Love, from the road.

I was returning from work.. it had been a tiring day. I saw that there was a lonely postcard on my doorstep. In this day and age of technology, no one sends these. It was from him. My heartbeat suddenly increased.. it had been days since I heard from him.

With groceries balanced in one hand and my bag in another, I opened the postcard before opening my door.

I really am blessed to have met you. How many girls would put up with a partner who decides to suddenly leave on a road trip, with the vague explanation of  inner exploration?

But I hope you forgive me for my abruptness. I will write to you at every important juncture in my journey. I see you in everything that inspires me – the beautiful colours of the sky as I lie in an open rice field, to the hard work that a weaving woman puts into making cloth.

I remembering insisting that you join me and you said that you can’t, your work needs you. Those children need you. But I think you sensed something before I did:  that I needed to make this quest alone to bring my life into focus. You would have been a comforting presence but what I need right now is hardships that make me think.

Thank you for being who you are. The picture on the other side is that of the first breaking of ice as the summer hits the frozen rivers in the Himalayas.

Love,
Your Wandering Love.

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In Sickness and Health

I’m down with a bit of flu, some bit of fever triggered by throat infection. I have noticed that I am snapping a lot and not being my usual collected self with family, may be even friends.

I am irritable because of fever and body pain and a few complaints. This – after getting access to medication the day i fell ill. Also, the day after was the weekend so I did not have to go to work. And i do not have to for a while now. This, after I am getting all the rest I need, am at the liberty to eat and sleep as I see fit, and am gradually getting better.

Compare my situation to someone who has had an illness – chronic or acute, mental or physical, without privilege.

If a flu can make me snarky, what can constant pain do?

Yet, we want all patients to be nice, sweet, obedient, playing the victim. If they are angry, hostile, rude or in anyway not how we expect them to be – rosy – we do not treat them well, consciously or unconsciously.

If a flu can trigger hostility and bring down inhibition, stronger stuff definitely can?

Why do we want cute little victims?

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Has being a savior become more important than being a humane health professional?

The Overrun Tenure of Hierarchy

If you are in a collectivistic culture, like Asia (India) lines of command are a way of life, even if you are not part of the military and armed services. In India, hierarchy is multifold – caste hierarchy, class hierarchy, age hierarchy, gender hierarchy, seniority hierarchy and even piousness hierarchy.

I am sure that there was a time when hierarchies were important to establish order and get work done. However, these hierarchies are oppressive now, from the school to the workplace, from the police station to the hospital, and from the family to the religious institution.

For example, under the District and National Mental Health Programs in India, the psychiatrist is to lead the team, and is also paid better. Why? There could be stringent qualifications for all the professionals and all of them could be paid well. Surely, knowing what medication to give is not enough and mental health requires holistic treatment. But it is driven with the assumption that the psychiatrist is some holy figure – male (no surprises) and with sound knowledge of medicine which no one understands anyway. But medicine has an 80 % relapse rate. Is it wise to trust just that? And it is proven now that much of mental illness is psycho-social and popping pills won’t help.

Another example, take any school or traditional corporate office. The feedback system is so flawed that anyone at the lowest wrung of the chain will always be crushed – in these cases, students and fresh employees. Much of the motivation to climb the career ladder comes from wanting to move to the position of the crusher from the crushed : the only way to make your situation better is to stamp the others and make theirs worse. Ditto for bullying.

Are we then surprised that we are growing herd of people and children who are spewing toxic hatred wherever they go, who themselves feel alone, and the whole point of human connection is lost. We have become mindless chewers of technology and materialism.

the cruel climb

Work is important. Order is important.

But what is more important is to realize that humans have evolved, and our systems from before may simply be redundant. We don’t need to stand over our employees with a stick in our hands to get work done. People have work motivation and achievement needs of their own. Appreciation and reinforcement are concepts that actually work.

Sounds too fuzzy?

Check out this organization that is taking these brilliant concepts to heart, and also making money!

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/396527/case-32-hour-workweek/

This really is a dream organization: adequate offs, good pay, no hierarchy, and mutual respect. And works get done all the time – and people enjoy doing it!

As Ryan Carson says, ‘We should be thankful that we live in a time where we don’t need to work so much’. And we should be using that to achieve a balanced and holistic life.

Meanwhile, in India we continue to slog in 6 and 7 day weeks.

The tenure of hierarchy has really overrun – from the pot to the parliament.

Disenfranchised Grief

I am not myself for the last few days. One of my cats has gone missing the day after I celebrated the 2-year anniversary of having bought them in. Did he slip out when my brother went to receive a guest at night? Why couldn’t my brother be more careful? Did anyone pick him up and sell him somewhere? Or is he hiding nearby and unable to come back? What if other animals attacked him? What does he eat? He only loved one kind of catfood.

Each day I would try something new after work: look all over in the building, post flyers, try and go around the area with a catnip toy, ask people. And then I get a lead that he may be in the school opposite my house: my dad sees a cat and we are allowed to search for about ten minutes before we are ousted. I have gone to the school twice after that and not allowed to enter. I understand security, but really, could you be that heartless? I am going to try and look in that school again today.

