Category Archives: 2 Minute Thoughts

Of Studying late

You should write NET, Sreelekha, said Vijayan Nair Sir, my favorite professor at Govt. Victoria College, Palakkad.

Yes, I smiled happy but shy, that was how I used to be then long back.

I talked to my parents about this exam, which was just introduced and said that ‘he even asked me to pursue, PhD’, sounding a bit unsure.

Pursuing doctoral studies looked interesting and intimidating to me at that time but I expressed my plan for life after post graduation to my parents.

They however, had other plans, and no time to listen to me or even consider my wishes, so they almost bullied me into marriage.

With low self esteem and lack of clarity about life, I succumbed to the emotional blackmail and regretted it immediately, until the birth of my daughter, who made life liveable and fun again.

Growing up with her, I almost forgot about the PhD, though at Indore in my early thirties, I made trips to Devi Ahilya Vishwa Vidyalaya in search of a guide.

In Calicut, my hometown ,I would go to the Calicut university and meet professors and share my desire to continue studies.

I was told that PhD was very expensive and that it was impossible for me to pursue it with the earnings I had at that time.

I don’t know why but I easily believed what was told,( for avoiding conflict at any cost was a pattern in my behavior )and did not contest such opinions.

Perhaps my brother’s steady deterioration of health weighed me down and my parents were too broken emotionally to discuss anything and friends I did not have any.

But life was good and to have a blessed happy kid like my daughter was a joy and I put aside my thoughts and focused on the task of parenting plus teaching at school was demanding and interesting as well.

As years rolled by the pressures of earning, to fund my daughters education and living in a metropolitan city ,pushed me out of the comfort of school teaching to corporate, then to college and finally to university.

I laughed at myself at the long winded course life took to get me here.

I enrolled for the PhD program in my forties, and fought tooth and nail for the guide of my choice, a lady of great learning and an unquestionable dedication to research.

As we started off, I was aware of how I will have something to put my mind to something when it will be time for my daughter to leave home for higher studies.

It was timed well, so now I think as I am left with time, loads of it, I can read at my will or write as I want to.

My guide laughs when I say that had I put up as much fight and thought in finding myself a life partner, things would have been different, but the learning is in the knowing of making informed thoughtful decisions about life. Besides, it is what it is. It is what it was meant to be.

As she sometimes scolds me or pushes me a bit harder, I thank her for her care, it is good to be under the care of a strict task master. You know that she means good for you.

Little things we do, add up to a whole, sometime, someday, so just keep at it.

Well, a little guy always advised ‘write NET, Chechi’, as if it was a magic mantra for all joys.

So, there I go, back to books!

Ps: bookworm

Simple life

Life is simple, really she said.

There is nothing to fear, to worry about, all you have to do is to simply be your own self.

Your journey is your own, your life is the best it can be at any moment.

The universe in her immense wisdom holds you close and whispers joys in your ears.

It does not matter who you are, where you come from, or how far you can go or you could not. Life is no race!

Each life is running its own course. It is foolish to compare one life to another.

It is silly to expect every life to have similar timelines. It is bound to be unique and different as our souls are.

Even what you feel is not here is with you in this moment, is truly yours. Not everything is tangible or to be tactile and measurable.

All you need to do is to smile and just let go.

When the clamor at the office goes into a high pitch, just step aside and watch what unfolds.

When in personal life you find yourself trapped or cornered or feeling unhappy for a long time, see what you can change, if that does not work, step out of the circle and start afresh.

There is some trouble with all that we start, at least initially, but when you look back you will realize how your peace of mind and your happiness was of paramount importance. Nothing matters more than that.

If you are looking for love, know that love is out there looking out for you, stay receptive and non judgmental and be grateful when it reaches you.

If you are looking for wealth, know that there is enough for all of us and you too can be as rich as you want to be. Stay positive.

It is amazing that someone said, magic happens to those who believe in it.

Remember there is nothing you need to do that makes you uncomfortable in your soul, not for anyone, not even for your own self.

Beautiful life.

Simple living.

Ps: of finding happiness

Soul from yonder

Being acutely aware of transcience of life I write what strikes me at any moment, no, not for posterity but just for myself.

Every other day, I experience deep sadness for which I have no answer nor can I put a finger to why and where this comes from.

For life has been kind and the universe protective and caring in leading me through some rather tough phases of living that when I look back I know I could not have done all that alone.

