Life as a search box

One of our favourite evening schedules as husband and wife on the weekends is to watch movies or shows on YouTube and Netflix.. and since the wedding, the choice of movies and shows have distinctly transformed from rom-coms to action (although I hate to admit that once you find love rom-coms can lose some of their charm!). We also like watching thrillers and shows with some element of mystery. Well…. so it should not come as a surprise that my YouTube feeds are constantly throwing up movies like the ones we watch.. well… duh! its designed that way and in Netflix, one chooses their likes and preferences and thats what the platform prompts…

Isn’t life just like this too? or maybe, YouTube and Netflix is designed on life? Let me explain…. what if the age old saying “what you sow, you shall reap” is the biggest truth of life! what we keep feeding into the search box, becomes our prompts for what we come across life constantly? If that is intact true, then do we actually hold some power over destiny or is this just another way of being hopeful and positive when in fact whats meant to be will just be irrespective!

I guess, I am asking the very questions people have been asking for generations and generations  and only a few have answers to them based on how their lives have panned out.. but just to add some flavour to the curry, if we do treat life like a search box where if we constantly look for gratitude and happiness, then they will keep coming to us is various shapes and forms because lets face it, sometimes even the choices we type into a search box throws up very many options and majority of it we don’t even like.. so there is a big big chance that if we keep looking for something, it might just show up! If I feed my life search box with fear and anxiety and doubt, then Im going to land with a variety of these unsavoury experiences and that’s how the vicious cycle starts!

It is definitely a challenge to not click on virus sites or other diverting links during the search because man is programmed to divert and to lose his way sometimes… but the real challenge then is to always remember that its important to track back to the original search box and close unwanted sites and not be swayed by porn sites or going sites because we all know that they are land mines waiting to blow up on the face…. if life is indeed nothing but a search box… what are you going to type in next?

Pink Lipstick

The other day, I was rummaging through my makeup bag looking for my pink lipstick. It was one of my favourite ones.. it was a lovely pink almost peachy but not too pinky, just dark enough to add a glisten and a sparkle to my lips and make me feel ready for the evening out.. I had gotten ready in time and this was the last scene of my one woman lets get ready show, and I was just not able to find it.. The moment of pure success and achievement had turned into one of sweat building annoyance all in just a few minutes.. No matter how many times I looked and everywhere that I looked I couldn’t find my pink lipstick! “Why don’t you just wear another one?” my hubby consoled me, but what he didn’t get and I wasn’t going to be able to explain was that it wasn’t just ‘a ‘pink lipstick, but it was “the” pink lipstick which completed my ensemble for the evening! Any hoo, the focus of my story is not that evening.. so Im gonna let it go..

Having lost my perfect not very dressy but a evening out pink lipstick, I decided to get myself a new tube and with that thought I set out to the store… But my story isn’t about that either so let me say very simply that I managed to find the perfect not very pink, definitely not teenagey bright pink, not the first clear pink tube for start up make up wearers but the pinky peachy sparkly not matte lipstick for evenings out… perfect for moi..

As I was returning from my very productive shopping day.. I happened to sit across an elderly lady on the bus.. she had a a fair few bags with her and she was travelling with her husband. Both of them were well dressed, with accessories matching their outfits, their sun hats and walking sticks neatly kept on the railing next to their seats. I was admiring their spirit and their energy to be so well dressed on a stifling hot afternoon when in comparison their younger traveling companions were wearing light cotton t-shirts and shorts.

I noticed that the lady was wearing a lovely pink lipstick quite similar to the one I had lost and now had bought for myself and my immediate thought took me to my grandma back home in India, siting on her couch by the bed possibly reading or knitting or watching TV, an elderly woman of the similar age (as the lady sitting across from me on the bus) who I remembered distinctly never having worn lipstick in her elderly years on any occasion ever!!!!.. Infact I remember her telling me that people would laugh at her for even thinking of wearing lipstick at this age. The elderly lady sitting across me on the Brisbane bus would have equal strong opinions but of the exact opposite nature. She would have chosen that very shade to wear as it would have perfectly matched her outfit and the occasion. The pink lipstick which was taboo for an elderly lady in India, was an expression of feminine beauty for her counterpart in Australia and I could safely say that both the ladies were no exceptions to their cultural kind.

