Monday, July 22, 2013

There is an END.

Firstly, for a few of you who thought this is the end of my blogging ability, you are wrong. This is not going to be my concluding post unless God would want it otherwise.

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel was a book I must say that was way too fictitious for my liking. The whole idea of a boy on a boat with a tiger and ending up on a island full of meercats was a little too out of scale for my imagination.  There however were many quotes in the book forming life lessons which kept me going. I knew there had to be a conclusion to it more human than fiction.
Well, this post is not about my review of the book or the movie which I think was beautifully shot. I find myself pretty insignificant in a writer's world to be able to put up reviews of another's work.

The sensitive me that I am at times got caught onto one such line - " I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye".

As I tread through the path that life brings upon me I reflect what I have left behind more often than where I am headed towards. Knowing very well that what's gone is gone, what's done is done and there should 'ideally' be no looking back. This makes me think that I perhaps don't have the 'letting go' factor in me unlike a few others who can do it with great ease.

Always part ways with a smile - something that you have always heard the elders say. Do they allow you to leave home with a tear? No. They want to see you smiling, they'd want to see you happy. That parting note when leaving home with hugs and smiles and laughter is what makes you look forward to the next time that you see and greet each other again. There is a happy note which says that you will get together again.

On the other hand, when you part with a person on an argument, on a unpleasant note something is left undone. It bothers you day in and day out. The end that should not have been did not happen in the right way. There is always this uneasiness that you did not depart by saying a bye, for wishing well, for taking the memories the person, to that relationship that meant so much to did not Complete it.

Some things are not always in our hands, death can bring that parting...when you are not prepared, when you were not expecting it, it leaves a void that cannot be erased. I hate myself a little more every time I think about my grand dad who passed away. I moved out of home to a far away land to start my home, never did I think even once on that early morning when I was stepping into the car to drive away to the airport that I would not see him again, talk to him again. It took a phone call of 50bucks on a cold morning to hear that he is no more. I still don't know how to handle my emotions when I think about this.

At the end of the day, at every instant, with everyone around you, I always think that I haven't grown out of it, I have not moved away from the thought, but when you actually see it in the end the whole life indeed is an act of letting go....we all let go and when we think about that someone, that something it is nothing but a memory.
When the mother gives birth to her baby, she's letting go of the physical connection she had, when we leave our parents and go away to study, to work, we are letting go the pat of being bound to, our parents on the other hand are letting go of the fear, when two people get married and decide to spend the rest of their lives together they are letting go of all other priorities that they had in life, when death do us apart from a loved one, we let go... we carry on with our lives and stop to spare a thought.

I do think that I get stuck onto things, events, people a lot more than another person.....I would like to go back and shake a hand, say a hello, give a hug and re-start where I have left......but, along the path of life and towards the end of a path.........
We only think that we haven't let go.... but we all have...and will continue to do so.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Love of Faith

Two different thoughts having a connection somewhere and intertwined in certain ways are enveloping my mind. One is 'God', the Almighty - the supernatural power as HE's known. The other is  Religion, a belief that one can have in a culture, in rituals & customs, and probably a 'being'. I understand that it's a pretty sensitive topic to write about and publish. 
This can be frowned upon, might not be 'politically right' , may also come across as being naive and may sound really 'cheap' to talk about religions and customs and culture and following a faith.
This is not something about what's right and what's wrong, I bet pens more mightier than mine can talk about all this. 
This blog is here to put together my thoughts about the subject and not to make a point. 

I have been brought up at a home where culture, faith and religion was given a lot of importance. Though we are, as we term 'modern' in our outlook, there are a lot of things driven by the Faith we follow. For example, A celebration of a festival is never missed. If someone invites us to a religious gathering, it is never skipped. We were taught never to say no to a prasad from the Lord. We planned going to temples far and near as much as a Holiday and looked forward to it as much as any other huge vacation that was planned. Being brought up in a Hindu family,all my views, my ideas, the culture that I have known is mainly around Hinduism.

I studied at a Christian School and that exposed me to a bit of Christianity.  I didnt actively do much to learn about it, may be it was the age. Whether I made any attempt in understanding anything or not, I was happily reciting 'Our Father in Heaven...' at least 8 times a day at the start and end of a class. A friend of mine and me used to go to the Church in our school once every week as we were told that it was a good thing to do and also used to take a small leaf from the shrub outside the church as it was considered holy. (Looking back at it today, it was plain simple ragging that we went through from our seniors) 

Growing up in a country like India where there is such diversity of faith and being in a system where everyone knows, if not in entirety a bit about each others ways of life only enhanced the thoughts that ran through my mind about the subject.  
I got married and started living in the western world. The thoughts about religion and caste is never brought in front very often. No one talks about it. Period. It has to be a specific sort of a discussion to be discussing, exchanging ideas about culture and customs. Festivals hardly have a very religious side to it, or even if it does, for the sake of convenience no one follows it. 

Some people I have come across here told me that they wished they had some faith to follow, some belief in faith. Though they have their religions, they have never been keen on taking it seriously or have wanted to know more and do something that brings them close to it.  
Some others are on the other end where they are happy to embrace a completely different religion as the principles of that religion is close to what they think is right, personally. They either adopted it as a parallel religion to their own or take it up completely as their own.
Both these views were quite new to me. The majority of the people I came across back home were those who were brought up in one religion and have either believed in it and Lived their life following it, If not, atleast they have stayed in the same faith without considering any other. There is no real 'Personal' view or opinion that is considered. Some sheep mentality here. 

