Thursday, August 21, 2014


The last three months have been a breeze; some cool swifts and some hot afternoon blows. My parents arrived on May 28th, after a long three year wait. I kept coaxing them to come while I was not working but that didn't happen. I was just glad they were here. Eight days later my grandmother, who had been in and out of the hospital since February, passed away. My dear old grandmother, with whom I spent a huge part of my childhood, went away quietly; leaving me on the threshold of reality and illusion. My mother did not show it but I knew she was shattered within. Days rolled by, fast and slow. The girls were busy with their summer courses and tennis camp. My parents spent time watching movies, my mother cooking, and once we came back from office, with us chatting, playing cards and going for walks. I kept wishing that I am able to spend more time with them , but that not quite happening. Our morning tea-time was the best moments spent together, chatting, papa cracking silly jokes and we planning the day. Then came my older one's 16th birthday. We went out for dinner and friends came with a cake. Her big party still  remains in planning. Once their summer courses were done we all set out on a 4,600 mile, 15 day long trip. From Houston we went to Colorado Springs, to Yellowstone, to Salt Lake City, to Bryce and Zion National parks to the western rim of the Grand Canyon where the skywalk was built on a Hulapai Indian reservation in 2007. From there we headed to Las Vegas - an ethereal world of money and glamor for 3 days and then to the charming cities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque before heading back home. We returned two days before my 45th birthday. My mom and my friend had done some meticulous planning for a party on the evening of the 5th. 6 families came and we had catered food with servers. It was fun! I was back to my office routine and rushing back for an afternoon cup of tea to be had with my parents. In the evening we cooked, sat around chatting, went for a walk, or for shopping and then had dinner. Sometimes, we watched a movie on a weekday evening. On August 17th another bit of bad news came, Dr. Gohil, whom I lovingly called Mchacha passed away. It seemed to have happened so suddenly! I had spoken to him before going on my road trip and he did tell me that he had been to the hospital and that the doctor had asked him to take rest. He did not sound as if it was anything serious but he had made a strange request of wanting to chat with me for five more minutes in that conversation. I even said to him that of course, that is not something he needed to request. Little did I know that that would be our last conversation. My dear Mchacha left me to continue music on my own. It was because of him that I had made an effort to learn so many new raagas. Our afternoon practice sessions were leisurely, fun, and full of learning new things. His dedication and love for music were unparalelled. He was such a selfless person, always ready to learn something new. The next two nights I could not sleep thinking about him, his wife, their family. Some people touch you so deeply so unknowlingly. Such is life I guess. Two selfless souls whom I loved so much were gone from my life forever. Never before has the fleeting nature of life touched me so deeply. 

After our road trip, there were a mere 15+ days left before my parents return date. The last few days were a rush with shopping and invitations to friends' houses. On the eve of their departure, we went to Baker Street pub for the first time. It was a leisurely place, very quiet around 7 p.m. The ambience was very British pub like and the menu had shepherd's pie and fish and chips on it. It was a lovely evening with a couple of beers, fried cod, sweet potato fries and mashed potatoes. Papa loved the place too. Then we walked in La Centerra for a bit, showed my parents the Central Green there and headed home. Today we left my parents in the early afternoon. I was able to control my tears quite well I will say. In the evening, we sat at home and watched Singham. I had to keep my mind focused elsewhere. There was some office work to be done too. Now, from tomorrow life will go back to what it was three months ago when I was eagerly looking forward to my parents' trip here. Such is the fleeting nature of life. So, someone wise has said "live the moment!"

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Walk Along the Lake

It was yet another rainy day that took me back to the good,old days of living in Abingdon, U.K. However, the evening cleared up wonderfully and I actuallly managed to go for a walk after a lovely but heavy lunch at the Lakeside Country Club with many other cheerful SSA ladies. A walk along the lake is always heartening for the soul and body (with no evident results though!). The nip in the air was just right and birds were chirping in high melodies. For the first time, I noticed there are three types of ducks in and around the lake. Some with white and black feathers and red boils all around their eyes and upper neck. Some jet black, smaller in size with velvet-like black fur on their heads and upper neck, and some just plain beige, black and white ones with no red boils around their eyes and upper neck. Wonder what each of them are called! One furry, velvety black neck one was having a merry bath in the waters. It kept dipping its head in the water and coming up and shaking off the wetness on its back with a sudden shudder. Then down it went again for another dip. The bright red Nerium oleander was in full bloom in one of the backyards. The water of the lake a clear, still dark blue, almost greyish-black but yet with an engaging shimmer. The fountain rose and fell in abundance. My pace was steady and the recent back trouble seemed to be in check. I and my thoughts, we walked hand in hand, mingling, interlacing, breaking free to catch onto yet another ponderous thread. Now, I really need to find the headphones to my Iphone in order get those audio books rolling! As usual, too less time and lots to do, yet I shall keep at it. Trying, struggling, falling, and getting up to be on the go again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On Seizing the Moment

Each new day brings on new challenges, new ideas, new aspirations, and with it new actions and deeds. It is so true that every action is but a mind-set. If you are keen on something, if you love something deeply enough, if you have firmly engrained goals, then you automatically strive for them. Every once so often, there is a feeling of trepidation, a hesitation of deciphering right from wrong, a negative thought that negates you. However, treat it as fleeting and transient, like everything is anyway, and there is no turning back. Someone has truly and wisely said that all the fun is in the journey and not the destination. This afternoon I sat in the public library browsing the latest issue of the Architectural Digest. It was a cool afternoon and the lake outside the library had its waters stirred up. There was a man fishing and I looked up every few minutes to check if he had caught anything while reading about Brooks Shield's new townhouse in New York and Giorgio Armani's newly decorated Swiss Alpine residence. Then there was an article on Istanbul and its exotic nature lying on the border of Europe and Asia. It was such an enthralling hour spent that I went home in high spirits. Several ideas flew through my mind while reading it which I immediately jotted down in the Notes on my Iphone; an absolutely ingenius invention by the Apple guru Steve Jobs, my hero.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thinking Anew

