I am

“I am”, said the Enlightened One, and the world was left awestruck.

“Hey, hold on! that’s it? What do you mean by just ‘I am’?”

Do you think that ‘I am’ is an incomplete sentence. Grammar error? No. Syntax error? Not really. Something’s just not right, is it? I assure you though that nothing is missing. If at all, it’s about our prejudiced way of knowing ourselves and others.

Let me try to elaborate –

Scene 1 –

The muse: Dear Sir, tell me about yourself please?

Interviewee: Yes, sure. I’m a __ years old person & am an engineer.

The muse: Sorry to break the news Sir, but that’s what you were, or what you thought you were. Presently, you’re just a curious reader who wants to know what this blogger has got to say while robbing away your precious time?

Scene 2 –

Dentist: Please tell me about what’s bothering you?

Patient: Oh, there’s Corona fear everywhere, the economy is in a mess, and the Government is not doing anything to alleviate problems of the common man.

Dentist: Hmm, got it! So, can we also discuss a little about the health of your teeth?

Scene 3 –

Mom: If you study hard then you can enjoy life when you grow up, why, don’t you remember?

Child: Okay Mom, now can you please add some more cheese & seasonings on my pizza?

Were you able to relate to either of the above scenes? If yes, you must’ve got the point.

In the first scene, we are reminded that our identity is ever so dynamic. Actually, we’re all doing role-plays throughout our lives; the titles we attach ourselves to don’t really exist.

Secondly, we’re unable to focus on the issue at hand and go on incessantly cribbing about the problems which are beyond our circle of influence.

Finally, did you notice what the Mother said? We seem to postpone our happiness eternally. On the other hand, the innocent child’s question reflects how he is completely immersed in what’s literally in his plate presently.

In short, we’ve to relearn the art of being ‘alive’. The simplest key for achieving the blissful state is to be fully present in the current moment and to feel life’s joys or sorrows, serenity or chaos thoroughly but not to think much about it. We haven’t been given this life to prove anything to anyone. It’s just about genuinely loving our own company.

Lord Krishna guides us through the beautiful verses mentioned in the ‘Shrimad Bhagwad Gita’, as follows –

नैव किंचित्करोमीति युक्तो मन्येत तत्त्ववित् ।

पश्यञ्श्रृण्वन्स्पृशञ्जिघ्रन्नश्नन्गच्छन्स्वपंश्वसन्‌ ॥५.८॥

प्रलपन्विसृजन्गृह्णन्नुन्मिषन्निमिषन्नपि ।

इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेषु वर्तन्त इति धारयन्‌ ॥५.९॥

An enlightened one believes that he himself is doing absolutely nothing & that all his senses are acting as those are naturally intended to. His duty is to live without any intention, guided only by what he feels in the present moment without dwelling into the past or worrying about the future.

Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time – past and future – the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is. – Eckhart Tolle.

So folks, let’s be with the feeling and stop wrestling with the mind. Let’s do it in this very moment!

I’ll always find you

‘I’ll always find you. You might not be able to find me, but I know how to find you.’ says Grace, a ten years old adorable child of an addict single Mom, to her neighbour, Billy, an agoraphobic middle aged man. I finished reading the novel, ‘Don’t let me go’, (by Catherine Ryan Hyde) last evening, in which is described this heartwarming story. At the very beginning, Billy asks Grace as to why she is sitting outside for long hours when she should be within the safety of her Mom’s house. She replies that if she didn’t sit outside then nobody would know that she’s in trouble. And thus none would come to help her. This simple statement strikes a very important point.

Unless we open up – be vulnerable by showing the wounds or agonies that we may’ve been carrying for years – we cannot expect to get those cracks healed. We may find innumerable excuses; our issues may seem too trivial or foolish to waste others’ time in discussing about those. We may lack a confidante and may worry that a stranger will misuse the awareness against us only. So, on the surface it’s about a choice between two risky options – sharing your secret and facing the consequences or enduring the pain associated with the secret by keeping it to yourself for the entire lifetime.

In Grace’s story, she manages not only the recovery of her mother from drug addiction but also the social inclusion of Billy Shine although he still has issues while leaving the safety of his house. Along the way towards achieving this, other neighbors too get positive effects in their personal lives because of their initiatives taken to support Grace’s plan. All of them, despite their diverse origins, and backgrounds, become members of a closely held family that acts in perfect harmony; that cares for Grace as well as each other and that stays together even after few of them leave the apartment.

