Sunday, November 25, 2012

The end, which was the beginning

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

It was a classroom full of young girls. Girls of about 16 years of age. Some pony tailed, some pimpled and all smiling. As I close my eyes, I can easily be transported in that summer afternoon, the last day of our high school, just before our board exams. I don't remember who had sneaked in a camera that day. Because, some 19 years back, in a school where most students were from Bengali middle class families, cameras were a rarity! But thankfully, for that very simple non-digital camera, one of the most precious moments of my life got captured, forever!

 Yes, this is the photograph taken on the last day of our high school. After that day, depending on our marks and interests, we would be drifting in different streams, may be different schools or colleges. In an age where mobiles were not heard of and telephones at home were only for the rich, this day almost meant end of many friendships, many associations. Well, ten years of association is a hard thing to let go. Familiar faces, the feeling of security once we were inside the big walls that used to look ominous then, the teachers who scolded us and loved us, the nooks and corners where secrets were shared, confessions were made about first crushes; it was uncertain if it was a time to let go of all of it!

All of us had sang a Tagore song after the picture was taken: 'Purano shei diner katha, bhulbi ki re...", which in English means something like how can we forget the dear memories of past. And after that we had all broken down in silent,(and some not so silent) tears. We were still too young to understand that life was all about continuous change. We were still not prepared to face the hard fact that life is also a process of letting go, sometimes of most dearest things. I remember that we were all sitting at our desks even after the last bell rang! We were all in tears, hugging each other; touched by the gravity of the moment. Something was about to change. Wind of change was about to touch us. And there we were, poised with excitement and apprehension to turn the leaf of our first major chapter of life.

Today when I look at that snap, I only see the age of innocence. Oh, how happy we all looked. How carefree. Ready to take on the world, most of us still in utopia about what life is going to be. The adventure of adulthood was ahead of us. We were about to step out of the shelters of school and in to the big bad world. So many things unexplored yet. Life's kaleidoscope was about to turn. And here was a group of girls, waiting with bated breath for "Life" to unfold.

Almost 19 years have passed since then. I don't know why, even today when I look at this snap, it fills me with a strange sense of happiness and even strength! Is it because I still can palpably feel the strength of innocence, of  unconditional faith in goodness, which sometimes is so difficult to touch-base with in my life today! May be!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hasta la vista, dear Daddy

Father's day came and went last month. Generally, all such days do not even cause slightest ripple in my mind. But strangely, this time, it made me remember my father. My father who left us last November. With so many people posting comments in facebook about their father being their hero, it made me think about my father, about things that I have learnt from him, about my love and gratitude which perhaps I could never express adequately. And though blogposts are not really a platform to share personal feelings, I had to give them a rightful vent. After all, it is kind of my own e-diary!

My dad was not my hero. That role was always played by mom :). In fact what my dad taught me, what I learnt from him has started to emerge only after he passed away! Till the time he was alive, he was always a source of unconditional love and affection with a kind of role reversal between him and me in his last couple of years.

As the intense pain and denial is passing away, as I am letting go of the images of my ailing, struggling father on ventilator, I am starting to remember him, think of him as he used to be in his prime and now I realize what I learnt from him.

Well, my father taught me to smile. He taught me to be happy even when things were not perfect. Without giving me lectures, without ever admonishing, he taught me this very important lesson with all his life.

His expectations were always minimal from me. He never ever asked me to do well in exams, to earn well, to make my mark in life. But he did ask me to be happy. Many a times he used to ask me to smile when I would get angry or agitated. He was a fun person to be with. Seldom speaking about his tribulations, his expectations, he was always loving us. I know he felt inadequate many a times and fumbled with so many things when he was growing old and struggling with his failing health. But he never used to show any of it. Affable, funny and lively- he struck a chord with whomever he interacted. His smile touched everybody. His love for life was immense.

He often used to say "hasta la vista"("see you later" in Spanish) and wave at me when I would leave him for going to work when he would be staying with us in Bangalore. But it was finally me, who had to say goodbye to him, without a hope of meeting ever again.

I wish I could give you more reasons to smile Baba. I wish I could ease off all your pain. I could not. I know you have forgiven me for all my failings. And I promise Baba, I will always remeber your happy, smiling face, the image of you posing smartly with my college friends for a snap, you waving me good bye from my balcony, you saying "hasta la vista" smilingly to me.

