Tag Archive: life


Of lockdowns , mindfulness , cooking etc

2020 was the time we literally wore (wearing) masks ,which we have been wearing in an increasingly social media /social networking driven society. Is it better to be anonymous or be your fake self on social media ?????

Social media, on the other hand became a platform for a massive public campaign – demanding justice for SSR (even as news channels abruptly stopped reporting the case – and forensic/decoding experts from the public taking an initiative and debunking the suicide/depression theory) …. , resulting in a CBI /NCB enquiry .With conspiracy theories still floating around and a lot of unanswered questions , will the truth ever come out ??

Pandemic/lockdown was also the time to hone up meditation/yoga practices and focus on mental health through mindful rituals, to get connected to and be your authentic self and #VibeHigher . When you can’t go out in nature and more importantly , have to go without Zomato /swiggy and trying out different buffet spreads at restaurants more often than not, learning to cook is the best way not only to revel in the simple pleasures of cooking for your family , but also to vicariously experience nature whilst practicing mindfulness through smelling the aromad ,tasting savouring the tastes, viewing different colours (of the greens) , feeling the textures – #slowdown #slowfoodmovement

Mint pulao with some middle eastern recipe of baked potatoes
Palak paneer
Frozen phirni – icecream??
Hyderabadi Tomato salan
Mother’s Day 2020
Carrot halwa
Lockdown Bday – Who knew Parle-G could be used to bake instant eggless cake – cake for mum’s bday 2020
Veg Biryani for Father’s day 2020
One of the umpteen attempts to emulate authentic Tamilnadu Sambar
Kerala style Appam
Khasta Kachori
Rasgullas

this simple pleasure that could make me feel strange and sad and light at the same time was something I can call freedom. And in this ‘freedom’ rested the beginnings of faith, of an inexplicable lightness which was like the spreading glow from a lamp, moving away, carrying one away, as it were, from everything else, something which fails to measure the expanse of one’s life. For me, today, a good poem probably does just that. http://www.thehindu.com/books/singing-of-trampled-grass/article19689961.ece

 

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/rain-spotting-on-natures-canvas/article19699449.ece

A couple of coconut trees spiral up into the blue sky. This is the square canvas with the ‘nature painting’ that my window affords — assuredly a sight for the sore eyes of this city-dweller wearied by quotidian cares. And so, many an hour on Sunday mornings is spent lazily focussing and defocussing on this work of art, embellished by a gentle breeze and bird-calls of various tones.

Water-brushed hues

And then comes the monsoon. Same time, same place. But the painting is now getting ‘water-brushed’. ………..The hitherto still-life painting seems to have taken on a life of its own. The tone and texture of its green components seem to alter as the raindrops descend on them. I watch in fascination as the green carpet below winks and glints at me. These are the hundreds of small leaves, of varying shades of green, doing flip-flops as they give in to the pressure of the droplets. The rapid change of surfaces creates an overall shimmering effect, maintaining a true rhythm with the steady rain.

Meanwhile, a little above the ground, the large taro leaves sway like elephant ears. Hardly under any pressure from this rain, they coolly flash and flaunt their water-droplet pearls. At eye-level is a staid wall of green in the background, formed by the closely packed, unremarkable leaves of a clump of trees. The rain seems to just disappear into this wall, leaving no trace of moisture. Shifting my gaze, I look up to see the unruffled leaves of the coconut palm shirking off this precipitation in the form of drops dripping from the tip of each leaflet. And so this painting gets embellished for those magical moments. Missing in action are the butterflies and dragonflies, subdued out of their flight by the rain.

And so, the minutes stretch to an hour or so as nature does its stuff, uplifting the mundane to the ethereal. Myriad film song lines pass through the mind, describing gentle rain. Time passes, fleetingly, unknowingly; the spell is usually broken by the lunch call or some guests. Reluctantly, I peel myself from the window, thankful to both circumstance and nature, for the serendipitous gift. And, a line from another poem (by John Updike) comes to mind: Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.

Singing of trampled grass  Jayanta Mahapatra

I remember one of those simple pleasures that seemed to provide me with a new beginning or give a new meaning to my days. This was when I would let my feet hang still in the waters of a flowing stream and feel the water flow past past me. Or, climbing up the old mango tree, lying on a low branch, I appeared to be in another world, perhaps giving me a glimpse of the world inside of me.

