Love conquers all

We have all been thru’ valentines’ day this week. I am sure all of you here have a story of your own to share about this. I have mine too. I preferred cash over a rose that cost 150.

Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, has its Origin as a Western Christian feast day honouring martyred saints named Valentinus.  It is celebrated annually on February 14 as a significant cultural and religious feast day. It is not a public holiday in any country.

The custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in the UK.

In Norfolk, a character called ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person. The enigmatic Mr or Mrs Valentine disappears into thin air after knocking at the door and dropping off their gifts. It is unclear when this mystery figure first emerged but children are as likely as adults to receive a visit. This is the only surviving Norfolk ritual,

With concentrated marketing effort, Valentine’s Day is recognised now as a commercial celebration of romance and romantic love. Valentine’s Day celebrations did not catch on in India until around 1992. It was spread due to dedicated programs in commercial TV and radio channels, love letter competitions and the explosion of the valentine card industry. This has caused a sharp change in how people display their affection in public.

Love – Love encompasses a variety of different emotional and mental states, typically strong and positive. It can be ranging from the deepest interpersonal affection to the simplest of pleasures.

Conquer – Conquering is to overcome and take control of a place or people by force. This is synonymous with triumph, overpower or overthrow, subdue or subjugate

I see Love conquers all as an oxymoron. Oxymoron is two words used together that have exactly the opposite meanings.

The recent movie Padmavath was about love conquering  all …. at what cost!

In fact, in a few cases Love is not able to conquer minor personality differences between a couple.

In a lot of cases, Love is  not able to handle financial stress a couple may have in their relationship.

In majority of cases, Love cannot do anything if a couple is unable to communicate with each other properly.

And in almost all the cases, Love is not enough to help someone overlook the betrayal that comes with infidelity.

I haven’t experienced any of these personally. Do I thank Love for that ?

I have been loved, and loved unconditionally.

I have been loved profoundly and insanely for everything I am and  not what I can or cannot offer the person who loves  me back.

Can love be given or can it be earned ? Can love find you or can you achieve love?

I believe that love is one and all of these.

It cannot be confined. It can’t be faked.

It can however be given and shared. It can be contagious at times.

When you stumble upon it, you need to grab it and enjoy it.

Love is like a hug and a kiss, you need to share it to enjoy it.

Love is not restrictive to people. It can also be for things, places and experiences.

We experience it in everyday life but more often than not seem not to notice it.

I noticed love in the form of gratitude for my domestic help this morning when she came earlier than usual especially when there was a pile of dishes.

I fell head over heals in love with Dhruva, my 3 year old nephew when he explored the adventure of a sleepover with me a few weeks ago.

I have experienced  love from my mother-in-law When I was sick and in bed, she was treating me with solicitude, bringing me cups of tea, and handing me tissues all day.

As important as where Love comes from, it is equally important where it goes and who you share it with.

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Mind

One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

As we hear new ideas, not only do we have new places to explore, our minds are often drawn there. To explore this new open space is almost an imperative. We may not always find this new space useful, but we still notice this new space. Even if you don’t pursue the idea, your mind is no longer the same size, it has been stretched.

Our minds are never going to return to the size they were before. And that is the point of the quote.

I had a date with my friend Suman on a friday. We had lunch together, hung out at a coffee shop and later did some quick shopping. The plan for that day was to spend the whole day together. The shopping was quick as I had to beat the traffic and get to St Marks Road by 6.15 latest. He quite couldn’t understand why or what it was that I was so keen on attending without being late. The fact that I hadn’t shared this part of my life with him so far, he being my BFF is a story for another time and place.

I had told him that I had a very important meeting to attend, the place was next to MTR on St Marks Road and that he had to pick me up at 8.30 pm. As I was walking to BTMC, we ran into each other infront of MTR. That was one of the many planned coincidences that we share.

Even as we entered the gates, I knowing fully well that our friday night date would be amongst 70+ people and he very skeptical to be spending friday evening in a place called Ashirvad. He picked a seat on the last row, while I got into setting up the camera and making sure that I had everything I needed to record the minutes.

Just at the strike of 6.30, when the meeting began, I looked to my right to find Suman sitting in row 2 a few seats away. We exchanged glances and he still had no idea what this evening held in store.

As the SAA started and the camera started rolling and the proceedings of the evening started unveiling, I could not share any more glances with him, as he seemed too involved to be distracted by glances.

It was an evening with a CC3, a CC7 and a technical presentation.

During the break, all that he had to ask me was – “ why is this a well kept secret ”. He listened in rapt attention to every detail that the VP Education had to share with the guests. He made mental notes of questions for me. During the table topics, He was so involved that he lost track of time.