Baba I will always miss you, but I promise I will never let go of the values you taught me without ever speaking a word! Father's day or not, I will always carry you in my heart.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Keep walking, my friend

Recently a song from the recent hindi movie, Ek Main Aur Ek Tu caught my attention so much that it is forcing its way to my blog post! :)

It goes something like this

"Jo hua hai woh hota hain, jo hona hain woh hona hain,
jo tere bas mein baatein hain, unhe khamokha kyun khona hain...
jitni bhi hain umeed  leke, jaye kahan tak rastein dekhe...
kar chalna shuru tu, mud ke na dekh tu..."

Its so is nothing but a journey! A journey which ultimately leads to finding your own self! Whether you get someone to walk side by side with you or not, you got to make the journey. Now, how many of us really take this journey being aware of it! Most of us are kind of sleep walking through it! Not knowing which path we are taking, overlooking the beauty of the road. It is true that most of the times we are not sure where the road will ultimately lead us, and sometimes we are even confused as to where we want to finally end up! But as long as we know where we don't want to end up, I guess the journey is an ever interesting one!

It is important to take that one small step which makes you embark on the journey of finding yourself! Its important to break free if anything is holding back your spirit. It might boil down to something as small as starting on the dance lessons that you so wanted for ages, or may be starting to write without the fear of being criticized or may be taking up that tough job which you always eyed but never had the guts to take up or may be something as simple as learning to drive! Dreams need to be alive. Life cannot be just living but feeling alive! :)

It is true that every time every aspiration can't be fulfilled, every dream can't come true either. But the fun lies in loving every effort that you put in and its an amazing feeling to try to touch the intangible and delve deep within to find your dreams!

May we never be afraid of this journey called Life and love to keep walking! May we all become like Sindbad the sailor who was never afraid to chase his dreams! And if we are fortunate enough, we might find a friend, a loved one to hold hands and walk side by side, if not, we will still have the satisfaction of making this journey and Life itself will become our greatest muse!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Greatest love of all!

Today is Valentine's day. A day meant for celebration of love. While growing up, like most urban teenagers, this day meant a day of wearing red, expecting a card or exchanging gifts and well, celebrating the idea of love! Today, after many springs have passed by, I remain as wide eyed about love as I was a decade back! However, the definition and the dimensions seem to be ever evolving. Thus, I thought it is high time at least I touch base with myself on this crazy journey of love and life! :)

Once, the idea of love (romantic love to be precise) was just about being wanted, it was matter of high self esteem and may be even ego! Possessing and being possessed was a necessary part of the feeling!

Times have passed. Like everyone, I too have evolved! Some knowingly and some unknowingly- willingly and unwillingly. Irrespective of the books on psycho-philosophy or the mushy romantic novels that I read, wise (and unwise) people with whom I spoke to, love has come to be defined to me as a process of self discovery, of awakening! Domestic love, bohemian love, love without definition- all seem to have only one climax of finding ones self! And yes, of loving oneself.

I have always loved the song (greatest love of all) by Whitney Houston which goes:

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed, at least I'll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all, is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all, inside of me
The greatest love of all, is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself/It is the greatest love of all.

But, is it really easy to learn to love yourself? Is it easy to draw a line between Narcissism/self obsession and self awakening? For people like me whose life most of the time seems to be dominated by numerous mundane things  like meeting the project deadlines and domestic expectations, I wonder how easy it is to make this journey!

Today, as I grapple with the meaning of life and love, they just seem synonymous! To me, today, the journey of life and journey of love are inseparable, intertwined. If we forget to celebrate love, we forget to celebrate life! If the quest to find oneself is an eternal one, so is the quest to find love! And ultimately it is the same journey!
But again, it is perhaps the most difficult task to make this journey within, connect with one's inner self, to find ones real self. To accept ones own being with all the good, bad and evil and keep loving life. Or may be living love! :)

I guess if we are ready to lose ourselves, explore within, then it is indeed possible to find ourselves too! And in some rare moments of life, when you do connect with your own self, when you do feel amazed at the breath you take every moment and fall in love with life- it all completes a full circle! Life stands still on those moments. And you find yourself, you find Love!

One of the poetries by Javed Akhtar from the film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara that has touched my heart and echoed my thoughts would perhaps sum it all up:

Pighle neelam sa behta ye sama,
neeli neeli si khamoshiyan,
na kahin hai zameen na kahin aasmaan,
sarsaraati hui tehniyaan pattiyaan,
keh raheen hai bas ek tum ho yahan,
bas main hoon,
meri saansein hain aur meri dhadkanein,
aisi gehraiyaan, aisi tanhaiyaan,
aur main… sirf main.
Apne hone par mujhko yakeen aa gaya.