Who will cry the cry of the dropping leaf? Who will whisper the whisper of the summer breeze? The politician or the poet? Or the silent pain of the pebble kicked by a child? Or the sob of the rose plucked off its stem? Who will mourn the moan of the trampled grass? Only the poet.

Perhaps poetry shall always remain an attempt to remove the burden of time from this world, and poems will continue to do this through images, metaphors, symbols. Time, ever present, ever passing, making us wakeful while we are asleep, making us hear our pulse in the silence of the night. I quote a line from the Atharva Veda XIX: 53.

Time drives as a horse with seven reins,

thousand-eyed, unaging

possessing much seed;

him the inspired poets mount;

his wheels are all beings.

And one asks: Does a poet use time to get away from time? Does he surrender to this rite, capturing in time a fragile moment of meaning? Merely for the sake of the feeling of freedom?

…..write through my anguish and the awareness of my presence, and in the process reveal myself, perhaps going out of myself, leaping into blindness or light.

Call it freedom. For what we dream can well enter the realm of undream, causing something to come out of it, something like a quiet self-discovery or even prayer, that brings a joy in the recognition of ourselves against the fear of time. Call it freedom.

………… not bother about the conscience of the world — simply be the water that flows, finding its own level, even if it is soaked away by the earth, with no trace left behind. In this, in such a poetry of today, committed to the many worlds we live and believe in — the human, the historical and the moral — can one touch the heart of freedom.

freedom? Is it the path through unknown places of the heart, a path that is both unreal and of a transcendent nature and yet is something that foresees the event of death? ……

The Art of Living

“Just because we are knocked down, doesn’t mean we are out. We still have breath in our lungs & tears flowing down, all signs that we are alive. Take a deep breath and be reminded that often our biggest struggles are the stepping stones to our greatest victories.”  Rae   Smith(http://shaktilover.tumblr.com/)        

wild-nirvana:•my spiritual world•

“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”   Albert Camus, from “Notebooks, 1951-1959

https://i1.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/4a9184f98a0dbff4ccd1fc1ede8ad99c/tumblr_mf4wpohXBo1rtlzg3o1_500.jpg

“A plant is not thinking: Tomorrow I will put a new leaf to the north and then next week when it rains I will grow a meter taller. Its existence is just unfolding out of itself spontaneously, naturally, unplanned. Similarly, your true life unfolds in the same way but you are unaware of it because you allow your mind to imagine fanciful ways of being and then pursue your projections. Like this, you began thinking and strategising your existence rather than simply experiencing your natural being. We cannot breathe tomorrows, breath today. Therefore, knowing this, leave your existence to existence and start enjoying your cosmic play. Best of all, don’t try to be anything at all. This is a secret few recognize.”  Mooji http://wethinkwedream.tumblr.com/

“The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mood of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change, for happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up.” Charles Morgan (via the-healing-nest)

“Living has yet to be generally recognized as one of the arts.”

The Art of Living – a 1924 guide. (via explore-blog)

“I came to a point where I needed solitude and just stop the machine of ‘thinking’ and ‘enjoying’ what they call ‘living’, I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the clouds.”Jack Kerouac

“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”Ernest Hemingway

ONLY 3 THINGS CAN CHANGE OUR LIVES!

True

 

Street of Dreams

A reminder for your sunday

Probably my favorite quotes (that is wrongly attributed to Kurt Vonnegut) .

View original post

Save Me.

Words That Flow Like Water

I have this great fear,

Of languishing in a moment

Despairing over something,

Not worth despairing over.

I can’t shake this dark

And heavy feeling,

Can’t throw it over a wall,

And climb over another.

I can’t run from it,

I just succumb to it because,

It consumes me,

Ties me tight,

Shrouds my closed eyes.

Save me.

Save me from myself.

I am drowning in this sea

Of great and unknown

Fears, of endlessness,

Of the great circle of life.

I am scared.

I can’t see.

I’m being yelled at…

For something stupid…

And suddenly I am drowning,

Swamped by the utter darkness

Of this fearful night…

I didn’t realise,

I lost all sight,

Of the future that had once been

So bright.

What happened along the way?

When did this cloud descend

Upon who I am?