Yet, my struggles are nothing compared to what a vast majority of the living experience, it is far too insignificant and immaterial, so there is really nothing much to make of it.

And the rewards of living have been, boundless too, so I struggle to understand the source of pain. Some pains and sorrows are of our own making, so it must be, I have to conclude.

But I do often fall into a maze of thoughts and feelings that seem to take wings and grow on me and often leave me confused.

So it was when I got up today and tried to reach the office, which I didn’t instead I informed the office of my absence and sat down in deep thought, waves of emotions and feelings that seemed to overpower me.

As I sat lost and in tears, seeking universal help perhaps, I was surrounded by a sweet fragrance that I have come to associate with my brother, Balraj.

For ever since his passing on to the other side, he has found time and means to reach out and be with me and it has always been this scent that comes out of nowhere, dancing around in the room.

I know this for sure because in a few seconds the sharp smell of dettol pierces my nostrils in a corona care regime that I have sort of installed in my home.

I ask for more, sometimes eager and even manipulative, coz they say we are only intermediaries for talents and abilities, but he stays on for a few moments and moves on.

This is not the first time nor will it be last I know.

Our souls are entwined in ways beyond living and have promises to look out for each other, often I think, I would have done the same to him, had I been the one to cross over early.

It is wonderful how even in our strife, we experience the divine, the souls from yonder and it only reaffirms my faith that life and death are merely transformational stages for the soul’s passing, and that one just needs to hang on in good faith and keep up the smiles and all will be good.

Too simplistic? perhaps, who said life is some complex game, it really is not, fundamental truths of living are simple and will remain the same, I guess.

Andrew, my cat, makes it a point to sit next to me in such times as if trying to tell me that he is there, its is kind of sweet of him.

pleasures of solitude

once the company of the self

fits you well

every conversation becomes noise

every hustle and bustle an intrusion

every conversation a waste of time

every reaching out paste .

Yet, solitude is not loneliness though sometimes it is disguised so.

You wonder at the state of mind till you realize and reconnect

to the bliss of solitude.

A ‘Simble’ Girl

‘This is how I want her to be’, the man spoke passionately.

She listened to his dream. He was young, his parents wanted him to get married. He, preferred someone from ‘nadu’, his place, Kerala. ‘They are the best’, you know chechi’, he said.

‘Besides there is something about our culture in Kerala, right, he added, though he has been to Kerala only on Summer vacations so far, ‘that is what I am looking for. I like when the typical Kerala girl looks down shyly, you know….’, I nodded encouragingly. ‘Hmm….’

His fantasy.

It was a pretty picture of ‘her’, a woman who could laugh with him, a’simble woman’ he emphasized. She is to be un-spoilt of the city vibes.

The picture of a village belle who was unambitious and unassuming but smart enough to walk with him in the path of life, naïve enough to worship him as a super hero, was what seemed to allure him.

A ‘simble woman’ who cooked delicious food and waited eagerly for his approval.

A beautiful young girl who preferred sari to the modern attire, whom he could protect and take care of, enjoy showing the real world, the mean world of which he could talk to her and watch her listen to him in amusement.

Th e girl has to worship his simple down to earth parents, he did not forget to add, should wear her culinary skills as an ornament. ‘Also my mother, chechi is like a goddess, she really is , have you met her?’

‘No’. (thank god!)

‘I would love to take her around the streets of Bangalore, ‘I don’t think she will be able to go around alone, and it will be fun for me to show her around and show her off too, to my friends, whose wives I find are not often in their control. I have observed that these women laugh too much and too loud, and the dresses they wear, I need not even say.’

‘You know our girls look good in traditional as well as modern clothes, have you noticed?’

‘Really!’ I looked at him surprised.

‘Last month I had been to my town, we have seen a few girls. One girl I rejected outright, she wanted to know my salary, you see, straight away, on to my face, must be a spoilt one.’

‘Then there was this cute girl, even the ‘jatakams’ matched but she wants to go to work. Now I am all for freedom and equality, but I said, we will see that later, since she is educated Masters that too, what is the problem, if I feel the need or my parents agree, I will send her to work. But that can’t be a demand right!

Somehow I felt uneasy with her. Too much attitude.

I am a single son chechi, whatever my parents have is mine, there is nobody to trouble her, still, all these conditions, irritate me, really’.

‘I am sure there is such a girl, chechi, like that old chirpy Manju Warrier, someone who will love me unconditionally, as I am with all my flaws and we will have a beautiful married life.’

