in general. I’ve become “cooler”. I don’t take setbacks to heart that much. I know that nothing is the end of the world. The most valuable lesson I picked up is that life is only as good as you think it is. I’ve in fact, used these lessons when I have been put to test and have seen it through.

As for this beautiful friend of mine, I wish that his joyride never ends!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


The other day, I asked myself if I believed in God. I thought I was sure about the answer. I was shocked when I started fumbling.

I have become so much of a story teller that I could buy my own stories. I could decide one day to endorse a certain idea and then ramble on about it pretending to be convinced and manage to fool not only others but myself. All of the confusion related to whether I agreed to the concept of God began when one fine day, this friend of mine whom I consider genuinely nice, declared she was agnostic. We went on with the discussion for a couple of hours, each one talking about what they thought about the very commonly talked about supernatural powers, religion and related rituals. At the end of the conversation, I started wondering if I was a non-believer in the disguise of a believer. And right there, like a good story teller, I let my imagination loose. Soon I was sure I was only pretending to believe.

Then I told myself that it didn’t really matter whether I was agnostic or a believer as long as I was being good. But I couldn’t carry on with this idea. I had to know exactly what I was, where my beliefs stood. Some flash back and I knew what I was.

It might sound silly but I am certain I’ve seen miracles. They might look like absolutely insignificant events to an outsider who heard the stories, but they meant a lot to me and came by just at the right times. I believe I’ve always been led to making the right choices. Whenever there were two ways to go about things and confusion reigned, all I had to do was sit by myself, do a bit of self talk and mysteriously the answer would become clear. Maybe there is an explanation to it, but no explanation I can think of convinces me enough that it was just me that made it this easy. The happy-go-lucky person that I have been, I am sure I couldn’t have managed it by myself. There was always the companion who would take over when I gave up. To the world it looked like I never gave up.

The last few years haven’t been the best of my years so far. Having lived with grand plans, misery was just waiting to happen. There would have to be some time when I would not be able to live up to my own expectations. And that’s exactly what happened. But all of that didn’t bog me down. Maybe the blessings in life counted up to much more. So I can’t really say the reason my faith thinned was because things weren’t going my way. I had learnt to make the new way, my way. I thought things happened for a reason. I was happy with the reasons given.

Then came along something I had sought for long. I prayed for signs to know I was right. They showed up, the signs. All the time I asked for them, they were right there. It was blissful. I didn’t imagine that the tempest that would attempt to destroy my faith and put me to test was up next. I was caught unawares. Totally. To say I failed would be exaggerating what happened. But I was on the verge of it. I didn’t fall. I made it past the storm. For once, I didn’t have answers to the question I posed to the powers that rule. Yet I knew I wasn’t wrong in my beliefs all this while. I will know my answers when I need to. I was back to being where I was in my equation with God.

I may be completely wrong with how I explained my fumbling, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I know what I am. I would simply not be able to deny Him. I definitely believe.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dealing with Loss

There are people without whom you dont imagine life. Every decision you make consciously or unconsciously revolves around them and at most times you dont consider the scenario where they may not be around. They may be ones whom you knew the day you were born, or ones who came into the picture much later. You may have known them all your life or only for a few years. You may be sharing each day with them or you may be in touch only through thoughts. Whatever categories they fall into, you tend to take them for granted. You imagine them to be the constants of your universe. It’s only when you have lost them that you wake up to realize that they meant quite a bit to you. The year that went by was a year of losses.

I lost family. A major chunk of it. And am still trying to come to terms with it. It’s not easy. In fact it’s rather tough and try as I might have to put it behind me, it keeps coming back randomly and yet regularly. Some, I lost to death, some to the world and its ways. Either case, its hit me hard. Talking about it may be a way to get over it. So here I am, talking about a few of them.

She was central to my plans. She was probably the reason too. If there was anybody apart from my parents I thought about when making decisions, plans, anything, it was her. And she left me unexpectedly. Selfish as it might seem, I prayed for her to be not taken away. Even if she was suffering. I still cannot believe she’s gone. But somehow I’ve learnt to derive strength out of her being with the Gods. I think she’s sitting there watching me. I am waiting for the day I can look up to the heavens and see her smiling. She lives on. So she can still stay central to my plans.

They weren’t the closest of family. But the routine included them. And I had pictured a day when I would be able to make the unexpected happen. It never did. But I thought it would. It was wiped off at one go. The curtains brought down abruptly. To imagine the emptiness and void it has created is painful. It had to be the worst tragedy that’s ever happened to my family. To be looking forward to witnessing the miracle of birth only to meet up with death gorily is the kind of stuff that the worst nightmares are made of. To think that she had to see this happen even as she was recovering from another major setback in life, leaves me numb.

One of them decided, one day, to go away. I didn’t try too hard to make it happen otherwise. I am a bit disappointed with myself that I couldn’t be of help. The drifting away from the other one was expected. So it doesn’t hurt so much.

She also left us unexpectedly. I have admired her for the courage with which she lived the life she had to. I wanted to be able to tell her that one day. She was one person I wanted to see happy. Not because she was a hero who was up to extra ordinary things, but because she was a simpleton who didn’t give up. I shudder at the thought of what would have become of me were I to face similar situations. I only pretend to be brave when I am a real coward. She was a hero for me. She really was. I wish I could tell her that. I can only wish.

When I lost that thing I had, I thought it would be simple to get over it. It wasn’t the most important thing; there wasn’t too much attachment with it, that’s what I told myself. Maybe I was lying to make it easy. I don’t know. But the strain remains. The hurt, it’s not unbearable, but it stays.

They say time heals, you move on. I doubt if it’s that way. I don’t see it happening with me. Every time the thoughts come to mind, they tear me apart. I’ve not learnt to deal with it. I’ve only learnt to escape. To bar the thoughts from coming to me, to pretend it never happened.

On a more optimistic note, maybe time does heal. But it will definitely be long before I am ready to face the truth with grace.