Our dinner date was about the 2 hrs, we spent more than 2 hrs talking and reliving his first experience at BTMC. In Suman’s words, -“ its was an exhilarating evening. Intellectual, informative and entertaining all together.” He came with not knowing what he was going to see or hear and the image he takes back home is – “it is a platform for anyone and everyone, where you get to meet people from every walk of life. They come with varying degrees of experiences and knowledge. A place where you learn by listening to others experiences.” He said he imagined himself at a dinner party hosted by Chinese people when Nithin shared his knowledge and experience during the presentation about etiquette at a chines dinner table.

Suman’s mind, that evening was stretched by that much more to accomodate the happenings at BTMC. No matter what he or anyone tries, Suman cannot completely ignore the new information and the influence it had on him.

Take a moment and think about the last week or two. What new things have you learned, what are some of the new ideas to which have you been exposed to? Can you see how your mind has been changed, stretched even if just a little? Can you completely ignore the new information, or do you now think of it when making a choice where the idea might have an influence?

Like a baby’s first steps and first run, like an older child’s first ride on a bicycle without training wheels, or like a teenager’s first solo drive in the car, once we have experienced the expanding of our limits, life is different, and it will never be the same.

What do you plan to do to stretch your mind? What new ideas will you pursue?
It’s up to you to learn new things and expand your mind.

Thoughts and Emotions

Thoughts occur in the mind, but they cause emotions that are felt in the body. If we can transfer our awareness from the mind to the sensations in the body, the mind will quieten and the body will relax.

It was the year 2003, I was enjoying my first job in a design studio in Auckland. It was the first time that I savoured the taste of the disposable income. It was a cold saturday afternoon when the hubby was in a mood to accompany me when I went shopping, not to the super market but the shopping mall. I was overjoyed at the thoughts of getting driven around and didn’t have to take the public transport. Public transport to this day in Auckland on a weekend is very bad. I had planned my day and I had also spotted the jumper that I wanted to buy. I was looking forward to a new scarf and the jumper which seen that they were both on sale this weekend.

As I was getting ready to go, the thought crossed my mind that I should remove the long chain with the ruby pendant because I would be trying on several clothes. Yet, I went ahead and didn’t remove them as both the chain and the pendant meant a lot to me. My husband gave me the chain as a wedding gift and the ruby pendant was a gift from my mom on my 18th Birthday. I reminded myself to be careful while changing dresses.

It was the first time we had gone shopping since I had stated working. I treated my husband for lunch even thought it was in a food court. We were celebrating small wins and were happy the ways things were falling into place. Life was good.

Back home standing in front of the mirror and admiring the scarf and trying out different ways to wear it, to my horror, I didn’t see the reflection of the ruby pendant dangling from my chain. There was no chain.

I was immediately transformed, the panic mode button was ON. we drove back to the mall and checked all the changing rooms, spoke to the person who had just finished vacuuming the place and went to the counter

I was so upset with myself that an old habit of severely clenching my jaws came back to bother me. I woke up in the morning with my gums throbbing with pain. For me, any kind of upset shows up in tightly clenched jaws. At times, the clenching is so strong that I have cracked a tooth because of it.

The body is intimately linked to our thoughts and emotions. Thoughts, in general  are linked to our brain. When we think, when we stress, we can feel a physical strain on the brain.Thoughts, in turn, are intimately linked to emotions, so much so, that they are like two sides of a coin – not Mutually Exclusive.

Pick any thought and linked to it will be an emotion. Sometimes, the emotion is subtle. You have to be really watchful to become aware of the emotion. But it is always present, linked to every thought.

What are thoughts?

Thoughts are mental cognitions, our ideas, opinions, and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. They include the perspectives we bring to any situation or experience that color our point of view.

An example of a long-lived thought is an attitude, which develops as thoughts are repeated over and over and reinforced.

While thoughts are shaped by life experiences, genetics, and education, they are generally under conscious control. In other words, if you are aware of your thoughts and attitudes, you can choose to change them.

 

 

Gender Discrimination

” I don’t want this vacation to end, I wish I had the power to freeze time” said my best friend. I was catching up with her at her parents’ place when she was here on a 4-day holiday a couple of weeks ago.

” I am very lucky and grateful to have gotten an extra 4-day holiday this year.” She was teary at this point. If she wants to visit her parents she needs to seek requisite “GATE PASSES” by informing each and everyone who has a ‘in-law’ suffixed in relation to her irrespective of age. I could see the pain in her eyes, the pain of being deprived of her basic rights. The right to be a  DAUGHTER.

