Not viewed. Not seen. Not used. Not Yet

It is pretty dark in here. Only when HE opens the doors to take something out or keep something in, do I get a chance to soak in a bit fresh air and some light.

Many others who share this small cramped space with me have similar stories to share. Especially the wordsmiths.They have been lying around since ages, waiting to be taken out, waiting to be held, to be turned, to share some stories with HIM. But no, HE favors mostly the colorful ones, the ones HE uses to bring his thoughts to life. Even the thin, the thick, the small ,or the big,or the long, or the short grey ones are preferred over me. Of course, these others gloat about how much conversation they make with HIM, how much HE cherishes each moment when HE is able to realize his vision with them together. They cannot stop telling stories of how they have been lying around HIS floor all day, because he was stuck at a particular point of HIS creation, and how HE kept starting all over again every few minutes or how HE would start with one thing in HIS head but after labouring for hours together, what they would create would differ from what they started with and even more beautiful than what they set out to make. I think what the favoured ones enjoy the most is the fact that they are HIS tools for creation. That they are the means HE uses them for bringing the best out in HIM. In fact through this they are fulfilling not only their destiny, but are bringing joy in the lives of all those HE shares them with. The most blessed ones are the blank ones. They are hardly ever locked in with the rest of us. No, oh no. They travel with HIM in turns. Wherever HE goes, they go with HIM, depending on how filled they are and what HE is creating at the moment. Even HIS friends know them, use them sometimes, share tips with HIM on how HE could make them more beautiful or what HE could do next. Lucky souls indeed these blank ones are.

And me? My canvas has already been filled with someone Else’s dreams. As a matter of fact i am just one of the canvases which holds this other visionaries story.

HE likes to make his own stories though. Is it why HE is not interested in seeing mine? Is this why i lie here month after month, week after week, day after day, ignored, untouched, unopened? It has been almost six months since i entered your life after travelling for over twelve hours from across the ocean and entered your home. With so much love was i given over to you. How joyful i was to know where i was going to live. How naïve i was to think that we would spend a few hours together, and then when you would enjoy my company, you would call your friends over and proudly tell them who i was and how such a wonderful story we shared together. But alas. My dream is just that: A dream. The optimist that i am, i still hope i shall see the light of the day, that my turn will come. That i shall fulfill my destiny of being seen.

I may just be a DVD. You wont create anything new with me like you do in your blank diaries with your thousands of pencils and pens and brushes. But i think YOU forget that i am someone’s creation. Someone has put in the same pain, the same love you do on those canvases. So i hope YOU open my plastic cover sometime soon, pop me in your DVD player and let me tell YOU my story.

(This entry has been inspired by a friend who simply refuses to watch a movie i gifted him around 6 months ago. I hope this helps. The DVDs destiny NEEDS to be fulfilled:) )

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Daily Prompt: Take it from me

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/daily-prompt-take-it-from-me/

Your hair will look great shorter.

Blue really looks better on you than black.

That guy is not worth your time.

She is just using you to get to him. Just forget it.

You need to be more assertive.

Don’t get emotionally involved with people so easily.

i think maybe you should just give her a piece of your mind.

Sit Straight.

Think a little before you say something.

Look before you leap.

Be spontaneous.

Etc. etc. etc….

How often have we been the speaker and the listener of these and many such words? Friends, elders, foes, teachers, parents, well meaning and not-so- well meaning people around us. People who want to give us a helping hand, people who, well, just like to say stuff.

My personal favorite comes from the story of the wise sadhu (sage, who has earned great wisdom after years of penance. Theoretically. Nowadays television helps. Apparently) and the king.

This king, a kind one, was suddenly attacked by his arch enemy. The king in question suffered a devastating  defeat. (Much like the Indian cricket team does so often). He lost his kingdom, his wealth, his soldiers. Practically everything. But he does manage to flee the battle scene and hides in a cave. He is in total despair. He doesn’t know what to do. Should he kill himself? Should he go back and surrender? Each option seemed dreary. While mulling on this he remembered the small piece of paper his Guru, the wise sage, had given him when he became king. The sage had asked him to keep it in his ring and open it only in the most desperate of situations. This advice would give him the solution. So the king opens this piece of paper. On it are four simple words:

THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

The king feels as if a bolt of lightning passed through him. As if the sky cleared up after a storm. As if the sun suddenly burst on in the sky. With new found hope and courage, he managed to gather the remaining soldiers, appealed to another king, who was friendly and won back his kingdom and wealth.

Of course there is a great celebration. The entire kingdom comes with gifts and showers blessings and praise their brave king.