This thought stayed with me throughout the ride and It humoured me to imagine if the tube of pink lipstick could be personified then what drastic life styles she would lead in different countries and cultures. In India, the pink lipstick was symbolic of teenage and youth and liveliness;  while down under, she had many suitors.. she was symbolic not of age but of feminity in general and a girly sense of being. As I continued to humouring this thought of mine, I imagined what it would be like if my grandma were presented with a pink lipstick as a birthday gift, well since we are on the subject.. celebrating birthdays for elders was again not a common thing in India. Yes, the families met for lunch and maybe on the day there would be a special menu and sweets made for the birthday girl, but arranging for a birthday party was never really appreciated… So, hypothetically if my grandma was to be presented with a pink lipstick, she would probably just hand it back to the gift giver, admonishing them of teasing her and being so thoughtless.

I couldn’t help but question why things were so different in my culture and why before the end of life, life ends? A simple tube of pink lipstick is after all not just a cosmetic or a beauty accessory, but its symbolic of freedom, expression and in this case of youth and age.. Maybe the time has come for us to change the way we look at things and move from the answer “thats how it is” to the question “why not this way?”

 

 

For the sheer love…

I have never sat through an entire game.. by game I mean a sports event, until I fell in love with a sports lover. It was for the sheer love of.. that I sat through soccer matches, swimming tournaments, tennis championships and well even gymnastics.. but it wasn’t until the Australian Open men’s final yesterday that I truly was moved by the passion and the force of sports and sportsmanship. I never really understood the passion and the personal commitment that one felt when cheering for one’s team or the sportsman one supported.. the nail biting stress of every serve and every goal that was attempted.. the heart bursting pride to see one’s supporting team/player win and lift the trophy high.. I never did until the match yesterday where Roger Federer won the championship for the 18th time and we all jumped up from our seats and hugged out the victory. It didn’t matter that dinner had been forgotten or that next morning was lined up with meetings from the word go.. all that mattered was he had won..

There are various kinds of victories and supports and fan fare, but in my experience this skin deep attachment can be found in no other kind.. It is after all the for the sheer love of the game.. When I saw the sheen of pain in Nadal’s face on the final point break serve and the joy on Federer’s face on the realisation that he has done it once again, I could understand the saying the “pain of success” for only through the journey of trails and pain can someone tap into joy of that kind.. In his presentation ceremony Federer talked about feeling empty and happy that the final ball for the championship had been served and how he feels he would have been happy with a draw as well.. When I heard that all I could think of was how important it was to play for the game itself and not just for winning.. for the sheer love… nothing could be more compelling..

After the win there were hashtags of success, comeback and of never giving up and people around the world celebrating his pain of success; for me this has been a reminder to do things for the sheer love of… I have always loved the written word, books, bookshops, cafes and the world that all of this belongs to has been very precious.. but somehow i had forgotten the importance of doing things for the sheer love of it and not for any destination.. the joy that one can tap into when doing what they love cannot be replaced by any other.. so after all these years of writing and attempting to write, I have finally decided to write…. for the sheer love of it with no other destination in mind… so thank you Federer for reminding me.. for the sheer love…

 

 

 

The waiting room

A conversation on dreams, expectations and mid-life crisis led to a thought..a thought that triggered so many questions and also a consideration on the way life is looked at in general..

Let me explain by travelling back in time…

When I was growing up, life was governed and directed by a lot of rules, milestones, goals and achievements.. school, exams, timetables, curfew, home rules, peer pressure, conformity and then it progressed to bigger things like university, career, jobs, savings, relationships, anniversaries, marriage and then? and then there was this plateau that just doesn’t seem to end.. Welcome to real life they call it! Here the governing bodies are different.. bills, rent, some more bills and rent and a job that we go to everyday and a house that has to be cleaned every week and slowly monotony sets in… and with this monotony comes the dire need to escape it…

The more the need to escape it.. the more are the day dreams and the plans and the bucket lists that we make.. we start to plan holidays, we write down lists of skills we want to learn, we take up hobbies that after a point we can’t continue.. we start reading quotes and self-help books to relate to the turmoil inside.. we make huge saving plans.. we start writing new goals, we find milestones for ourselves.. basically we try to get back to the lives we knew and get rid of the monotony.. we fight the fight or flight mode.. look for new jobs.. hell even throw up our jobs to start a venture or give it all up for a whole new course.. and in the process some of us find salvation while others just exhaust ourselves more…Those who find salvation and a calling go out there telling the whole world that this turmoil is worthwhile and it leads to something and the rest of us believe it and we wait.. we wait for the salvation that may or may not come.. we get into what is called the “waiting room”.