‘Somethings take time, that’s how it works, right?’

‘So go and stay in Kerala, no for a few days, who knows your girl might be right there?’

‘Yeah, it is too humid or too rainy, that’s the problem, then my Malayalam is not that great, you know right’.

‘Ok. Good luck then, keep me posted’.

Ps: Simbly dreaming

Work , war, Life

So, it’s all like hunger games, you see, said she.

‘I do not’, said I in reply.

‘It is always difficult to see what is happening to you when you are in the thick of things. It is almost impossible to be objective and pontificate while you are being tossed and thrashed against your will, feeling helpless and rather clueless.’

But there she was, the fountainhead of all wisdom!

‘ You know what your problem is’, she continued, ignoring my nonplussed countenance.

‘You immerse yourself in work so much so that you forget your surroundings. You ignore what is going around you. You refuse to pick up cues scattered in full sight and refuse to act on them.’

‘So, am I supposed to be working or being on some alert mode, like my cat, whose cat nap is proverbial?’

‘Both. Yes, don’t glare at me. Let me explain this to you’.

‘Have you ever known of an animal that has lost its sense of threat perception? Have you seen them put their defenses down altogether ever?

Do you see them going off their alert mode completely, perhaps not?’

‘Well, that is true I guess. They have be aware and alert all the time, they have too many threats to their life, don’t they?’

‘Now, tell me what makes you think that you are any different?

As in at your work place, at home, in different life situations, is it normal that there will threat to your current state of existence?’

‘Life threat, you mean?’

‘Nope, girl, threat to your position, to your chair, to your sense of comfort with your partner, maybe with yourself, to your state of mind, to what you hold close to you’ . Is it not natural for the other person to aspire for some part of that? Yes or no?’

‘Yeah, so?’

‘If so, would he or she want to claim it for self, what ever means?’

‘Possible, so you mean I was in some state of stupor?’

‘Yeah, unfortunately, that is the truth, you allowed this to happen by not taking control of the situation as it was playing out in front of you. You have done this earlier and have not learned the lesson.

The life situation, played it out again to you, and what do you do, like a dumb head you walk straight into the trap again!’

‘Seriously, if you are trying to coverup your incapability with virtues of noble intentions and sterling character, you may want to take a relook at what you stand for’.

‘Your primary job in life is to protect what you hold and grow it if it comes from truth.’

‘Defending your area, territory, position, your relation is your responsibility.’

Oh, my, you make it sound like a warzone!

“It sure is!!!!”

On a Detour

Wanna try?

Yes, said I jumping at the chance and joined a ride through the unknown.

The greenery unfolded as the solitary roads got us into landscape looking straight out of a picture book.

Fresh air, lush green on either side and water pools to boot, the ride was surreal to say the least!

I was stuck by the possibilities of a small detour and what it offered.

Wondering why we never take enough chances or effort to change, thus missing out on many opportunities for better life experiences, I thanked my friend for the ride to the unknown.

And discovered to my surprise places straight out of a verdant heaven so close to me, at an arm’s stretch.

What stops us from taking those ‘detours’?

Lethargy, fear or ignorance…..

What ever it be, it is time for the detour ,so I thought.

A detour sometimes, many times is a good thing.

Kanjiyyum puzzhukkum

Rice porridge with red rice, a nice coconut chammandi and some pulses cooked lightly with no masala, makes good food. So when you add some kondattam to it, well then it is a feast.

When advertorials present happy families crunching on packets of cereals, coated with sugar and chocolate and feeling so healthy and abundant, you are sometimes misled to believe that it is what is good food and good living is all about.

Packets of food lining up the kitchen cupboard, where all you need to do is to pour in to your bowl and consume it, children, adults and everybody else. And that is healthy living! Really!

What a cheat story that is?

My daughter asks me some times, ‘so all that bournvita that I drank, it was nothing but mere sugar, is it?’.

I don’t have an answer because as a young mom, ambitious for her kid, I had often coaxed her to have her bournvita, in the belief, then all will be well!

So I thought, or because every body seems to be doing the same, so I just followed it.

But readymade food has not found much space in my kitchen maybe because the weekly dosa batter, the alternate uppmas or the delicious piniyarams, or the many parathas, had still not given up their pride of the place on the breakfast table.

That helped hugely, I like to think.

Good food is simple, it is difficult to get that, like good life, which is better, the more simple it is….

Or maybe a good dress.