The third aspect is that of 'no belief in God'. I can barely remember anyone I knew saying that aloud back home even if they didn't really believe in it. Of course, needless to say,here in the western world it is perfectly a normal thought not to believe. After all, it's left to the individual to decide what they do and don't, what they like and dislike, what they believe and not believe in life. Perhaps shows how narrow my circle is. 

London exposed me to ethnicity in a whole new angle. Again, when I say London I perhaps can include the Western World or a place away from Home. India perhaps has many ethnicities however it is broken down as sub-castes which leaves a completely different.... odd idea to it. 
In my small office circle we have people from different places and ethnicities that it was interesting to see their perspective towards one another. First of all this is not a subject that is spoken about. No one is really keen to get into this topic as it can get delicate. However, each of them are aware of little happenings in the others community and there was a quick note of wishes or a quick chat about what they do on a specific day or an auspicious occasion. 

It's a huge change I see in me. I feel totally happy  to visit a Church and light a candle, offer my prayer. I am happy to be a part of the Sai Baba Community - which I had never been to in Bangalore - except for my special trip to Shirdi. I like strolling into the Radha-Krishna temple from Iskon and look into the Hare Krishna clan or take a peep into a Synagogue or a Mosque.
It's not about belief or not, It's not about following something- however, it's about a sense of being at Peace and I can easily say that this Love of Faith that I have developed here has brought Peace to me, I feel close to my roots  and I am Happy that I feel connected to Humanity which is above all religions at the same time enjoy the variety that is brought together. 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Perfect Road Trip

I have to admit that the contest ' The Perfect Road Trip' on Indiblogger got me writing this. 
This trip brings back fond memories of those carefree days. A trip that 5 friends took without much planning, without knowing where to go. It also makes me feel bad about where each of us are today. 

We friends often met up at a little chaat shop on random weekends. In between the conversations we ended up making plans of various travels we all wanted to do together. These were lists made on tissue paper over numerous cups of coffee. Though most of those made it's way to the dustbin, one lived on. All that the list had was a date written on it  with 'Mysore Road' and a promise made to each other to stick to it no matter what.

Days rolled by and we got busy with our routines until that week. We were determined to keep up to our promises and left everything to go on our weekend away. It was my friend's husband's Alto that we took rolling on the Mysore Road - the new highway that was laid down to connect the two cities. 

The road trip started with a quick pit-stop at Bidadi for the famous 'Thatte idly'. We sat down and made a rough plan for the trip. We decided to head towards 'GopalaSwamy Betta', the hill that rises high, overlooking Bandipur. The overnight stay would be in Mysore, for Day 2 we planned to head towards KRS and then make our way back to Bangalore. 

Further down the road after a quick stop for 'Maddur Vada' we took a detour. One of us remembered hearing about a huge lake in a village some 20kms off the main highway. I still don't remember the name of the village or the lake.  It was nothing like what we had seen before. We drove up a little hillock to a huge bund, climbing a dozen steps up the bund was this lake with its pristine waters. At one end of it were many fishermen doing their work for the day. A couple of my friends who had no control on their taste buds went by to a little fisherman's hut to taste the catch telling us vegetarians what we are missing out - oh! you know that story.

Moving on we headed straight towards GopalaSwamy Betta with a quick stop for lunch mid-way. The Hill was much bigger than we expected, had a small temple with a few temple shops.... one of the most unadulterated places I have ever seen. We then went for a walk on the summit, breathtaking views of the Bandipur National Park, we were excited to watch the herd of elephants, lots of deer and a brilliant sunset. 

It was getting dark and we decided to head back to Mysore and find a place to stay. Without fussing about much we stayed at Dasaprakash. The night's dinner was at the Parklane Restaurant & Beer Bar which has a very unique decor...that of a garden or a forest with loads of plants and creepers around the tables. The most unique part was the way you call a waiter - there was a switch hanging in the centre of the table to light a lamp at the top of the table informing the waiter. Pretty much like how you call the air stewardess on a aircraft. 

We made our way back to the hotel seeing the well lit Mysore Palace. We called it a night by playing a few card games. 

The next started early, after a tasty serving of good old South Indian breakfast we headed towards KRS. None of us wanted to do the usual dam visit and the Brindavan gardens with its truck loads of tourists. Instead we took another detour and made our way to Blue Lagoon - where the reservoir is. We stopped by a tiny village where there was a Saturday market (Shanivara Santhe). While a couple of us bought some veggies, fruit and other random stuff, the guys stopped by the local booze shop.

We had to cross a farm land manned by this old grandpa who royally collected 50bucks per person to get past his land to reach the blue lagoon ( we were not too sure if this is what it was called).
Basically, this was the land that had surfaced up when the water was not too high. There was water all around as far as the eye can see and the view of the dam - the entire length of it which was a sight to remember. 
We played in the water, cooked food from the stuff we picked at the local market, had beer which was cooled on the river bed.

It was the most simple road trip we ever had. We had no idea where we were heading to and what we would see. We ended up going to places we had never heard before, eating at places we had never visited before and overall had the most refreshing breaks to beat the mundane routine.