All posts by adhyapika

Learning to live, living to learn

മതിൽ കെട്ടുകൾ

നിങ്ങൾ ഒരു നിലാപാടെടുക്കുന്നു
അത് നിങ്ങലുന്ടെ വ്യക്തിത്വത്തിന്റെ
ചൂണ്ടുപലക്കയാകുന്നു

നിങ്ങളുടെ ഗംബീരമായ
അഭിപ്രായത്തിന്റെ
ശാസ്ത്രിയത നിങ്ങള്ക്ക്
സന്തോഷം പകരുന്നു

(ഇച്ചിരി അഹങ്കാരവും!)

ആ നിലപാടിന്റെ വെളിച്ചത്തിൽ
ഒരു പാട് ചിന്തിച്ചും തല പുകച്ചും
വീണ്ടും നിങ്ങൾ ഒരു അഭിപ്രായം
രൂപപ്പെടുത്തുന്നു

നിങ്ങളുടെ ചിന്തകളും
നിങ്ങളുടെ അഭിപ്രായങ്ങളും
നിങ്ങളുടെ തടവറയാക്കുന്നു

കടന്നു പോകുന്ന കാലം
നിങ്ങള്ക്ക് ചുറ്റും
വന്മതിൽ കോട്ട കെട്ടുന്നു

ആരൊക്കെയോ അകലുന്നു
വേറെ ചിലർ അടുക്കുന്നു
നിങ്ങൾ അഭിപ്രായത്തിന്റെ
തലയനയ്‍യിൽ മുഖം പൂഴ്ത്തുന്നു

പടി കേറി വന്ന കാലം
നിങ്ങളോടു സത്യം പറയുന്നത്
വളരെ വൈക്കിയിട്ടാണ്

കാലടികൾ മാത്രം അകലെ
നിൽക്കുന്ന കാലൻ പരിഹസിക്കുന്നത്
നിങ്ങളെയാന്നെന്നു പോലും
മനസ്സില്ലാക്കാൻ കഴിയാതെ വരുന്നു

അപ്പോൾ പല പക്ഷങ്ങൾ
കേൾക്കുക ആയിരിന്നുല്ലേ
നല്ലതു എന്നോർക്കുമ്പോഴും

തിരിച്ചു പിടിക്കാൻ കഴിയാത്ത
എന്തൊക്കെയോ നഷ്ടപാടുകൾ
നിങ്ങളെ അലട്ടുന്നു

പുക മറകളും
വീഞ്ഞും
സുഹ്രദ ബന്ധങ്ങളും
അശ്വാസമേകുന്നു

PS:ആ ആർക്കറിയാം!

Soul song

battered bruised

stretched

almost tearing

a soul song

whimpers

sometimes angry

sometimes upset

but each time refusing

to let go.

the life spirit

whispers

a new tune

a new turn

a possibility

of stitching up

a broken heart

with golden threads

of resilience.

a new breeze blows

a blue sky smiles

the soul song murmurs

reminiscing

a new life

a new hope

floating dreams

sing the song

the soul song

loud.clear.sure

She and I

I claw deep deep

into her heart

and pry on raw

emotions

feed on hurts

lingering love

exhausted waitings

flailing hopes

dying on dreams run dry

I thrive on her miseries

rivulets of tears copious

of deaths, disease and now divorce

I devour her loneliness

her mad yearnings

for madder far unrealistic goals

set in times beyond her

I seek in her

nothing but fattening food

for my existence

I live on her corpse

within her throbbing heart

She knows not

of my parasitical intentions

my bacterial fantasies

my single aim

to destroy her for my purpose

Yet in her dreams

with her fingers futile

she fights me

sometimes succumbs to me

coz I despite my

vampirical illusions

come from beyond her

far away from her notions of time

further away from her understanding

of existence, hers and mine

So we live she and I

feeding on each other

and growing however

haphazard

however zigzag

however garish,unbecoming or paste

there we are

she and I

sometimes she disowns me

till I overpower her

and press out the juice of her living

there it sits

I sit, the poem

much to her regret

even mine

times living tragedies

she and I!