During the day of the celebration of this great victory , the same sadhu comes up to him and gives him another piece of paper as a congratulatory present for the King and asks him to read it. Full of curiosity the king opens it and reads something familiar:

THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

The King experiences the same sudden insight, the same clarity. He rules his kingdom wisely and justly. Late he too gives up his kingdom, goes into the forest and spends the rest of his days in serving the poor, meditating and sharing his knowledge.

I love this story. And each time am euphoric, am down in the dumps, am angry, am elated, am impatient, am nervous, am afraid…i tell myself and others: this too shall pass.

I calm down a bit. And then after a few moments, the feeling passes. The feeling of calmness. The golden words pass out of my memory and i am back to where i was. And then i remember this story again.

Daily Prompt Challenge: An Offer i coudn’t refuse

dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/daily-prompt-race-the-clock/

I am coordinating and partly conducting a paper theater workshop (with the Papertheater Nuremberg from Germany) for about 40 kids from different schools and between the age group 12-16. The workshop is an auditorium where it is loud, dark, dusty and a bit dingy. There are no microphones. From 9 am to 3 pm we try and teach them basics of Theater, music, and simple German. I also have to organize the food, take care that none of the kids kill each other, tear each others clothes or hair apart. Then after the workshop plan for the next day, answer questions like, if they can wear a black shirt with a purple bow (!) for the performance, if they can come half an hour late…

Then i have to travel an hour and a half to get back home, check my mails, finish other office correspondence.

And then i see this challenge in the inbox. And this was an offer i couldn’t refuse. I am tired, hungry, have no food at home, have loads of work waiting for me. But this challenge i couldn’t refuse. I loved these 10 minutes. Thank You Michelle! This got my brain rolling!

Daily Prompt Challenge: Connect the Dots

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/daily-prompt-connect-the-dots/

Then conscientiously he bundled everything back and was much aggrieved by Ethel’s reproaches later in the day.

Well, what else could Ethel do? She was William’s sister. Have you heard of him? William Brown? He was a living proof for a “diaster-will-happen-wherever-his-shadow-falls.”

He regularly, very systematically, though without intending to, destroys Ethel’s hat trimming. He can single-handedly, rather single”mouthedly” raid the kitchen and finish the entire weeks cake and cookies. In one afternoon, of course. When he feels that some “poor” child needs “rescuing “, he and his band of Outlaws would rise to the occasion without another thought. No, literally without another thought.

School was considered a waste of time. It cut in to all the hours the Outlaws and William could have spent catching tadpoles, playing Red Indian or chasing crickets.

Adults were naturally enemy no.1. They did all sorts of mischief themselves, make mistakes, get into scraps and break stuff. But William and his friends were punished for as much as breaking a window pane or getting all muddy. Really. Life was unfair.

(Richmal Crompton created this wonderful character. Its one of my most favorite reads. Thank you, Richmal Crompton, for making my life more humorous, more interesting, full with ‘William’)

Daily Prompt: Last Words

Since i’ve just very very very started blogging, like a couple of weeks ago, if this had to be my last post, i’d probably feel DAMN! And i’ve just started. Just two people following my blog. Hardly any views at all, just 6 posts, just about 20 comments, not even a single “Inspiring Blogger Award”. And i have not even scratched the surface of my writing skills yet.

But i do guess it saves cyber space and makes way for another unsuspecting blogger 🙂

The -ERs and the -EEs and the -EDs

Do you ever get the feeling that we are in different relations either the -er or the -ee or the -ed

In one sided love, you are either the “Likee” or the “Liked”

In certain friendships you are either the “caller” or the “Called”

In the same vein you are the “listener” or the “listened”

With certain colleagues your role is that of the “complainee” or the “complained”

You tend towards either being the “give-in-er” or the ” give- in-ed” one

You are sometimes playing the role of  the “waitee” or the “waited”

You either are the one who is “looked” out for or the “looker”

Image

Like the bell shaped curve, relations are either like the green or the blue curve, or the “bell shaped” normally distributed red one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess in the beginning relations are a bit skewed. In many cases sadly , it remains so. The skewness becomes even more pronounced and so ingrained, that a balance may actually throw the whole equation out of gear.Sometimes though, as the relation grows the skewness gets corrected mutually, and the “-ees”, the “-er” and the “-ed” matter no more. 

 

Daily Prompt: Coming To a Bookshelf Near You

Agastye slowed down as he neared the small narrow cobbled street just outside the market place, taking in the familiar sights and sounds that were his companion on his solitary walk back home from school. Every afternoon he would stop as the smell of the freshly baked breads and cookies would greet him, calling him to them. He didn’t wait today though. No, today was Friday.

