Talking To Myself

Kaleidoscope

Yesterday a good friend of recent acquaintance –  a retired senior executive from corporate sector, erudite,  penning short stories on amazingly various themes and in profusion – called from US. They, he and his wife, were having a discussion on “Would you experience a feeling at all if there was no word for it in your language?” This was part of a larger theory that language is a trap to thinking, precluding a lot of untrodden paths just because there are no words to describe.  Just like the allegation against search engines.

Felt honored and nervous at being drawn into the discussion. My reading is limited to PGW and Vyasar Virundhu, nothing more sophisticated. Far from anything in linguistics, philosophy, etc.

Nevertheless, I have this propensity for not reading the signs, treading where others wisely back off!! (I don’t drive!)

It was refreshing to contemplate on something more than the…

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Happy And Sad

Was on my morning walk around the park.

Taking in the world up, yawning and cracking its knuckles.

The scene carried from yesterday, the day before…

failing miserably to get me down.

All the same, breaths laboured, carefully counting,

for the toil to finish.

Saw him a few feet ahead crossing the road

and coming my way.

A small withered body on a pair of purposeful legs.

A rag picker, clutching an out-sized sack thrown over his shoulders.

Heads down on the sidewalk,

not eying for more, content with the bounty.

The early bird had got the worms.

I took out from my pocket

a couple of tenners kept handy.

What ever happened to those twenties in orange?

When he came alongside, stride not broken,

lost in thoughts,

it was ditto with thoughts too…in other minds.

I gently tapped on his bony shoulders.

A couple of fogged but alert eyes looked up

from under bushy brows.

Concerned and it was not the constabulary…

Wordlessly I shoved the notes, worn but good

into his knobbly hand

that had not lifted up a wee bit.

I walked away suffused with goodness.

Happy moments. Why, verry…

Looking at and back was distasteful, I thought.

A few paces ahead, heard someone sobbing.

Looked around and found none.

Finally, I could figure out.

Confined in my pocket,

it was the fifty…for losing out

to its mates, mere tenners.

End

A Simple Unostentatious Gesture…

A municipal worker, heads down, cleaning the street, an auto-driver taking you home in the worst evening traffic and not asking a rupee more (of course, only in Mumbai), a security guard standing at his station all day long – all, people serving you or others.

Today it was a small bunch of medical staff seen in my morning walk conducting free medical-check-up for common folks from a few tables and chairs set up outside Diamond Gardens…

Well, how does one express one’s appreciation, beyond a ‘thank you’, appropriate for the occasion (money is not in many cases) and without expending a wad of currency notes?

I have found handing out ice-cold bottled drinking water bought from a nearby stall is well-received universally. Especially in these months. Not a heavy drain on the wallet at ten rupees a bottle. The surprise on their faces, especially with public servants, is a priceless reward for this small act.

Try it! Experience it!!

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Times When Wishes Turn Horses…

A forward from T R Subramanian, edited for readability:

***

There is a popular breakfast point near our factory, we often visit.

Many times, I have noticed that a person comes in, eats and sneakily leaves without paying. taking advantage of the crowd.

One day while he was eating, I wisened up the owner to what was about to happen, discreetly pointing to the stranger.

The owner smiled and said he was quite aware of it, but would let him go and that we will talk about it later.

As usual, the brother treated himself to a good breakfast, looked around and, mixing with the crowd, quietly slipped away.

After he had left, quite intrigued, I now went up to the owner and asked him why he had let the man go… was he related to him…from wife’s side? 🙂 Or, some old debts being discharged? But then why the sneakiness of an offender?

The answer given by the owner of the breakfast point left me open-mouthed.

He told me I wasn’t the first to tell him, many others as well have noticed the stranger and alerted him.

He said this man would stand across the road and when he observed the shop was sufficiently crowded, he would strike – sneak in and eat.

Then why in the world…may be his idea of doing day’s charity?

The owner continued:

I always ignored it and never stopped him…never caught him nor ever tried to disrespect him.

Because I think the rush in my shop is due to the prayer – call it wishes if you prefer – of this brother… He would be standing in front of my shop wishing for a rush so he could…and sure enough a crowd always collected in quick time as if in answer…

I do not want to invite my misfortune by cutting my own leg in the matter of this prayer and its acceptance by the gods he was earnestly beseeching…I will always let him eat such food…will never disrespect or corner him in any manner!!!

In fact I have seen the owner getting visibly restless if the stranger did not turn up at the appointed hour in a day!!

I witnessed the scene playing out unfailingly every time I went in for long as I worked at that factory.

End

A Race Of One!

vide Gopalakrishna Sunderrajan

🍂

I was jogging this morning and I noticed a person about half a km ahead.

I could guess he was running a little slower than me and that made me feel good.