It is just that we get lost in labels and perceptions and appearances and find fun in sophistication or what is masqueraded as elite!

Strange that life principles are so fundamentally simple, yet we get lost in the maze of life, so many of us.. perhaps that is living.

Look at the skies

watch the butterflies

know the cries of the birds

the dance of the clouds

know mostly your body

and how it speaks to you

listen to your heart

her soft whisperings

her murmurs

and her many dreams

go walking by the long road

biking in the country side

sit down by the waters

listen to the ripples

the swish and swoosh

of the breeze

the trance of the trees

the search of the roots

light begins in your eyes.

Simplicity in attire: set mundu from Kerala, in pic, amma and valliamma Pic courtesy: achan

TEach and be enriched

So with the quarantine and the Covid kicking in, the university wore a desultory look. There were no events to be held, no clubs met or no activities to conduct.

An unusual disquiet settled in with the uneasiness of pay cuts and quarantine. What could have been time for rest and rejuvenation was not that at all.

Instead an empty mind held on to old worries, wishes which ran awry,faces which turned away, voices which died and the many which were never heard and churned on fervent emotions scalding the mindscape.

Then it happened, ‘ we want teachers, said my former work space, the L&D department’, ok, so can she not do it?

Yes, of course, we want you to support this team.

Delightfully, I nodded.

Here comes a moment of great wanting, and a long yearning.

Classroom it is!

Even in the discomfort of long distance learning, classrooms are somehow spectacularly refreshing and engaging.

Till we bid good bye to 2020, I can happily be in good company.

Now, who said the universe, never heard?!!!

Well, if you are this quick in granting wishes, I said jokingly, here’s my wishlist, some have been pending for a long time!

She looked away after a quick glance at what I held out.

Well, till such time, go back to classroom, be happy yourself and make others miserable!!!

Of the age of the mind and that of the body

Is there a dichotomy between the age of the mind and the age of the body?

The age of the mind and the age of the body, are they two different things? Do some people ‘grow young as they grow old’ ?Are some among us ‘born old’, tending more to the social ideas of how life is to be lived by grown ups?

The numerous posts and updates on social media never tire of reminding us of those who seem to defy age. Posts on young people, especially children who put on an ‘older act’ are extremely popular so are posts that show ‘age-defying’ antics of the old.

I am most certainly not setting  shop for some anti-aging solutions here. But to think of the age of the mind and that of the body as two different concepts is interesting.

Some among us conduct ourselves in ways too different from those of our ‘body age’, and vice versa.

“I just don’t like the way those of my age use swear words and they think I am different!”, said some one.

“Madam”, a friend of mine was told, “If I were you, I would not wear such clothes, not at your age!”, this unsolicited piece of advice left my friend furious and fuming.

As a society, we, have very clear ideas of how a person at a certain age should behave, the brunt of which is often borne by the adolescents, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”!

If you look closely, an individual acts different ages at different times, so much like the way we communicate that is obviously different at home, at office, in social circles, while talking to a stranger,a superior and so on.

Should we not then allow for a little of a ‘child in an adult’ or ‘an adult in a child’?!

Say for instance, the sight of a mouth watering delicacy can bring the child in the best of adults and if talked to and reasoned out, many children conduct themselves in ways more dignified than that of an adult.

Some of us tend to feel more comfortable in the company of those who are of a different body age than ours.Our likes and dislikes, our habits and interests may be suitable to those of  a different body age.

Have you gasped at the sight of a couple who have a larger age gap between themselves?

The times we live in have definitely allowed us to be more acceptable of gender roles and gender reassignment is becoming more common helping individuals know who they are, outside the conventional norms of ‘defined gender roles’.

How then about age? Age reassignment is not yet happening or is it on the way?

How many times have you been asked to behave your age? How did that make you feel?

In India age is still a huge factor in relationships.

Parents would choose someone of the same body age for their wards in the case of an arranged marriage.

In love marriages which are increasingly gaining acceptance, I don’t think its very different either.

In the professional world there are again very rigid expectations with respect to the age bracket you fall into.

My former boss constantly reminded me of the crippling impact of menopause on performance at work, she being younger to me by one year.

I should have asked her to watch the movie, “The Intern”!

The dedication with which the so-called ‘older generation’ has taken to the world of the internet should, ideally, make us rethink our notions of age.

What is your take on the age of the mind and that of the body? Are they two different concepts?

Have you ever been told that you are too young or too old for a job or a relationship?

Do share your views.