The waiting room is the thought that dawned on me and it has set me free! I am in a waiting room.. waiting for the train to salvation and im sure that there are so many of us out there who are waiting for their respective trains.. now the problem with the waiting room is that the longer the more is expected and desired from that train that needs to come.. I started to wonder… what if a train did come to take me out there but I let it go to wait for something better because the longer the wait the bigger the expectation… What if I actually got onto a train once and then saw where it took me and maybe it would have taken me to the next station enroute destination salvation.. but I didn’t because I liked the waiting in the waiting room?

It is a scary thought but the more I thought about it the louder the thought seemed to get.. In her memoir Elizabeth Gilbert talks about a man who prayed to God everyday saying please god, please let me win the lottery and God one day tells him.. please son please please buy a ticket! Maybe we all need to just buy that ticket get on to the train and see where it takes us.. we all need to just get out of the waiting room and onwards with our journey… sometimes its not necessary to know the destination or the journey, sometimes all it takes is to just take the next best step and keep taking the steps…

 

Threshold of definition

Another day.. another morning.. another dream to dream and another reality to live.. If all days have promise and all nights comfort.. what are we seeking? or is seeking the only way to live?

For the last few days I have been thinking a lot about my present self.. I think there comes a time when we are in our 30s when we are no longer bound by rules of life, when we are free to create our own rules, when we are expected to choose paths, chose emotions and give back all that has been gained.. the doors of adulthood are wide open and yet we have walked through it many times… Nothing that has hold good for so long holds good anymore.. nothing that has been limiting so long is limiting anymore… the operations of life exist and become the norm… a job, a career, dinner, responsibilities, rent and phone calls  they go on like ever before but what opens up is possibilities.. Once more we are at the threshold of definition…

This threshold is so important because it is vast and endless.. we can choose to continue being who we have been or we can choose to be what we think we can be… we are the governing bodies, the parents to our selves and we can be strict ones or ones with open arms of “why not?”. This threshold holds immense opportunity.. opportunity to believe in things we have always believed in or to start new beliefs… we can question and find answers and tell other differently or we can go with the flow of the river an not realise the distance travelled.. Its an opportunity to change ideas and limiting factors and it has the power to influence.. we can either be busy or we can be alive…

This is a true threshold of choice.. A true threshold of being out there and a true threshold of being who we are or who we want to be…Definition is not limiting or once only true.. Definition is a label of entirety and individuality.. it can be unique or general as general can be.. The threshold of choice is the threshold of definition.. it is rewarding and true and a face of everything you!

 

Be kind to yourself

Today I read about being kind to oneself.. It is such an important skill to develop and practice.. I think we should learn to practice this everyday.. yes every single day! More than practicing to be perfect, to be  successful to pursue our goals and to be an adult, we should learn and practice to be kind to ourselves.

Why is it so important you may ask me? Its true that the value of something is realised when its missing or its never been there.. I realised the importance of being kind to myself on a day when I was very unkind to myself.. and surprisingly when I looked back I realised that the number of times in a week that I was unkind to myself was much more than the other way round..

I wake up every morning to get ready and go to work.. and form that very moment onwards I start being unkind to myself.. every time I call myself lazy for sleeping in a little after the alarm goes off, every time I brush my hair and complain about how messy it looks today and how it can be so much smoother and shinier than it is… every time I put on an outfit and ignore how well I look in it but I see only the ugly bulges and scold myself for not having gone to the gym yet again.. every time I look into the mirror to put on my makeup and not see my smile and eyes but my puffy skin.. every time I reprimand myself for buying that cup of coffee and not having the coffee although it tastes so very bad at work and every time during the day when I doubt my ability and my strengths for not being at my dream job. Every time I sit down to lunch and I don’t compliment my own cooking.. every time leave the workplace not feeling good about another successful day but thinking about all the tasks that are pending and every time I go to bed feeling less than I should for not doing as much as I could have that day.. Every time I’ve let someone else’s judgement of me and whether praise or critic mean more than what I truly feel and every time I’ve looked at another and wished how I was like them.. IVE BEEN UNKIND!

You could then ask me whether being ambitious is wrong or wanting to improve and do more is wrong? It certainly isn’t.. but putting the self down and saying harsh things to the self is wrong.. we take so much pride in being nice to others.. why cant we be nicer to ourselves?

There are so many things that can be fixed and I am sure that there always will be.. There will never be a day when someone says and feels yes that’s it im ready to give it all up.. but when will the day come when we enjoy what we have? I have rarely enjoyed the what I have here and now.. who I am today and this very instant.. being kind to one self is seeing the good and not a checklist of improvements..

We become what we believe in and we belive in what we say and do everyday! Imagine the amount of damage we would have done to ourself with our daily critiques and daily harsh self talks? It is thus time to be kind to yourself.. and be kind everyday!