I forgot…

And fell afraid…

Save me.

From my greatest fear,

Of…

View original post 79 more words

Rumi

The Guest House – by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Nothing ever goes away

E from  http://zenhabits.net/zenwork/

Vacation mind, work mind.

They are two different things, and yet, what if we could have the vacation mind while working? We’d have to toss out the lazing around and the margaritas, but the mindset could be the same. The result would be a saner way of living, where we aren’t “working for the weekend” or looking forward to the little vacation time we have, but instead are happier throughout the week.

How can this be done? It’s a few small mindset habits, which can be practiced and learned over time.

  What Vacation Mind is Like at Work

Work mind is often full of anxiety: anxiety for what we need to do, for deadlines, for irritating or angry co-workers/bosses, for all the information coming in, for whether we’re doing the right thing right now, for whether we’re missing out on something important.

Vacation mind lets that anxiety go, and is just present in the current moment. Time is less important, enjoying yourself is the priority.

gypsybeachqueen:zen rocks

So what does it look like when you apply vacation mind to work? You let go of the anxiety. You aren’t worried about getting it all done, or doing the right thing right now, or all the things you have to do later. You are immersed in enjoying whatever you’ve chosen to do right now.

………..Pick something to do, immerse yourself, let go of worrying about other things, and just do. Enjoy yourself. Once in awhile, come up for air and look at the big picture.

The Vacation Mind Practices

  1. Pick something, immerse yourself.
  2. Let go of anxieties.
  3. Step back and see the big picture.
  4. Be less worried about time.

Is it possible to be on permanent vacation, so that you’re doing your work but also in the relaxed, enjoyable mindset that’s brought on by margaritas on the beach? I think so, but there’s only one way to find out. Practice.

  

http://zenhabits.net/contentment/

What is contentment…………being happy with who you are. …………And while many might say, “Sure, you can say that now that you’ve reached a certain level of success,” I think that’s wrong. Many people who achieve success don’t find contentment, and are always driven to want more, and are unhappy with themselves. Many people who are poor or don’t have a “successful” career have also found contentment. Worst of all, with the attitude of “you can be content because you’re successful”, is that people who say this are dismissing the path of contentment … when it’s something they can do right now. Not later, when they reach certain goals or a certain level of financial success. Now.

We start out in life thinking that we’re awesome. We can dance in public as 5-year-olds, and not care what others think of us. By the time we’re adults, that’s been driven out of us, by peers and parents and the media and embarrassing situations.

As adults, we doubt ourselves. We judge ourselves badly. We are critical of our bodies, of ourselves as people, of our lack of discipline, of all our faults. We don’t like our lives.

As a result, we try to improve this lacking self, try to get better because we suck so much. Or, we doubt our ability to get better, and are very unhappy. Or we sabotage our attempts at change, because we don’t really believe we can do it.

This self-dislike results in worse relationships, a stagnant career, unhappiness with life, complaints about everything, and often unhealthy habits like eating junk food, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising, shopping too much, being addicted to video games or the Internet.

So what’s the path to being content with yourself and your life?

The first problem is if you don’t trust yourself. That’s an important area to work with.

Your relationship with yourself is like your relationship with anyone else. If you have a friend who is constantly late and breaking his word, not showing up when he says he will, eventually you’ll stop trusting that friend. It’s like that with yourself, too. It’s hard to like someone you don’t trust, and it’s hard to like yourself if you don’t trust yourself.

So work on this trust with yourself (I give some practical steps in the bottom section below). Increase it slowly, and eventually you’ll trust yourself to be awesome.

The second problem is that you judge yourself badly. You compare yourself to an unreal ideal, in all areas. You want a beautiful model’s body. You want to achieve certain goals, personally and professionally. You want to travel the world and learn languages and learn a musical instrument and be an amazing chef and have an amazing social life and the perfect spouse and kids and incredible achievements and be the fittest person on the planet. Of course, those are completely realistic ideals, right?

And when we have these ideals, we compare ourselves to them, and we always measure up badly.

The path to contentment, then, is to stop comparing ourselves to these ideals. Stop judging ourselves. Let go of the ideals. And gradually learn to trust ourselves.