Andrew, the Furry fellow

Why so beautiful

man of furry elegance

a tail of magnificence

eyes deep brown

set in mustard

and purring like an engine

what thoughts you hold

when you so silently behold

what makes you seek a hand

and hold it tight

what meaning dost thou make

of the nonsensical morning chatter

our private time

what grace

what eloquence

oh man of tail and fur

what games of waiting

behind the door

and purring incessantly

for hide and seek

what knowledge of the universe

dost thou bring

what pleasure in your company

what looks

what arrogance

what surveillance

Andrew, be thou the

tail blazer of love, bounty and many cuddles

be thou meows the morning and evening calls

to rise to action

be thou belligerent meowing

still a call of love

be though the harbinger of

love’n’writing, food and wine and overflowing

wealth, many travels to far aurora borealis

snow clad Himalayas, leh, ladakh and more

( can never ask for less!)

in these quarantine times and ever after.

Bring with you thou the mysterious powers

from far away Egypt

where you reigned, supreme to all

second to none.

Amen.

An adage a day-“If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” — Turkish Proverb

A young friend the other day. She said, ‘Chechi, you are always busy. When do you call me? Remember I am the one who calls you every time’.

I replied instantly, ‘You know what, I am stuck usually, just work, home or other tensions’.

I realized the duplicity of my answer, the moment I recollected that I was talking to a young woman who had battled breast cancer and come out victoriously. Someone who is the mother of a special child who went on to get training in special education and is now a successful teacher. In fact she has been promoted to teach higher classes despite her reluctance.

I instantly regretted my response and my attitude but perhaps I did not learn much because later in the evening when my mom called me and shared happily, ‘ I did Shraddom, today you know, for grand mother’, my absent minded response was a mere ‘huuum’.

Mom shared this with so much enthusiasm considering the special times we are in. For more than 2 decades she has been the spear heading force at her home among her brothers and sisters in paying this annual tribute to her parents. She took pride in that and my dad supports her whole- heartedly.

This year, the fact that she could not travel to her home in Thrissur must have hurt her. Yet, she was happy to have done her duty. I was quite a moron to have shown such disinterest to her story of achievement, I realized soon.

My perceived self victim hood does stand in the way of my empathy. I learnt it yesterday. I have decided to listen to what mom has to say every day with full attention hereafter.

But why is listening so difficult?

*Preoccupations

My daughter hates it when I try to read or look at my phone while ‘listening’ to her. ‘Keep it down’, she says and rightly so. A reprimand does help in being more empathetic.

Rarely are we able to be in the present. We are often and on, trying to plan ahead or live in regret of a past moment, either ways we miss out on the present. This does impact our communication and thereby our relationship with others.

*Perceived state of being busy

Being busy is definitely a state of self-deception. How much does a child, a partner, a student ,a teacher or a friend want to have that total undivided attention. How rarely are we able to do that, listen, just listen to someone who wants to pour out his/her heart to you?

Perhaps that is what we need to resurrect, those small groups of chit chat where neighbors gathered and shared stories or had those long walks together which were not pretentious but simple and unassuming.

Except for my cat Andrew who is a permanent resident in the ‘present moment’, I really don’t know many people who are capable of listening without parallell-y working their minds on different things. It must be a scourge of our times.

Lately though I have become better at listening but definitely I need to practice more.

Some pointers to active listening:

*Switch off or put your mobile on silent mode

As soon as you get ready to listen or be given a chance to be part of a shared story, stay off the gadgets.

*Paraphrase what you heard for better understanding

In case you did not follow something prompt the other person by repeating what you heard, that will help him/her to share his/her thoughts with interest.

*The importance of hmmm….

In conversation meaningless sounds/syllables like ha, hmmm etc can help create a positive ambiance. Yeah, do check if the other person has gone to sleep with a pinch or a startle- in between maybe!

*Wandering mind

Minds that wander are a difficulty, mine being one over long conversations especially.

I guess empathy and a certain sincerity helps here.

Well, listening does and will continue to save a lot of our friends from giving up. It will uplift and elevate the mood.

A willing listener who is also non-judgmental, now that is winner surely!

An adage a day-Communication works for those who work at it

What is the most important skill for success?, asked I to a student of mine and he replied ‘Communication’. ‘Communication is the single most attribute that can make a huge difference to the way one is perceived.’ He added sagely that he worked at his communication skills and ensured that it is always clear and concise. Interestingly he mentioned that speaking alone is not communication, there is a lot more to it. ‘One can use any medium like music, dance, theatre, design, speaking or writing to communicate.’

Now that made quite an impression on me. How often have I introspected on my skills in communication? What efforts have I taken to improve them? I somehow felt that the young man definitely had a better game plan and a better skill set in his quiver.