Another critical aspect highlighted by the author is that we can get over our greatest obsession (say, addiction), mania, or phobia when we stand a chance to lose someone or something that is the dearest to us, in case we fail. Grace and the neighbors make her mother realize that Grace may be put into foster care system if her mother doesn’t come out clean of her addiction. That’s how Grace’s Mom recovers finally. If we have knowledge of the fact, why should we wait for the challenges to push us to that desperate stage. Why not show a little courage at every available opportunity? Why do we nurture the fear instead? 

While her mother is fighting addiction issues, Grace takes Tap Dance lessons from Billy who’s a former Broadway performer. She shines in her school event but never stops learning more different styles from Billy. She also learns Spanish language from Felipe who picks her up from school everyday as agreed within the family. She is like a sponge that’s absorbing some or the other good thing from each of her neighbours. Rather she too is teaching them about how to have trust in oneself as well as in the relationships. Shows prominently how an adversity is turned into an opportunity by the child, doesn’t it?

So, go ahead and lend an ear to that inner voice which is waiting for you to listen. Assure that you will always hear it even though it’s not able to express out loud. Help yourself first as it’s the best thing to start with if you wish to help others in the future.

Life

This is an attempt at 140 character story:

He called friends, told them that he wanted to quit.

They rushed to tell him that nothing in life is more important than life itself.

Alas!

…leaving the story with you to draw inferences as you choose.

Personally, I believe that nothing can be permanent in life. As good days cease to continue for very long, so do bad days too. Stay hopeful!

Expectations

I went into the balcony to check my plants that had bathed in the first rains of the season. Sipping hot tea, I felt like asking, “how are you my dear friends?” I was carefully checking if any tender sapling was hurt by the tyrant rains. Just then came a tiny butterfly & settled on one of the roses in my garden. No sooner could I treat myself with the fantastic colour combination of grey & pink than did it move on to yellow lily. The moment I thought it settled on a flower, the butterfly flew to another one. While observing its playful roaming around, a thought flashed in my mind – how beautiful is the relationship between the flowers & the butterfly. Affection without any bonds! Surrender without expectations!

How nice would it be had the human relations be as such too? We torture ourselves in life with the folly of exactly opposite behaviour. Unknowingly, we raise a mountain of expectations, scaling the heights of which is so exhausting. We expect something or other from our parents, friends, life partners, children; even from housemaid too. If we decide to list it down on paper, a day or two also won’t be enough to complete the task.

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the other people for a while. They must also be having expectations from us. Do we fulfil those to the full extent? Ironically, we think that their desires are misplaced or too much for us to be able to honour. We say, “It isn’t so easy. Does he or she even know what I’m going through? or, am I a wizard to get them whatever they want each time?” You know the answer. Certainly, no, we’re all humans. We suffer from same limitations. Then why don’t we realise that others also deserve a similar consideration. Why do we get so much upset that we choose to end the relationships?

Should we stop expecting at all? No, no. That’s not what I mean to say. As we give to our people, they too owe equally to us in return, although, in kind. Rather, that’s an integral part of any relationship. Give more and take less; it’s not -give but take nothing! The only care to be taken is to expect with due thought given to the capacity of the other person. For example, time is a scarcity today. It’s a resource that’s costlier than money itself. So, if we learn to be content with telephonic call / video call, it will be ecstatic when we get to meet in person. As they say, “Draw a smaller line besides an existing line, & you’ll find the later to be longer suddenly.” We’ve to find the source of our own satisfaction if we want to save ourselves from agony.

We are fortunate to have families and friends. Let’s congratulate for this very fact alone. Out there so many people are living in solitude. Let the relations blossom & spread their fragrance without exerting force. If we don’t want to spoil the fun, it’s better always to keep in mind that our dues will be settled in the court of God if not honoured by someone for whom we did sincere sacrifices. If we can follow this, human bonds too will become as adorable as that which exists between a butterfly and the flowers.