And Fridays meant only one thing: the ancient gypsy with a thousand wrinkles, beetel leaf stained crooked teeth and her raspy voice. Her cart was full of the exotic, and the mysterious she had picked up during her adventures. For Agastye this cart was a doorway to other worlds, worlds beckoning him. The gypsy would tell him one story (one and no more, my little man, she would say shaking her crooked little finger) about any one the souvenirs he would pick up Agastye dreamed that the task this time would be like the heroic deeds he often heard in her stories.

He ran the last few meters, impatient to listen to a new story As he reached her small cart, his eyes fell on a pair of big, worn out old red leather boots. He paused, breathless, and bent down to look closely at them. “Ah, I see you have found the red boots. Ah yes, I remember these. “ Heldenstiefel”, as he was famous in Germany. Ah yes, he did some great deeds the shoes….,” said the old gypsy. “A pair of shoes did heroic deeds?”, he asked his voice full of curiosity, awe and disbelief. “Ah, you don’t believe me, my little man? You don’t? ,” she cackled, “Then sit down,” she continued, “ and let me tell you the wonderful story of the “Heldenstiefel”. Once upon a time or as they said in Germany “ es war einmal…”

Daily Prompt: Coming to a bookshelf near you

Agastye slowed down as he neared the small narrow cobbled street just outside the market place, taking in the familiar sights and sounds that were his companion on his solitary walk back home from school. Every afternoon he would stop as the smell of the freshly baked breads and cookies would greet him, calling him to them. He didn’t wait today though. No, today was Friday.

And Fridays meant only one thing: the ancient gypsy with a thousand wrinkles, beetel leaf stained crooked teeth and her raspy voice.  Her cart was full of the exotic, and the mysterious she had picked up during her adventures. For Agastye this cart was a doorway to other worlds, worlds beckoning him. The gypsy would tell him one story (one and no more, my little man, she would say shaking her crooked little finger) about any one the souvenirs he would pick up  Agastye dreamed that the task this time would be like the heroic deeds he often heard in her stories.

He ran the last few meters, impatient to listen to a new story As he reached her small cart, his eyes fell on a pair of big, worn out old red leather boots. He paused, breathless, and bent down to look closely at them. “Ah, I see you have found the red boots. Ah yes, I remember these. “ Heldenstiefel”, as he was famous in Germany. Ah yes, he did some great deeds the shoes….,” said the old gypsy. “A pair of shoes did heroic deeds?”, he asked his voice full of curiosity, awe and disbelief. “Ah, you don’t believe me, my little man? You don’t? ,” she cackled, “Then sit down,” she continued, “ and let me tell you the wonderful story of the “Heldenstiefel”. Once upon a time or as they said in Germany “ es war einmal…”

My not -so -instantaneously -thought -of I-nstagram Moment

Unlike the topic of this week’s it took me quite some time to pin down the moment which really changed my life. There are so many of them: A line you read somewhere , something a friend just happens to mention, an illness, a relationship, breaking off of a relationship, a look from a parent or  a sibling. A phrase you read somewhere. A line from a song. Just about anything.

 

Especially when you don’t know what you want to do with your life (i really still don’t), you maybe very naturally gravitate towards looking for signs which might help you to navigate through this labyrinth called Life.

 

So i thought about it for a while: Maybe i should write about “The Little Prince”; specifically about the fox and the Little Prince. Or about my favorite quote from Rumi. Or my first ever holiday all alone. Or maybe the impact of “Sunscreen” by Buz Luhrmann.

 

These didn’t seem somehow life changing enough though. They have in their own way made a difference to my life and answered many of my questions. Still they didn’t seem BIG enough.

 

And all of a sudden, just like that, i knew the answer.

 

I have for the last decade and a half underestimated the importance of this moment. It has been the first Domino tile to set my wheels in motion.

 

It was the monsoon of 1997. Fresh out of school i wanted to something exciting, something which i had not done as yet and not many people (not the one’s i knew at least) had done this. Something exotic, something different.

 

So that Summer …er…monsoon (too much of an influence of romcoms and chic literature i guess’) i enrolled myself for the “G1” level (first beginners’ level) of German as a foreign Language at the Goethe Institut Mumbai.

 

But this isn’t the moment yet. As at that time, i was not really sure what i am getting into, where is it going to take me and how am i going to make use of this.