If you feel there’s something wrong with you that needs to be improved, you’re going to be driven to improve yourself, but you may or may not succeed. Let’s say you fail in your habit change. Then you start to feel worse about yourself, and you’re then on a downward spiral where every time you try to improve, you fail, and so you feel worse about yourself, and then you’re on the downward spiral. You start to self-sabotage your changes, because you really don’t believe that you can do them. Based on past evidence, you don’t trust yourself that you can do it. And that makes you feel worse.

That’s if you fail. But let’s say you happen to succeed, and you’re really good at succeeding. So you succeed — maybe you lose weight, and so maybe you don’t feel as bad about your body now.

But what happens is, if you start in this place of fixing what’s wrong with you, you keep looking for what else is wrong with you, what else you need to improve. So maybe now feel like you don’t have enough muscles, or six pack abs, or you think your calves don’t look good, or if it’s not about your body, you’ll find something else.

So it’s this never-ending cycle for your entire life. You never reach it. If you start with a place of wanting to improve yourself and feeling stuck, even if you’re constantly successful and improving, you’re always looking for happiness from external sources. You don’t find the happiness from within, so you look to other things.

If you’re externally looking for happiness, it’s easy to get too into food, or shopping, or partying, or overwork, to try to be happy.

If instead, you can find contentment within and not need external sources of happiness, then you’ll have a reliable source of happiness. I find that to be a much better place to be than relying on external sources of happiness.

A lot of people wonder, “If you find contentment, won’t you just lay around on the beach, not improving the world, not doing anything?” But I think that’s a misunderstanding of what contentment is.

You can be content and lay around, but you can also be content and want to help others. You can be content and also compassionate to others, and want to help them. You can be happy with who you are, but at the same time want to help other people and ease their suffering. And that way, you can offer yourself to the world and do great works in the world, but not necessarily need that to be happy.

Even if for some reason, your work was taken away from you, you’d still have that inner contentment.

Practical Steps

1. Build self-trust.

2. Notice your ideals.

The truth is, the reality of ourselves is not bad, it’s only in bad in relation to the ideal that we have about ourselves. When we let go of the ideal, we’re left with the reality that can be judged as perfectly great. It’s a unique human being who is beautiful in its own way.

So ask if you’re feeling bad about who you are and how you did. If so, it’s because of the ideal. To recognize that takes awareness first. Notice your ideals.

3. Let go of the ideals.

quotes and pics

“Everything you’re looking for lies behind the mask you wear.”  Stephen C. Paul

hymntohope:</p><p>Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice<br />http://paradoxically-free.tumblr.com/</p><p>so was darcy an introvert then ?

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” Georgia O’Keeffe

  Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet
            

Beginners guide to minimalism.

 

  “Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.”  — Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

“But to me, it’s a whole lot more important to find something that makes you unafraid of being alone, rather than to have so many friends that you wind up being terrified of solitude.”  Mitsuyo Kakuta

shetakesflight:In a world where you can be anything…BE yourself.

Days I enjoy are days when nothing happens,
When I have no engagements written on my block,
When no one comes to disturb my inward peace,
When no one comes to take me away from myself
And turn me into a patchwork, a jig-saw puzzle,
A broken mirror that once gave a whole reflection,
Being so contrived that it takes too long a time
To get myself back to myself when they have gone – Vita Sackville-West
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” ― James Baldwin

“Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.”  Chris Brogan

 David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays    aseaofquotes:David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.” — Ram Dass

“We are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves, may we be allowed to read it before we die.”  Douglas Coupland

pinkglittertears:~pinkland here~

“‎Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” John Green, “The Fault in Our Stars.”

“Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.” Ralph Charell

   homedesigning:Inspirational and Cozy Outdoor Space | click through to see several others. 

   windowlettering:Tenue de Nimes, Madame et Monsieur by SeenbyBien(via Ahmed)

 

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. In this state of god-like awareness one sings; in this realm the world exists as poem. 

Henry Miller in The Wisdom of the Heart ( http://literaryjukebox.brainpickings.org/post/44784048462 )

The despairing countryside – The Hindu.

…………………….A quarter century has lapsed since, opting for life as a farmer, he resigned his job as a banker and returned with his wife Uma Sankari and two daughters to his village Venkatramapuram in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh. He tried to farm in ethical ways founded on multiple solidarities — with earth and water, with crops and trees, with his workers, and with dalits and women.

