Rains in My Grandma’s Village in Hinterland India


August in India is all about rains.

I spoke to my grandma today and she said it hasn’t stopped raining in days. I miss her, and miss rains in her village— so I thought I’d share a few pictures of the rainy season in her village in hinterland India–  as green and peaceful as her heart, and as full of blessings:

#Performance vs #Happiness: Are You Happy?


Happiness is Internal

When we were kids, our parents applauded when we performed, whether at school, or extra-curricular activities.
I believe that this led to a sort of cycle where our happiness depended on others being happy with us. In order to keep others happy, we do whatever it takes– and this is considered a good thing.

But lately I’ve begun to feel that values like honesty and positivity should take precedence.  They are the only things that bring true happiness, which is, after all, an individual state of mind. Happiness should depend on what is inside you rather than what is going on outside of you.

What does your happiness depend on?

 

Have You had Your Expectations Trodden Upon?


Hourglas of Expectations vs Reality

Expectation Vs Reality

My interactions with folks leave me frustrated sometimes.

My most natural reaction is a rant: a general one at the world, a specific one at the person, or an internal one, at myself and that person.

Once in a while, I get indifference where I expected kindness. At others, I get a stab in the back where I expected a pat. I get anger when I expected understanding, I get opposition where I expected support.

My realization: People would behave according to their capability and their reality, and not according to my expectations.

Sure, I can expect people to be kind, but whether they will actually be kind depends on their reality. That does not mean I should let go of my expectations, just that I need to remember that they’re my expectations, and not their reality.

Sometimes, they’re met. At others, they aren’t. That is how the world is.

The joy of always remembering the difference between expectation and reality is in not only having your expectations met sometimes, but occasionally exceeded. If they aren’t met– you always knew that there was that chance, so no point in feeling beat-up about it!

In your relationships, whether as spouses, parents, sons or daughters, lovers, siblings– you have expectations of the other person– and sometimes, they aren’t met.

You have a choice: you can get frustrated and rant, or you can begin to see the difference between expectation and reality. Analyze whether it would be best to change your expectation, or calmly and slowly go about changing the reality.

I’ve begun to take the latter option (not always as I’d like, but more and more often)–and I’m moving towards a happier and calmer me. Besides, I’ve begun to remember that others have expectations from me too, and that it is always a balance between my self-respect and independence, and their happiness.

So what happens when a person acts contrary to how you think they should? Do you differentiate between your expectations and their reality?

What has Your Reading Journey Been Like?


Reading is a part of my everyday routine, I couldn’t live without it. Last year I wrote a post on Amlokiblogs where we discussed my reading and I asked other bloggers about theirs. Posting it again today, because I’m bound to the wheelchair and my e-reader these days, and would like to discuss reading and get a few reading suggestions.

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The reading journey

The reading journey

I read my first book at two (or three, but not older, I don’t think): a picture book of course, but one that was meant for much older kids, able to read. My parents did not have access to the sort of books geared towards toward toddlers these days, so they bought me what they could—a comic book with a storyline and characters far beyond the reach of a two-year old.

I remember sitting on my grandmother’s lap in the afternoons when she would read out loud the dialogues in the book, and explain what was going on. With the sort of whim that can be expected of a toddler, I decided that was the only book I liked, and there soon came a time when I could narrate the story by myself when the book was put before me, pointing at each scene in its individual square and babbling the story, much to the amusement of my family and our visitors.
                              I grew up devouring books: those suitable for my age, and not. I read Flaubert’s Madame Bovary at 12, and rapidly followed it up with the collected works of Bernard Shaw, all the Russian masters, Shakespeare—in short, anything I could steal from my father’s collection. When I turned 18, I went for an Honors in English literature, where I mostly read books outside the syllabus in my spare time, because I now had access to the British Council and the American Center libraries, in a bigger city.
                                   But in studying for the exams I lost some of the love I had for books. I was expected to dissect poems instead of merely enjoying them, analyze novels instead of getting carried away by the stories and characters—it turned me off reading for a good five years before I turned to my old love, and second-hand bookshops became my second home again. From then onwards, I’ve taken to reading with a renewed vigor…I read as a break from life, as an exercise in thought, as a supplement to my writing—because sometimes I also have to read like a writer. It is nearly as big a part of my life as my writing, and sometimes I struggle between the two—because there is not enough time for me to read, write and do everything else we call ‘living life’.
                                        To me, I live the most when I’m reading, especially certain books that have made me fall in love with them. But more about that in another post, because I think it would need another post to talk about what reading means to me today.
How about you? What has your reading journey been like? What books would you recommend?

In Which I Confess I’m Insecure


Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting this event every month. Go to his blog to see the other participants.

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I signed up on this group when it started, and got kicked out due to non-participation. I simply didn’t post, so the kicking was justified. Somehow, after the first post, I lost steam. I try not to whine on my blog, and this group seemed to require me to whine.

A few months down the line, I’ve realized that if there is one thing about writers, it is that they’re insecure. Even the best writers are– and a look at some of the writers in the 200-0dd IWSG list validates this.

So maybe, it is okay to let my insecurities show once a month. After all, accepting that I have a problem is the first step towards solving it. (I’m well aware that insecurity in a writer is like vanity in a model, it will never quite go away.)

My current fear is I won’t be able to finish my first ever novel. I’ve been afraid of novels for as long as I’ve been writing. I’ve had several short stories published, dozens of them finished, and hundreds of pieces of flash fiction written, but I never quite gathered the courage to commit to a novel.

Well, now I have. And now that I’m in the twelfth chapter, I sometimes find myself paralyzed with panic. This book can’t possibly land on its feet after its gargantuan leap of faith. It is going to plummet into that abyss full of half-formed, shapeless things that perish without seeing the light of day. Unseen, unheard. Only I’ll mourn its aborted attempt at life.

I’m using this panic to jump-start my writing each morning, and hoping it would fuel the neurotic dash to the end of the next scene, the next chapter. By noon, I’ve calmed myself to a certain extent, and written 500 words or so. Sometimes that takes evening, or even night. At night the panic begins again: what if morning brings no new words, what if my characters pull a fast one again?

Swimming against the odds

Swimming against the odds

So far, I’ve given up once at 5 chapters– junked it all, and begun again. Now despite the panic, I have to hit the finish line.

I managed to learn swimming after more than three decades of being afraid of water.  I can do this. Amen.