Condensed and Distilled

It is the last day of the year today and looking back and saying goodbye to 2014, I am attempting to recap it by revisiting some of my tweets from the year and finding a place for them here on my blog.
I signed up for Twitter earlier this year, a few months before I started this blog and in the process of experimenting and sharing bits of my writing there, I found myself developing an increasing appreciation for the succinctness that the medium imposes- a 140 character limit per tweet to put your point across.
I welcomed the challenge of writing within the confines of this framework and found that I quite liked the process of condensing and distilling my words to fit into a tweet or two.

In fond reminiscence, here are some themes that I explored and attempted to write pithy bits about:

Truth and the Intangibles

  • Truth-
    greatest when told to our own selves
    sacred when committed to silently
    irrevocable when affirmed by action
    irrefutable when risked all for.
  • Intangible –
    where thoughts linger
    where dreams take flight
    where the heart feels
    where the soul knows.
  • That moment in life when you learn to take yourself out of the equation and see the truth for what it is.
    That.
  • That moment of utter honest acceptance of life and relinquishing of all illusions of control. That realization of self-agency.
    That.

Silence

  • ‘Silence’ could mean any of these- an expression of solidarity, a call for action, a cry for help. Take your pick and if you care to act, do so.
  • Apathy, cowardice or inaction- is one necessarily worse than the other?
  • Whether we like it or not, our silence speaks for us. It is then, in our interest to ensure that it conveys what we want to express.

Love and Kinship

  • Love
    an ode to your highest ideal self
    a compassionate kinship to the ‘not so great’ parts of you,
    an overwhelming desire for your well being.
  • You –
    a beacon, a lighthouse
    forever present
    anchoring me
    to my deepest sense of self.
    Am I adrift
    or is it our lives that are
    floating by?
  • Who are we
    stripped away of all facades-
    the many layers of personas that we adorn?
    I am called by many names,
    prefixes and suffixes,
    each one clamoring to claim
    a bit of my soul-
    the core that remains
    rightfully mine
    and
    steadfastly yours.
  • Home
    is a heart – pure,
    free from malice, artifice or duplicity;
    where I feel understood and accepted.
    Home
    is that mutual regard
    where we rejoice in kinship
    surrounded by love and goodwill,
    laughter and joy.
    Home
    is where I found you.

Penitence

  • Understanding and empathy are fine sentiments but cannot match the searing compassion you feel when you live through another person’s pain.
  • Penitence
    is a vast ocean
    that I swam across
    yet never reached the shore
    because every step on land
    turned into depths of water,
    so immense.
  • Penitence
    is the pause –
    before laughter,
    before joy –
    asking of me
    if I dare tread
    that path
    strewn with pain-
    once yours
    and now mine.
  • Penitence
    is a burden gladly borne-
    lighter than banal apathy
    lighter than stoic indifference
    lighter than heaving egoism
    lighter than dreary inaction
    -painful,yet gladly borne.
  • Penitence-
    a quiet commitment to a sacred truth
    a steadfast devotion to a lost cause
    a sense of gratitude for seeming existence
    a willingness to accept responsibility
    an avowal to do right.

The above lines in their original tweet form are assimilated on a separate page here on the blog.
In the past, I have done a similar recap post about other tweets, it can be found here at #Life.

That was my roundup of some moments from the recent past, here’s to looking forward to the coming ‘todays’ and to living with ‘presence’ in the present.

Happy New Year to all!

Love inspired

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What is Love?
– that is a recurring philosophical question that I grapple with.

Feeling inspired by some great love poems (Unending Love by Rabindranath Tagore is one that I revere) and seeking an answer to this, I attempted to write an account of  love. Out came these crazy lines that speak of abiding love. They emerged in the vein of my forever questioning mindset, that is inclined to probe, wonder and ultimately marvel at it all.
So here goes:

Eternal Love’

How would the you
that you are now
relate to the you
that was the you
that loved the me
that was the me
that honored you
when you were that you?
How would the me
that I am now
reconcile with the me
that becomes the me
that desires the you
that will become the you
who would covet that me too?

What do we make of this world
that exists within
between and
outside of us?
Who is you
and
who is me
and
what is us
yours
ours and
mine?
Where does I end
and where does you begin?

How do I know
that what I know
is knowledge to you too?
What is this fervor
that seems like worship
akin to a silent prayer?
Is this borne of meeting
parting
or cleaving?
What was just now new
seems remembered
and eternal…


*Image courtesy of “I love a sunburnt country…” by Sunday’s child ( CC BY 2.0 )

What is it like to be you?

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Mom, sometimes I wonder about what it is like to be you.”

A little more prodding from my side and this comes up – “I often think about what it would be like to be other people but I don’t know because I have never been a grown-up……I wonder about what you think and feel…about me…..Do you ever wonder about what it is being me?”

Taken aback and caught off guard, I end up telling him – “I feel a sense of wonder that I am a parent and that you are my kid. I feel responsible towards you and your well-being, but most of all I just feel happy that we have each other. It is a great quality to be willing and able to consider how other people think and feel. I feel happy that you are thinking this way and hope that you would continue to do so.”

We reach the school, he gets out of the car and that is the end of the conversation.