 

It was when i spoke my first sentence in German ever: “Mein Name ist…., wie ist Ihr Name” that changed my life. So many foreign sounds in my ear, on my tongue, in my mouth…So this is how one introduces oneself in Germany. Oh my God, am learning a language spoken in a country 9,000 km away, where they prefer drinking beer to water (i was appalled at that time to learn this, naïve that i was), I shall, someday, talk to a German in German, express myself in a language, whose sound i had till then never heard, and make it my own. WOW. I am learning German.

 

That’s how i felt at that moment. The whole idea that this language, which was then so foreign to me, was a mother tongue for a few million people (really, only a few million people. India has always been way ahead on this one count) hit me quite hard. That they fought , loved, prayed, expressed affection, anger, disgust, made promises, broke promises, wrote books, letters, did everything in this language, that didn’t really exist for me then, somehow really enthralled me. I wanted very badly then to learn it, speak it, feel it, taste it and make it my second native language. That has made all the difference in my life, for better or for worse, actually for better!

 

Danke schön!

Downsizing

One word that can easily cause a mass anxiety attack in any organization across the world: Downsizing. The dreaded pink slip, the long walk to the office door, the pain of sharing the news with the family, the fear of life long unemployment…

Personally i have a love and hate relation with this word. On the one hand “downsizing” brings to mind the movie, “Up in the air”. Actually, in all honesty, who comes to mind is the gorgeous, suave, talented Mr. Ryan Bingham a.k.a George Clooney. (Obviously this is not the “hate” part of my conflicted relation with this word)

The other association with “downsizing” is another matter altogether. As a matter of fact, I think this particular one has, since eternity, affected more individuals than any economic meltdown. We are talking of a different of a meltdown altogether. Unlike the economic one, billions of people crave for this meltdown, spend small fortunes to experience this, torture their bodies and go to unimaginable lengths to achieve this goal. Am sure most of you must have figured out by now what i am talking about: downsizing in the literal sense: From being a 14 to a 12 to 8 and eventually the wonderful 6 (Am sure it’s clear for which one am pining for currently). Or if you are in UK the numbers look slightly different…American 8 is the British 10-12 and so on and so forth . In India alphabets serve the same purpose: The much desired (revered) “S”, or the “still okay” M, the scary L and the dreaded XL. (Really guys, only if you’d sorted out your stuff, we would’ve had so much less confusion in the world of units of measurement)

“Downsizing” i.e. reaching that dream size/look, losing weight, fitting into the smallest dress in your wardrobe, squeezing your tummy in to fit into the jeans from college, fighting off the last five (or 25 kilos) has been and in all probability shall remain a battle for almost all women (and a few “good” men too) almost everywhere in every nook of the world, except maybe in Japan, China, Thailand, Philippines. (It’s really unfair. They seemed to have earned all the “hourglass” figure karma)

A German friend once remarked that in India when you meet someone after a few weeks/months or years, they never ask how you’ve been doing. The first comment is inevitably, “Oh my God, look at you, you’ve lost so much weight” or  the polite way of saying that you’ve gained a few (quite a few maybe) inches,” Hi!! Look at you! Life seems to have been good to you! You seem to be doing really “well””.  I hadn’t realized this till my friend pointed this out to me.

 

I think this simple observation puts in perspective our obsession with our extra pounds…er…kilos… There are websites dedicated to “ Inspirational Weight loss Quotes”, body types, diet food, success stories, statistics on obesity, books on weight loss, even star sign based dieting advice, not to mention gyms, prescribed/not prescribed weight loss pills all luring us to be fab and not fat.

 

Having said all this i must confess that i am no exception to battle against the bulge or rather bulges at unwanted places. Family dinners, lunch breaks, brunches (ironic so much talk of weight loss is done around food), train rides, bus rides, birthday parties, kitty and many other “holy” places all them, revolve around the process of loosing, gaining, maintaining the scale to a number acceptable to self.

Like most people I’ve too spent (and spending even this moment as am writing this) many waking hours doing the calorie count math, talk loudly to myself, i have hung my favorite skirt which am not currently fitting into) to motivate myself, run, jog, Aerobics, dance, et al. I have lost and gained around 15 kilos three times at least in the last five odd years. And am still fighting …

And honestly I think we should try, we should try to be at a place where our bodies too are comfortable in us. I am not talking in kilos or inches or sizes. No. This time am looking for a place where my physical, emotional and spiritual self are all in sync with each other, where they feel at peace with each other. Am trying to be where i don’t turn to a bar of Lindt or a pint of choco chip cookie ice cream for comfort. Of course it may not be the weight ideal for my height, i may never have to fight with a Japanese tourist in Fab India over the last silk blouse in size XS. Really doesn’t matter.

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