December 2011

Thank you Mother!

Thank you dear mother for giving me life…
To believe that after two boys, a girl in your family would be nice
To take that decision, so many years back
When your two sons were already like a lively wolf pack!
To plunge headlong once more, into active motherhood
Knowing that your time would be ours now, probably, for good
To have hapily made that choice, with a smile on your gentle face
Always believing our presence in your life was Gods most benign grace
You brought us up, through frustrations and tears, happiness and laughter
Chiselling and mounding our being, like a wise, master-crafter
Keeping the larger picture in mind, you guided us with care
Giving us wide wings and deep values, you nudged us to take to the air
As the three of us live our lives, it’s around you that we fly
Like once you did for us mother, now on you, we keep a watchful eye
We want bliss and happiness around you mom, never sadness or strife
That will be our small gift to you….
To YOU, who chose to give us life…

A Beautiful Awakening

She was sitting some distance away from me. Alone, just like me. We were both waiting patiently. Our eyes met and we shared a smile.  Then she got busy looking out of the window and I scrutinised the busy scene around me.

People were coming and going, there was the sound of conversation and laughter in the air. Life was unfolding at a leisurely pace that Saturday afternoon… Next time I glanced at her she had covered her head and her hands were folded, she had bowed her head and seemed to be saying a prayer…for the food the waiter had placed in front of her…at that time it almost seemed like a very brave thing to do in full public view. Yet, here she was, in a busy restaurant, oblivious to the curiosity of strangers and the sniggers of some. Giving thanks…

Since then till now, such a scene has never repeated itself in front of me. Mostly food is consumed almost unconsciously, conversation flowing between mouthfuls, phone calls being attended while holding a piece of bread in the hand..

At a retreat conducted by the venerable Thic Naht Hahn, he introduced us to food meditation. In this, we were all given a fruit.

Before eating it, we were asked to savour it’s colour, texture and fragrance. Then we were asked to think about the many people who’s contribution had made it possible for this fruit to be in our hand. And finally, we were asked to savour every bite with every sense we have and relish it to the fullest…in silence.

It was a beautiful awakening…by two very different yet very evolved souls…

If I had my Life to Live Over..

 (written after she found out she was dying from cancer).
 I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth
would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
 I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted
in storage.
 I would have talked less and listened more.
 I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was
stained, or the sofa faded.
 I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much
less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
 I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his
 I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
 I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day
because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
 I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
 I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more
while watching life.
 I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t
show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

 Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every
moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only
chance in life to assist God in a miracle..
 When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, ‘Later… Now
go get washed up for dinner.’ There would have been more ‘I love you’s,
more ‘I’m sorry’s.’
 But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute; look
at it and really see it; live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE
 Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what
 Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love

ek chup..sau sukh…

A painful throat condition rendered me speechless, literally.  There was quiet celebration amongst the kids as reality hit that there wouldn’t be any sound coming from me for a few days. Without the benefit of speech, I was completely lost. Talking as a way of expressing everything I felt was always taken for granted. Without it, there was a sense of helplessness.  

I started looking towards the happenings around me as one does cinema. Earlier, I used to drag my point of view behind me wherever I went, eager to push it into every conversation.  Without that pressure now, I focussed on the person in front of me, on the voice, the facial expressions and the content of speech and I found out that quite often there was a mismatch between what a person was saying and what the eyes were expressing. How often had I overlooked this vital connection when dealing with people or my children?

 As I lived in silence, I started quietening the mind as well. I started noticing the level of unnecessary noise everywhere.  On the phone, in the streets, in shops, restaurants, bus-stops, on television and radios too, everywhere people were talking so much louder than they needed to.

Did anyone even realise, I wondered? Quite often the sound was harsh, crass and unpleasant to the ear. Talking, for most people seemed like an unconscious behaviour, just like breathing or blinking. Something requiring no thought.

My silence became a new teacher and it reintroduced me to myself. I read somewhere that silence is not mere noiselessness. It is friendly and loving, all-embracing, peace-giving. A body lacking silence will reveal its agitation through fidgeting, restlessness, hyperactivity, scratching, shuffling.  Useless physical activity quite often reflects a cluttered mind…..  silence taught me to listen and also taught me the importance of distilling my thoughts before opening my mouth.  A calm, measured speech gives peace to the listener as well. A person talking too fast and too loudly can aggravate and raise the level of stress of the listener too.

“Ek chup… Sau Sukh” Grand-mother always used to say. Not every thought needs to be expressed. Choose silence sometimes, especially at those times when you cannot trust the words that will tumble out….

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