Recently I have heard another friend say, “I hardly visit my Mom these days.” If it was Linda saying this in Auckland, I wouldn’t blink an eye. But when Suman  saw the confused look on my face she felt the need to explain her previous statement. She told me – “The home I grew up in, my parents’ house does not feel the same anymore since my dad’s death. I get her Mom to visit me and spend quality time with me and my kids at our house rather than spending my holidays at my parent’s house. I call it my brother’s house now and not HOME anymore”.

How many of you would agree that this is a very common problem that some Indian married women face? And why do I feel that most of them would prefer to remain quiet?

One thing I strongly detest about Indian marriages is this – marriages in our country aren’t about happiness and contentment of both husband and wife, it’s about how much a woman can compromise and mould herself in her NEW HOME.  Women spend their lives standing on a measuring scale believing that the more their sacrifices weigh, the better wives they become.

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For a girl, specially for the ones like me, who don’t want to conform to the age old societal rules, parents are always our first preference and the place where they live is what we call our HOME. Getting married doesn’t change one’s identity – we are the daughters first and everything else later.

When asked if I’d change my name after I got married, I once replied, “But my name is mine just as your name is yours’”. Not that my husband has an unpronounceable last name. His last name is Srinivasan.

My friends from primary school were able to track me down 25 years later on FB using my given name. We had a reunion 8 years ago. All of us have changed so much, we didn’t recognise most of them. The names that were etched in our memories of spending the growing up years together helped. It was a hilarious game to identify the face and link it to the name.

There are many instances when I have been questioned if I was married to my husband. The most recent one in the 2016 when we checked into a hotel in Delhi, not an ordinary one by any standards, it was the Radisson Blue and during the check-in process I was questioned as to why I don’t have the same last name as my husband. I said “coz I choose not to”. It stunned the man who was manning that desk that he apologised later.

I have always been vocal about this which portrays me as an amoral woman to many.  I am mostly greeted with derision and disrespect, by fellow women folks. I fail to understand to this day how a girl’s  “gotra” changes the minute the 3 knots are tied on the sacred thread around your neck. A Gotra is the lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth. The system is patrilineal and the gotra assigned is that of the person’s father. I believe I don’t cease to be my father’s daughter after getting married as my lineage doesnt change.

But most Indians aren’t blessed with this. If we are expected to give utmost importance to our husbands and their families, then our commitments and duties should be given equal priorities. Love and respect, in any form, has to come from within and can never be imposed. And a married woman in India is  victimised for no fault on her part – her aspirations are never esteemed, her wishes not granted and her individuality not respected. I have seen this happen with a  couple of girls.

Most Indian women happily and readily make this sacrifice in the name of being responsible WIVES. I just cant fathom the consequences it follows. If you are willing to sacrifice your Identity, Your parents for others, aren’t you teaching the same to your daughters? The two people, who succeeded in raising a sensible and strong woman, need her now, when they are not physically and mentally as strong as they were earlier. Isn’t it our duty to give them our maximum time and support, instead of trying to portray some pseudo love and peace in the family?

My husband loves me, he definitely  knows my duties towards my parents and lets me  be with them when needed.

If His upbringing was no different in any way to mine?  If His parents did not make more sacrifices and mine made less? Then why do girls need permission to visit their parents? This, I believe is GENDER DISCRIMINATION in the real sense?

How many of you feel it’s wrong? How many of you feel the need to change it? How many of you are willing enough to stand up for yourself, for your parents, for your rights? Very few of us are blessed with in laws who understand this need of girls and thus support them. But majority of them are suffering silently. Unless all of us unite and act in congruity, nothing is going to change soon. The ones who dare to go against their husbands and take this step are being criticised and  their upbringing condemned. It pains me to see this plight of Indian women. They are so used to accepting wrongs that standing up for the RIGHTS looks like the scariest thing to them.

I wish it changes someday, very soon.  I wish none of our parents are left alone and unwanted when what they deserve is only love and care! I wish we realise that no relation can ever be maintained at the cost of another ! I wish we believe in ourselves and we be a role model to our next generations.

I am very lucky, I have 2 homes – HOME – the place where I was born, well even my dad was born in the same house and then PA which we (my husband and I) call home. I am very grateful and can’t thank my parents enough for brining up us girls no different to any boys I know. For instilling in us the values and the strength not just to become good and responsible wives and daughters-in-law but also to be good and responsible daughters.

Married couples are liable to take care of both set of parents, not just the husband’s.

Sankirt Galande started this petition with a single signature, and now has 35,444 supporters. This needs 50000 signatures before it can be submitted to the PMO and the

– I believe, support and practice this. Do you?