Well some pointers to improve one’s skill at communication would be

*Consistency in practice

When I started this blog I clearly knew that it was to take me closer to my childhood dream of becoming a writer. But it is consistency in writing that has helped me shed many of my inhibitions in writing.

A young man who is into writing scripts and film making, advised me recently, ‘Just keep at it regularly, the writing will flow’. I liked what he said as I know for sure that, especially after attending the ‘Introduction to Psychology’ on Coursera that new neurotic pathways form and get better and stronger with practice.

How cool is that one can excel at almost anything with regular effort. Sounds great, right!

*Reading

Exposure to good language definitely helps one become better at it. Now what can be done for that? Definitely, reading. Reading more and more helps one to improve language, expand vocabulary and thus enabling better communication.

(A word of caution! I did read recently that addiction to the digital screen is a serious impediment to improving one’s communication skills.)

*Better body language

Now, language whether spoken or written is not the only tool for communication. In fact majority of communication is non verbal that means one needs to be aware of the use of gestures, pauses, head nods and what not while trying to communicate effectively.

*Writing

Writing regularly does help in improving communication. What writing does is to give an individual clarity of thought, it sort of filters out the confusions and enables one to be more coherent in communication.

*Listening

Listening is indeed the best way to pick up communication at least the speaking part of it. And that’s how we pick up our mother tongue or our first language which most of us speak rather fluently.

In cases where there is no natural environment to listen and learn, one can still listen to music, watch films, listen to audio books, ted talks and more in order to pick up the language and eventually improve one’s ability to communicate effectively.

When it comes to non verbal communication one has to learn by observation. Again there is enough literature available freely to read up on the significance of non verbal communication.

*Nonchalance

By nonchalance I mean that ability to speak even when one is not fluent or reasonably good at the language. In other cases, say writing, one has to still try and write and not wait to have the spirit of Shakespeare or Tagore, or Emily Dickinson to inhabit you before you put up a single word outside.

If you really want to pick up any skill whether it is communication or any other, try doing it anyways, and just ignore the indifference, if any.

Just remember that ignorance of any language is not a barrier to communication.

Language is a tool that enhances communication. So use it well.

Definitely it is a big deal to be able to communicate effectively, not surprisingly though, most leaders are also great communicators. And that is not mere coincidence!

In general when we talk about communication, we only refer to the spoken and written form of it, but as the young man mentioned art does communicate, doesn’t it?

I am sure you will agree working on one’s communication skills is indeed worth some effort! Just don’t forget to enjoy the process.

Chutney queen

It has been my dream. A deep visual fantasy of stuffing my refrigerator with many many glass jars filled with chutneys of all sorts. And then going on to do that for many more households …ha…dreams….

But how delightful would that be!

With pay cuts ,the life looked grimmer than ever before and I only could turn to the kitchen for some solace.

And it could be age that I am sometimes consumed by the desire to cook for others.

So one day, I happily cooked a huge vessel full of delicious ripe mango curry and distributed it at the office.

I told my colleagues, times are tight, meeting ends has become a challenge, will you buy my lunch packs, and happily for me at least two of them nodded , ‘yes of course, I would love to’.

Lugging my tiffin box carrier and looking very much like the lunch distributing aunty on my two wheeler, I reached home beaming at the prospect of a new career, hopefully one that lasts a life time.

It is time for change .Life has so far been a rather linear journey, so I thought and that I should now go for variety.

Also family obligations done, daughter grown up, who is to stop me!!!

Coming back to chutney, well, I am on a journey to the chutney land and I am drooling over fancy chutneys in fancier jars adorning every kitchen, hmm…. it does look good .

Besides, my chutney skills are really looking up and acquiring some sort of a fan following that I am super impressed.

Don’t want to brag but once my MIL, now my ex-MIL said rather cryptically, ‘these uthradom girls, they manage to excel at everything they do’…maybe she meant what she said, maybe she didn’t, who knows!!!

So when you are low

go make yourself some chutney

or better still reach out to the chutney master

yours truly!!!