But what if he is not there? What if someone else adopted him because he was wandering? Can I manage to cover all the apartments in the area in case he is in a house? I have ordered a catnip spray to go around spraying in order to lure him, but that will take 5 days to come as it is not manufactured in India.

I have a national entrance test to give and so I need to study, but I am just not able to focus. I sleep with difficulty because I feel I failed yet another day in getting him back. And then I wake up in the morning feeling a stab of pain: he’s still not back. My other cat is lonely. I am distraught.

When will he come back?

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When will he come back?

Happiness is deep fried

How often do you have deep friend snacks or food? Most people don’t have it very often. There could be various reasons which mainly come down to either health or expense.

The best way to have deep fried food, is sparingly, and preferably making it at home. Now, if you take shortcuts and have it from outside or have something crappy to satisfy the craving, then although you are done for the short term, you have eaten something that is difficult to handle and breakdown and will most likely give you aches and fat – or both.

Similarly, for happiness to be hand, you need to do certain things. If you cut corners, you maybe fine for now but there’s nothing to be had at the end and a sort of bloated feeling persists all along.

If you are eating right otherwise and indulging every now and then- that is the perfect formula.

If you are working hard most times and taking well-earned measured breaks from it, that’s nice. If , however, you start too late and try to take shortcuts just to fill in for the while, you are as far from happiness as it gets.

The reason I used this analogy is, as tempting as shortcuts are, you are the person who will be most annoyed for taking them, at a later point in your life.

Therefore, whenever you feel like cutting corners, think of a home made golden sizzled pakoda, that does not increase your weight because you had it right!

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My new year evolution.

The norm is usually to make new year resolutions a day or so before the new year, and stick to them for a period of time, ranging from a day to a week, to a month, depending on how serious you were.
I stopped making resolutions many years ago, when I realized that I felt doing new things in between the year, and so I initiate new things and behaviours, regardless of the date.
What I would like to do today, is to resolve to take away some things, undo some actions and reduce some behaviors. Therefore, I’m going to subtract what I perceive as toxic, because often, when we keep adding new agendas, we forget to discard the useless ones. My evolution will take place by discarding what isn’t useful any more.

So here is a short list-

1) Less emotional dependence- although I do not do this with every relationship in my life, but within some, I become extremely dependent, and I can’t often control. Vulnerability in close relationships is good,given that it’s mutual. If not, you feel indebted and unwanted. So I’ll choose carefully whom to be vulnerable with, and only if they are equally unguarded with me.

2) Less procrastination- If at all I take on too many tasks, then I should be able to do each of them on time so that I don’t delay. I’m spending this week clearing many backlogs so as to have a fresh start. When things are happening on time, I have a sense of control, that makes me feel healthy.

3) Less bunking- This applies to lectures as well as aerobics class. Sometimes, it may feel like a stretch to attend everything, but I must try my best to do so. I miss out a lot when I can’t go. I’m sure that I can use my time well.

4) Less whining- I’m trying my best to not complain, and rather put across what I feel in a more constructive way. If you believe like I do, that everything is energy, and that it can change forms, converting it from negative to positive is not only possible, but also important. This will also help me develop as a therapist.

5) Less hatred- Hatred, unjustified or justified, is toxic. I will try to understand and work with my prejudices and biases. Even if hatred or anger is justified, it harms me more than the person it’s directed at, so I will let go, yet, obviously, maintain self respect.

So, as the picture below illustrates, I will look at this year and the people in it, but with love.

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Romantically Speaking.

Is there a young lady or gentleman you know of, hardly out of their teens, but have died at least ten times due to heart break?

Of course you do.. they are friggin’ everywhere!

On twitter, on facebook, or whatever social network, you name it, their there… there and brooding, about how they curse their heart and hope to die.

Why?

A girlfriend or boyfriend of one month or maximum two, has ditched them. Tragedyyyyy! Isn’t it?

You don’t think so? Oh, but please, you’ll break their already-hundred-times-broken-and-stuck-together-with-cheap-tape-heart!

This seems like the pits, but there is actually something worse.

The “in-love” teens, as hard to believe as that is, they are more annoying than the heart broken ones!

At least, the heart broken ones brood in a corner, these people, they will scream, “I AM IN LOOUVVEE, MY BOYFRIEND LOOKS GOOD IN PICTURES AND BUYS ME LUNCH SO HE IS PERFECT!!!” right in your ears.

Oh yes, and they don’t spell like that, its more on the lines of  ” i m in luv, ma byfrnd…” oh chuck it!

And accompanying the gloom or the overbearing joy are the photos. Photoshopped pics of the “couple” with or without the crack in between depending on the state of their hearts.

And the sad part is, most of these people don’t know real love or real heart break. Ask them something about their partner that is slightly beyond the obvious, and they’ll look at you as if you asked for a derivation in trigonometry.

I have a strong feeling this is the result of our films and our media. Or maybe these people are just losers. Who knows.

Hundreds of people killed in blasts and earthquakes and what not, but,

yuss yuss, its infinitely tragic that the boyfriend does nor care about the girlfriend’s broken nail.

There shall be 20 tweets, 10 status updates, 1 blog and 2 poems about it.

Just wait and watch. The dunk heads. Er.. insensitive much?