I said to myself I will try catch up with him. So I started running faster and faster. Every block, I was gaining on him a little bit. After just a few minutes I was only about 100 feet behind him, so I really picked up the pace and pushed myself. I was determined to catch up with him. Finally, I did it! I caught up and passed him.

Inwardly I felt very good. *I beat him*. Of course, he didn’t even know we were racing.

After I passed him, I realized I had been so focused on competing against him that … I had missed my turn to my house. I had missed the focus on my inner peace. I missed to see the beauty of greenery around. I missed to do my inner soul searching meditation and in the needless hurry stumbled and slipped twice or thrice and might have hit the sidewalk and broken a limb.

It then dawned on me, isn’t that what happens in life when we focus on competing with co-workers, neighbours, friends, family, trying to outdo them or trying to prove that we are more successful or more important and in the bargain we miss on our happiness within our own surroundings? We spend our time and energy running after them and We miss out on our own paths to our given destination. The problem with unhealthy competition is that it’s a never ending cycle. There will always be somebody ahead of you, someone with a better job, nicer car, more money in the bank, more education, a prettier wife, a more handsome husband, better behaved children, better circumstances and better conditions etc.

But one important realisation is that you can be the best that you can be, when you are not competing with anyone. Some people are insecure because they pay too much attention to what others are, where others are going, wearing and driving, what others are talking. Take whatever you have, the height, the weight and personality. Accept it and realize, that you are Blessed, that you are Unique. Stay focused and live a healthy life. There is no competition in Destiny. Each has his own. Comparison and Competition are the thieves of JOY. It kills the Joy of Living your Own Life. Run your own Race that leads to Peaceful, Happy Steady Life. 😊

**

Unfortunately our kids hear the race-start shot early in their lives, thanks to our education system where only the fierce among the ‘Seekers’ become ‘Finders’. Joy of Learning – what’s that? Years pass before comprehension dawns, if at all, life goes by a different set of rules. A positive development today is kids are not afraid of exploring and pursuing career options other than engineering or medicine.

End

Faithful Or Faithless?

It is a practice started since last few months, of doing one’s bit in this lockdown period.

Of the many street vendors, there was this man selling flutes. The flutes were mounted on a central support which he hoisted on his shoulder.  As he went around, he would announce himself to the flat-dwellers by playing some popular tune on his flute. It was once a week or in ten days.

Times are tough. Buyers, mainly children, were not exactly flocking. Feeling sorry for him, it became my routine to go down hurriedly to catch him before he moved away and thrust the money into his hands. Initially I had to explain to him. Not anymore. He knows I’m not buying anything. We would exchange namaste with a smile and be done. With an act that might dent the self-respect even a wee-bit of a man who was putting in honest work to earn a living – wasn’t a alms seeker – it was embarrassing to prolong the interaction beyond the minimum. Also it couldn’t be more substantial than what it was.

So, it was a couple of days ago. I heard him – I mean his tune – and rushed down.  Finding the rupees from one of those half a dozen purses lying around, most of them empty, then putting on the face-mask and then carrying my bulk down the stairs, panting thru the mask, took a little while. By then, he had moved. It was not a problem without remedy – I could always call out to him. But this time from where I stood, I could see he was not my regular, but a new guy wearing a characteristic lungi.  I came away. I did not want to begin servicing a queue of new guys besides the regular. For, I had plans to spread out my meager resources over more regulars in the beat.

‘So what? You should have given him something, may be not as much as you give your regular,’ my wife said.

So, I grabbed a fifty and went down again. He had moved even farther down. A watchman of the building (apartment complex) opposite ours knew my routine – he let out a high-decibel shout, getting the flute-seller’s attention.

He turned around and slowly made his way to me. He was an old man, his teeth hopelessly paan-stained. I gave him the rupees I carried adding a short explanation. He recovered quickly and blessed me in the name of all-kind Allah. And, looking at me clad in southie-style dhoti and only a towel covering my upper torso – remember, I came down in a hurry? – he hastened to add ‘Jai Shri Ram.’

Given my strong leanings, I should have been thrilled. Somehow I was not. That he felt compelled to say left me strangely sad. Was I imagining? I was also kicking myself for not having carried the usual hundred. Hope he lets me make amends in the days ahead.

A voice in me said Shri Ram approves.

End

Shining Star

Thought of You, Dear S!

© Anon

Published: January 2012

The angels looked down from heaven one night.
They searched for miles afar,
And deep within the distance
They could see a shining star.

They knew that very instant
That the star was theirs to gain,
So they took you up to heaven,
Forever to remain.

Look down on us from heaven.
Keep us free from hurt and pain.
You’ll always be within my heart
Until we meet again.

Source: family/friend poems

End