Author: Pallavi Dandgavhal

अपेक्षा

गरमागरम चहाचा आस्वाद घेत पहिल्या पावसाने फ्रेश झालेल्या रोपांना “कसे आहात, बरे ना सगळे?” असं विचारायला मी बाल्कनीत गेले. कुठली नाजूक फांदी दुखावली का ते पाहत होते तेवढ्यात एक इवलेसे फुलपाखरू गुलाबावर येऊन बसले. गर्द गुलाबी फुलावर राखाडी पाखरू, मस्त रंगसंगती वाटत होती तोच ते उडून अबोली वर जाऊन बसलं. कधी ह्या फुलावर कधी त्या फुलावर अशी त्याची गंमत चालू होती. त्या फुलपाखराला पाहून मनात एक विचार डोकावला, की या पाखराचे नी फुलाचे नाते किती छान आहे. अगदी निरपेक्ष! 

मानवी नाती पण अशीच असती तर किती बरं झालं असतं. क्षुल्लक कारणांनी स्वतःला किती त्रास करून घेतो आपण. उण्यापूऱ्या साडेतीन अक्षरांचा शब्द, अपेक्षा! पण त्याचं ओझं मणभर, हो की नाही. आपण अपेक्षा करत जातो आणि राईचा पर्वत झाला तरी पत्ता लागत नाही. प्रत्येकाकडून आपली काही ना काही अपेक्षा असते. आई-वडील, भावंडं, मित्र-मैत्रिणी, जीवनसोबती, मुलं, इतकंच काय घरकाम करणाऱ्या मेडकडूनही आपल्या अपेक्षा असतात. त्या सगळ्यांची यादी करायला गेले तर एक दिवस पुरणार नाही.

पण आता थोडं समोरच्या व्यक्तिच्या जागेवरून पाहु या. त्यांच्याही आपल्याकडून अपेक्षा असतीलच की. मग त्या आपण १०० टक्के पूर्ण करतो का? प्रत्यक्षात आपल्याला त्या अवास्तव वाटतात. आपण म्हणतो त्यांना काय लागतंय हवं ते काम मला सांगायला किंवा हवी ती गोष्ट माझ्याकडे मागायला. इतकं सोप्पय का ते? असं असेल तर मग आपण समोरच्यालाही का नाही समजून घेत. नसेल जमलं त्यांना एखाद्या गरजेच्या वेळी मदत करायला, किंवा क्वचितक्षणी दुःखात विचारपूस करायला, किंवा अगदी तुमच्या आनंदाच्या प्रसंगात सहभागी व्हायला. असतील त्यांच्याही काही अडचणी. आपण अगदी चिडून जाऊन टोकाची भूमिका का घ्यावी?

अपेक्षा ठेवायच्याच नाहीत का? असं मला अजिबात म्हणायचं नाही. आपल्या माणसांना आपण देणं लागतो तसंच त्यांच्याकडून घेणंही आलंच. किंबहुना हक्क दाखवलाच पाहीजे. नात्यांचं सौंदर्यच वाढतं अशानं. फक्त दुसऱ्याच्या एकुण क्षमतेचा सारासार विचार करायला हवा. उदाहरणार्थ, आर्थिक गरजांपेक्षाही आज वेळ जास्त दुर्मिळ झालाय प्रत्येकाच्या जीवनात. कित्येकदा त्याच्या अभावाने साधी भेट होणं देखिल खूप महाग झालंय. आपण अपेक्षा सौम्य केल्या तर नक्कीच फायदा होईल. फोनवरच्या संभाषणात आनंद मानायला शिकलं तर प्रत्यक्ष भेटीतली गोडी कैक पटीने वाढेल. थोडक्यात काय, समाधानी कसं राहायचं हे ज्याचं त्यालाच शोधावं लागतं.

नाती खूप सुदैवानं मिळतात. चंदनासारखी असतात ती. हळूवार उगाळली तर मंद सुगंध दरवळतो. अवाजवी अपेक्षांची वाळवी त्याला पोखरू नये असं वाटत असेल तर यथाशक्ती आपल्याला जमतंय ते करुया. पण इतरांवरच काय पण स्वतःवरही मनातल्या आकांक्षांचं दडपण नको आणूया. सगळ्यांच्या मर्यादा समजूतदारपणे जाणून घेऊया.

असं वागू शकलो तर आपली नाती सुध्दा फुलं आणि फुलपाखरांमधल्या नात्यासारखी अतूट होतील ह्यात काहीही शंका नाही.

लेखिका: पल्लवी दंडगव्हाळ