Of return

the grass greens more

tender in my eyes

the earth soft and silky

spreads a path

of no promises

yet the call

irresistible

incessant

looming large

an ancient dwelling

a few trees

and some birds

then the rains

and the promise

of an old friend dear

but mostly an iota

of doubt and fear

of being consumed

of being enveloped

of no return

of thereafters

yet the call

powerful deep from within

rises every second

the sweet promises

of childhood, dreams and spirits

of trees and scents and clear skies

overpowers

overrules

the rise of the question

ah! time,you be the guide

I, your humble follower

dear universe,

fold me in your arms

hold me close

in life, living as dead

or in death itself

the returns are sweet

the hopes are sweeter

till then

ciao!

It is a kind world that we live in

I often hear that the auto drivers are inhuman and dangerous, really I said,’ they have been extraordinarily kind to me’. In fact, while in Indore I had an unwritten contract with an auto driver bhaiya that he was the one to pick and drop me or my daughter for close to 5 years. Now this could even be early morning sports events at 6 am or post annual function or other events at 10 pm, there was never a murmur ever on either side, that sometimes I joked to my colleagues who would ask, ‘who did you come with’, and I would go ‘the auto wallah’, with a wink!

More than that they were also my besties, the auto wallah bhaiyas, that once a college function pic appeared in a local paper and they were the first to point it to me and almost celebrate it. Kind of made my day brighter!

In Bangalore, though I have had some tough experiences but that does not make me brand all auto drivers as being unethical because they are not obviously.

On the linkedin a young lady wrote to me saying she was looking for work. She said, ‘I just wanted to connect to you’, I was amazed at this and we talked.

Apparently with the COVID 19 her life has been difficult and she was going through some tough time.Well, so was I! After a few exchanges of messages on phone, and some talk later, we sort of built some bonding. Yesterday I reached out to her asking for some suggestion and she said your daughter is mine too, Sreelekha!,I will do whatever is possible’. Really!!! I was moved beyond words.

When I connected her with another friend of mine for a webinar, I felt good. Isn’t the world a good place!

I can share numerous instances like that. When I was buying my flat against a negative bank balance on my own,fighting my own diffidence, a whole lot of indifference and skepticism and some genuine doubt, the man who was selling it to me said, ‘listen I will transfer this amount to you from my wife’s account. Give it back to us when you are comfortable’.

Now who does that? I don’t even know the guy or his family but there I was being helped to help accomplish a wish I thought I would never be able to achieve in the first place.

I guess we all have these examples of the goodness of the universe reaching out to us at different times but when life takes a bad turn, we forget and blame the whole world for being selfish and cruel.

Of course we need to be cautious and careful and often times when I have lowered my defence, I have been taken for a ride or two! That notwithstanding, I would still say ‘its a good world, with the kind forces of the universe guiding and almost holding your hand with compassion and a great deal of consideration’.

So what if some dreams never come true, some wishes never become real, some efforts go in vain, it is all just fine.

I use this talisman often, ‘think of a street dog or any animal or tree in this world, whose right or need or very existence is always in jeopardy,yet does it or he/she have a choice to express, question or even plead!’ Well, knowing the answer to that one has to be grateful for the many many blessings one has.

Our lives are always better than that of many others in so many different ways even when we are going through some very bad times and we always have the power and the strength to give, reach out and help one another, then why waste time cribbing, go have a happy life, happy as it is! Cheers!

https://indianexpress.com/article/trending/trending-in-india/pune-auto-driver-helps-feed-migrants-with-money-saved-for-his-wedding-6415832/

pune, pune auto driver, Auto driver uses money saved for wedding to feed migrants, trending, indian express, indian express news
Chota packet bada damaka

CAtch me if you can: Movie

To watch a Leonardo Di Caprio movie is always a delight but watching a very young Leonardo charming essaying the role of an absolute con man was more than delightful.

With Tom Hanks as FBI agent Hanratty at his heels, the young supremely chameleon like Frank Abagnel Jr changes his colors leaving even the experienced FBI agent stunned into stupidity a few times.

To know that it is a biographical tale is even more interesting. I mean that is pure genius, no wonder Charles Shobraj has many women swooning over him!

Anyways the digital art in the trailer was pretty impressive too.

The movie is a feel good watch, where one is torn between admiration for the talents of Frank Abagnel, sympathy for his rather unfortunate upbringing and of course a suspicion of con artists.

What is very endearing is the friendship that develops between the cop and the Frank. When a young Frank Abagnel calls Carl Hanratty the FBI officer chasing him on a lonely Christmas night one really feels for the lonely souls around the world, who cannot share their joys or sorrows with another soul.

Catch Me If You Can 2002 movie.jpg
The real Frank Abagnale at Google