Until the 1970s, a third of the farmers irrigated their fields, with dug wells in which water was easily found at 30 to 50 feet, or through small tanks. The rest relied on rain-fed agriculture, and the soil was moist. But since then, the electric pump literally became a watershed in the history of their village. People started drilling bore-wells, and dug deeper and deeper to strike the elusive ever-receding water. In Venkatramapuram today almost all bore-wells have run dry. Some people in insane desperation have tried to drill bore-wells up to 700 feet without striking any water.

Until the 1970s, a third of the farmers irrigated their fields, with dug wells in which water was easily found at 30 to 50 feet, or through small tanks. The rest relied on rain-fed agriculture, and the soil was moist. But since then, the electric pump literally became a watershed in the history of their village. People started drilling bore-wells, and dug deeper and deeper to strike the elusive ever-receding water. In Venkatramapuram today almost all bore-wells have run dry. Some people in insane desperation have tried to drill bore-wells up to 700 feet without striking any water.

books to read

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/03/21/must-read-books-music-emotion-brain/What Freud has to do with auditory cheesecake, European opera and world peace.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/01/25/must-read-books-happiness/From Plato to Buddha, or what imperfection has to do with the neuroscience of the good life.

i think russell shud hav been added to the list – https://excerptsandm.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/the-conquest-of-happiness-bertrand-russell/

The hopeless human predicament

 

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/the-hopeless-human-predicament/article4324615.ece

Nothing much is happening in their wretched lives. “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful.” All they can do is to wait with anxiety and trepidation the arrival of Godot.

As Vladimir states: “But that is not the question. Why are we here; that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come.”

So the two men, doomed to one another’s company in desolate surroundings, pass time bantering and bickering, singing and reminiscing, laughing and crying to relieve the monotony of their endless ‘wait’. They voice profound metaphysical questions interspersed with small talk. Their emotions change in quick succession, as if to reveal the contradictions that the human self is steeped in. Vladimir and Estragon desperately need one another in order to avoid living a life of loneliness and alienation. “Didi” and “Gogo” — their nicknames — demonstrate the intimacy of their relationship. Yet, every now and then they feel compelled to leave one another.

Estragon: Wait! (He moves away from Vladimir.) I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t have been better off alone, each one for himself. (He crosses the stage and sits down on the mound.) We weren’t made for the same road.

Vladimir: (without anger) It’s not certain.

Estragon: No, nothing

The pathos in Didi and Gogo’s need for each other and the anguish in their desire to escape their plight are palpable just as the absurdity in the situation of pointless waiting is evident. They do not know who Godot is. They are neither sure about the time nor the place of their appointment. They do not even know what will happen if they stopped waiting. Lack of this basic knowledge makes them powerless and insignificant. The tramps cannot but wait for Godot.

Ironically, the much-awaited Godot is never ever going to arrive.

Each day is a return to the beginning and each day passes in circuitous conversation.

Will they forever keep circling? Will they ever find closure? Perhaps not, because the universe that Beckett presents before us is devoid of design, purpose or care.

The intermingling of absurdist comedy with black humour redeems and lightens the inherently tragic theme. The spectators break out of their self-imposed inertia, rock with the rhythm of the play, pity and fear, laugh and cry. Waiting for Godot encapsulates the human condition brilliantly. It connects with our life and our situation. It seems to echo our deepest fears, confronts us with our naked self and our predicament, our stark loneliness — conditions not imposed by any outsider but by our own selves.

The play ends on that very note of bleak desperation. The unhappy vagrants, their questions unanswered, their hopes dashed, speak the final lines “Well? Shall we go?” Estragon answers, “Yes, let’s go,” but neither moves. The curtain falls over their immobility, over their inner paralysis.

I have spent two and a half hours balanced on a gossamer thread stretched between tension and excitement, astonishment and pure wonder. I have just witnessed a dramatic masterpiece, a timeless tale — a philosophical quest that is universal and eternal. I am out of the play but still in the play, haunted by the hopelessness of the human predicament.

As I walk by the meandering Liffey and the quays in downtown Dublin in the cool December breeze, I feel humbled by my own insignificance and an overwhelming sense of waiting for something undefinable in ‘the cosmic waiting room’.