It is funny how the brain works. Sometimes, an idea or a thought overrides your daily functions and routine until it is addressed and, hopefully, resolved. And then again, the more you resist something or averse something - something as virtual as a thought, the more it grips you and consumes you. On the contrary, if you let go and think of the positives of that thought, all of a sudden, everything seems easy, almost fun. That just goes to show how each one's potential is more often than not, curbed by one's own internal fears, apprehensions, and speculation. Then again, there are days when one's confidence, positive thinking potential is on the upsurge and others where everything seems dismal and hopeless. It is on days like the latter when one has to make a conscious effort to carve that positive groove. What then moves one from the negative to the positive? Can glucose levels provided to the brain alone make that change? Maybe not! Sometimes, something more is required. Good friends, a lilting piece of music, good company, something thought provoking on TV, a heart to heart conversation, a nice long walk in fresh air, a sweat-inducing work-out. Many things like these can help. The root of all these being diversion from the base thought for a while which then enables one to envision that same thought in a different light; then, invariably, thinking about it in a more positive light since the negative has already been exhausted. I think that's how it works!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Incessant Thought Process

I remember writing a poem on Thoughts a long time ago, when in school where I compared thoughts to an ocean and how each thought is like a wave that comes in and lashes the mind. And this carries on through the day; perhaps at night too, unconsciously. There are high tides and low tides in thoughts and sometimes entire days are governed by these tides. Of course, happy thoughts give you that boost of energy that make you think that everything under the Sun is easily possible. And then there are days where the "D" words rule bringing in thoughts on Destiny, Doubt, Dilemma. It is funny that one says thoughts are generated in the mind and yet there is a "second mind" counter-balancing THE mind. Everytime THE mind tries to bring you down, make you pessimistic, the "second mind" butts in and steers you to optimism and happiness. However, it is not just the inner thoughts that determine your mood. The five senses play an equally important role in orchestrating your mood. For example, if you are feeling sad and gloomy and all of a sudden you see a string of birds in flight, or a green grassy meadow, you are bound to feel a lift in the mood. Even a hot cup of coffee or tea will help elevate your mood; so will a lilting piece of music. So, the human mind is an amalgam of chemical reactions, neuron reflexes, and one's basic threshold of resistance, intellect, and determination.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Good and the Bad

It is always very hard to define what is good and what is bad, in universal terms. Is it a norm that all humans are born saintly, good, and will always behave so and that it is only the environment and circumstance that turn a an individual to the conventionally defined wrongs and evils? However, there is a very fine line between one's good and the other's bad and vice-versa. Each one's point of view differs, line of thinking differs, aspired goal differs and hence, the definitions of good and bad. Conventionally, what Robin Hood did was wrong but then he gave his loot to the poor and under-privileged so the bad was converted to good. Then, is it true that this balance of good and bad is kept on an individual level? In society? In the human race? And, if yes, then is it a conscious effort or a nature phenomenon? The chaos of daily life turns many individuals to meditation, yoga, prayer, God, inward seeking, etc. Is this a necessary element? Does it occur out of need or is it an inner calling? Does that inner calling then prompt one to turn away from his or her definition of evil and strive to do only good? Typically, since this inner calling comes to the majority much later in life, with a few exceptions like Prince Siddhartha, where does that effect of environment and circumstance fade away that has accumulated over so many years? Is a human capable of changing oneself to that extent? How does one remove oneself from the stereotyping and prove to be a changed person? And prove to whom other than yourself and for what to others? The modern era is a race for materialistic things more than anything else. And paradoxically, there is an upsurge of spiritual endeavors. Why? Is Man trying to overcome the evil of materialism with the good of spirituality? (And who defined materialism to be bad and sprituality to be good!)Is he trying to re-discover himself? Is he merely trying to find peace amidst the chaos when that peace is actually hidden inside him, within him and can be found with no conscious effort towards spiritualism. That, I feel, is the magic of the human mind.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On Reminiscence

Everyday is like a new life to be rejoiced and enjoyed with no regrets for the past and no worries about the future. The day alights in a new way. Sometimes, sunny and sometimes grey. Today is like being in the hills, in some remote hill-station away from the noise and chaos of the city. A light mist covers all flaw. There is a slight drizzle and a certain crypticness to Nature outside. Ducks assemble near the lake, scratching their oil glands with their well-equipped beaks. They, too, enjoying the moment. The weather demands one of M. M. Kaye's books on India in hand for the marriage of the weather and description. Of course, that would mean traveling back in time to British India, to read about India with its cool hill-stations and large colonial houses resting amidst prime Nature. Nowadays, everywhere it is the same story about rampid growth, lack of planning, cutting down of forests, making room for the huge demand for housing, balancing waste, controlling climate change. All worries for the future though, not befitting the 'Live in the Moment' psyche. Here I am trying to capture the moment and yet infringing on the past and future. Just goes to show how difficult it is to live in the present. Where would experiences of nostalgia, reminiscence, memory, recollection, pensiveness go if one were to live in the moment all the time? Don't these nouns have their own identity worth enjoying? They cause pain and joy as is with everything else, but are important, nevertheless. There is unease in recollection but unease in not being able to recollect too. So, what is a good balance is the question that comes to mind. I would say, anything and everything that makes the given moment fulfilling; whether you have to delve into the past or future for that, is making the most of life.