Even if we can’t change the law, lets change the “mindset”.

By signing this petition you are also morally committed to it.  No matter what you do, or who you are, each of us have the capacity to bring the change in our own way as long as we truly want the change.

Lets keep the ball rolling, share the petitions on your fb walls, tweet and retweet it, tag your like minded friends and relatives, more importantly tag the differently-minded people whose mindsets actually require changing.

 

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Organize

The very basic definition of organise is to arranged or structured in a systematic way.

I step into our apartment, hoping to find it the way I left it. The way I would like it to be when I get back home. I just want to plonk myself on the sofa and surf thru’ the TV channels on a friday night and drift off to sleep. I have been waiting for days to do this. Just to have the sofa for myself and feel the power of holding the TV remote.

My ideal place to relax and unwind will be where the cushions are in their place straight against the backrest of the sofa. No coffee mugs on the coffee table. Yes, its the coffee table but only for the mugs with freshly made tea, we are tea drinking people. Not for mugs with tea stains drying up and definitely not for wrappers of chocolate, a piece of biscuit, the several remote controls, the pair of reading glasses and the laptop.

Who wouldn’t wish to smell the fresh white linen and a get into a neatly made bed, with the pillows set up straight against the headboard and the cushions not slouching. The crispness of the sheets and warmth of the inviting bed brought a smile to my lips when I was going no more that 2km/hr in peak hour traffic.

My lips did not form a smile, instead they pushed out a tiny “oh” as I stepped into our apartment.

Bemusement spread across my face as I looked at the living room and saw it is pretty much untouched. A  part of me was prepared to find the remote controls spread all over the sofa, they were on the sofa, not all over though.

This space however, looked tidy.

My husband mumbles something about ‘being the polly’ who always turns on the kettle or a “cinderella” who is always cleaning and scrubbing. Okay. That I have learnt to live with. I have failed to understand why or how it is difficult to keep a house tidy and a desk organisedIF and only IF anything used, reaches its home or where it’s taken out from after being used. “Put the book back on the bookshelf after you have finished reading it please “. Is to so hard to follow?

Walking up to hang up my keys on the key holder, I peek into the guest bed room and see it; the laundry still folded on one side of the bed. How does the laundry have a magical ability to breed quicker than it is washed or worn. This particular pile, some folded and many still on hangers has been on spot for days. To be fair, it has been status quo these days but I am desperate to get it cleared away.

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“Do you mind putting your folded washing inside your wardrobe for me please?”

“I can surely do that.” comes a quick reply, and a “but not just now” a little delayed.

“Don’t let that bother you. Just let it sit there and I’ll know where to pick it from when I it need it.”

It sounds crazy to anyone who hasn’t been driven mad by the laundry monster. I struggle to hold back the tears and the words that are bouncing in my head.

Why do I always take it so personally? So where do we go from here?

I hate to share the sofa with the remote controls. So I just pick a random one and put away the rest on the coffee table before I plonk myself on the sofa.

I am surfing whatever channels that particular remote changes and I’m thinking – Just for a change I wish that laundry didn’t bother me.

I don’t even dare to think about the home office that my husband is tucked into and his desk. He says ” Organised people are too lazy to look for things”. I don’t understand that.

We can’t always get what we want though, so I force it. I force a smile, I force my mind to think of the many memories that we have created together and the laughter that we have shared. I bite my tongue, and arrange with myself a cry-date for another day.

Sometimes, even maybe most of the time, one of us has to give in that much more and learn to be expect less.  I am still in the process of learning to “let go”.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/Organized

Seed

Seed is the the unit of reproduction of a plant, capable of developing into another such plant.

Seed capital is the initial capital used when starting a business, often coming from the founders’ personal assets.

Superfood seeds are nutritional powerhouses like chia, hemp, flax, pumpkin and sunflower.

Seed Clothing, a very popular Australian brand.

We come across all of the above  and many more seeds everyday.

But what about the seeds for life ?

Seeding a thought  is planting an idea in some one’s mind.

Sow your own seeds for success.

If a quote is a Seed, the inspiring words that follow it, acts as Water.  The two coupled together hold tremendous power.  They help an idea or thought become rooted within the subconscious mind leading to growth.

All of us love to grow be it at home, work or life. We can make this happen through the exchange of experiences, ideas and  knowledge. Growing and learning  stirs the brain and wakes up passions. This helps in healing, building, learning, becoming courageous and confident. All of these can lead us to the direction of old doors that we didn’t know existed and also to the new ones that we now want to open.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Success is constant work-in-progress.