But the thought dwells in my mind all day, it ruminates and that last line -“Do you ever wonder about what it is being me? ” really floors me and I think to myself, “I DO know what it is to be a kid. I have been one, and I have lived through a lot of the experiences that my kids are going through. Yet, how often do I put myself in their place and think about their perspective?”

Granted, the world has changed drastically since the time we were out and about riding our bikes, just being kids. However, the angst of that age is still the same. The journey of discovering multiple realities that spread outward from our family is still relatable.

If we make the effort, the world seems magical when looked at anew through our children’s eyes. Also, we somehow seem to see ourselves in a clearer light when examined through these different lenses.

As parents we have a ready frame of reference to fall back upon, and our task is somewhat easier than that of our kids who are still learning to navigate their way around the world.
In spite of this difference, we inexplicably expect our kids to know how to behave according to our expectations of them, assuming that they should be able to figure out what it is that we need from them, when they have no idea about our thought process, our current experiences.
They cannot metaphorically or realistically fill our shoes.
Simply because they have not lived that life yet.

So maybe it is time to let go of our egos and our self-consciousness about our roles as parents and simply remember what it is to be a kid.

To look at our kids and wonder —What is it like to be you?


*Image courtesy of Childhood by Rantes . Some rights reserved ( CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 )

Claim it!

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Have you ever felt as if, in spite of loving something dearly you find yourself unable to admit to doing so?

For a long time, music has been the embodiment of that forbidden desire for me.

I have always cherished the presence of music in my life, be it memories of gleefully stumbling upon certain pieces of music, genres and artists; or moments of tinkering with a musical instrument, finding myself beholden to its dulcet tones.

However much music captivated me, I invariably relegated myself to enjoying it as an appreciative listener. I felt self-conscious about not being able to sing in tune and my proclivity to over think only added to the rationale that if I cannot replicate what I hear, I must not be capable of understanding it. Whilst feeling this disconnect with music on a cerebral level, I continued to be moved by it on a basic emotional level. My attempts to learn the harmonium and the guitar in childhood were not terribly successful either. A couple of heartless remarks from teachers further internalized my belief that I could not be musical and sure enough, I eventually abandoned all efforts to pursue music.

So the years rolled along for me in the musical twilight zone until much later in life when my kids started taking piano lessons; and I found myself sitting in on their classes, hearing the lilt beckoning me once more, feeling the desire rekindle inside of me. These furtive trysts with the piano continued until the day that I finally worked up the nerve to scour for teachers who would be willing to teach a beginner adult like me. Luckily, I found a good match and proceeded to show up nervously for my first lesson.

4173281555_d97dcc86d1_qTwo years have passed since, and looking back now, I do not regret having taken that plunge. The delight of learning a new language of musical notation, practicing scales on the piano, reading up on music theory and history and playing classical and folk music pieces is quietly fulfilling for me. I love the time spent on the instrument and find that it has enriched my enjoyment of music as a listener as well. I like being able to relate to my kids through this musical education.
I admit that I am not always diligent about practicing and those weeks that I slip up, I feel like a truant kid in class. However, the encouraging irreverence of my teacher and his constant reminders of how ‘this is a hobby for you,do not subject it to perfectionism’ provide the impetus to plow ahead.

This journey of coming back to music has been strangely liberating for me –

  • It has helped me get over the fixed mindset that our ‘talents’ are set in stone. Boxing and labeling ourselves into categories of haves and have-nots thwarts any possibility of real growth.
  • I realized that sometimes the very things that unnerve us are what we need to pursue the most. Also, it may take a few false starts before the engine gets going!
  • It brought me back to a beginner’s frame of mind- focussing on the learning process and not so much on my self-image or the social persona that I inhabit. It has grounded me to the moment- the present.
  • It has reinforced the lesson that what matters crucially is showing up at the instrument every single time- the joy and the craft will follow accordingly.
  • I am thankful for the exciting yet nerve-racking experiences of playing for an audience of co-students, most of whom are much further along in their musical journey than I am. I found that the kinship of pursuing similar interests is much more powerful than the fears of being judged are.
  • It has made me deeply appreciative of teachers who encourage the pursuit of the arts for its own sake and not necessarily as a competitive skills game.

I am happy that I was able to break free from the shackles of preconceived notions about myself and could reach out to this abundant treasure that had been mine for the taking all this while. I had just needed to step up and claim it.

So here I am now, in my late thirties, finally admitting to how much I love music and love learning to play it. I still cannot sing in tune but am learning to not care so much about that.
Yes, I am a beginner- almost intermediate- piano player.
There, I have laid my claim to that.


*Image 1 courtesy of Mechanism of melody by art_you , CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
*Image 2 courtesy of Musical Notes by Epic Fireworks , CC BY 2.0

Spaces in between

Let there be
spaces in between our togetherness
where we may exist safely as you and I.
Let there be
a leap of faith between
our individual reveries of love and true beliefs.
Let there be
a commitment that forever persists,
bridging the distance between differing minds.
Let there be
a resilient devotion to the sanctity
of this quest for a communion of our souls.
Let there be
spaces in between our companionship
where love perseveres in spite of us.