Friday, February 29, 2008

Sometimes a hug is all you need.

You have probably seen the video and read about it too. When I first came across it, I was really touched.

Free Hugs is a campaign started by Juan Mann. The effect of the campaign was phenomenal. For the first fifteen minutes nobody respsonded.Probably people even thought he was crazy.To know more click here . It is REALLY worth knowing about.

If things are going bad for you just now, a good way to put it in perspective is to think, if it will really matter three months from now. Most great leaders,motivational speakers and life coaches recommend keeping a journal. I too keep a journal. (If you are scared of someone reading it you can always start one in livejournal and make the settings private) When I look back at what I was worrying about three months back, it seems so trivial now.

A close friend of mine just called and said with total conviction “You know, whatever happens does happen for the best, though it may not seem so at that moment. It may even take you a few months to figure it out—but there is always a good reason.”

It is completely true in my case. (Or maybe it is just a matter of perspective.)

Either ways—Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I know who you are!

Phew!! I now know who this persistent annonymous reader is. (See previous post) The person who told me begged me not to say it in my blog--so i will not give away anything more. I just feel bad for this person. (How sad to be obssessed like this.) I know you will continue reading silently--I wish you the very best for yourself, and your family too.

Thanks to all of you who wrote in. Some of your suggestions did give me a fresh perspective.It helped SO MUCH. Thanks for the support.

And hey--Thanks for reading! (Wink!) Could not resist that. :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Who are you?


Sometime back I came across this post and I loved it. It expressed some of my sentiments exactly, about why people put up their children’s photos in the blogs. I really felt like applauding Poppins who wrote the post for saying it so well.

When I started my blog, it was simply an aid to cope with grief. I had no idea that many would read—and connect so well. I had no idea that it would launch an alternate career for me in writing as well. (I get regular writing assignments now from various magazines and newspapers too. My articles have started appearing in print—and cheques have started coming in. It feels very fulfilling)

Of late though, I have started getting bothered about some people who regularly read my blog and do not say a word. They arrive on my blog by specifically searching for my blog with my FULL name, that too my maiden name. This means that these people know me well. They know what my kids look like, they know what my husband looks like, they know what I am doing and feeling. (That does not bother me as I am really proud of my husband and my kids) Yet they choose to be silent.(That is what bothers me)

Why? Why are these people not speaking up? It seems a bit eerie to me—to constantly keep reading what I am saying, without saying a word. It feels like I am being stalked. It feels like someone wearing a mask is standing at my window and looking right in. It also means someone is very very interested in my life—but is not speaking up.(If they don’t want to say anything on my blog—they can at least send me a email, right? My email id is there on my profile)

Mostly I connect with almost anybody who leaves a comment. I visit their blog—or if they are non-bloggers, I reply to the comment. But this silent, sneaky, anonymous visitor/s that I have no clue about is bothering me. (Especially because obviously they have been a part of my life at some point of time—or someone close to them has been---else there is no way they would know my maiden name)

It is bothering me so much that yesterday I deleted a couple of photos and a few of my older posts. If it continues I guess I will just have to be very very wary---and make my blog private and allow only the regular readers in.

That is sad because I have connected with SO MANY of you only because of my blog. I have found some great friends in Suma (Of thinking aloud) and Prats (of Emotional Ecology) to name just a couple.(There are many more--YOU know who you are!) I really enjoy interacting with people, reading what they have to say—and knowing what is going on in their lives. If I make my blog private I do lose out on meeting new people.

What is your suggestion? What do you say? What should I do?


After reading some of the comments--I am hastening to clarify:

What is bothering me is that someone searched for me by my 'maiden name' and 'blog'---(which I used to use in college and that was 15 years back and for my alumni group) This means that person(s) knows me and knows I have a blog.Yet they are choosing to keep quiet.That is REALLY annoying and a bit worrisome too.

And no--i haven't said anything in my blog that I am ashamed of or want to hide--It's just that Mr./Ms. Annonymous friend reading everything and keeping silent that is clawing in the mind.(and yes--I can see everyone who comes,from where they come(location as well as referring URL),what they read,and how long they stay)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Second Chance--Writers Island 11


The prompt at Writers island is

Second chance
I stare at him
With a lump in my throat
It is hard to swallow pride.
It always gets stuck.
Making me choke
On the words I want to say
My eyes beseech, beg, plead
Wanting him
To understand
What I want to articulate.
He condescends instead
And asks “Why are you like this?”
“Why can’t you be normal?”
What is normal? Whose perception defines normal?
Can’t he see that he means the world to me?
I am screaming now but wordlessly.
His words clinging to my throat.
It is hard to swallow censure too.
But I want my second chance
And I am willing to pay any price
To get it.
© Ps

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

In praise of radiators (Not the automobile ones!)


Why is it so hard to accept sincere praise? And why is it so hard to praise something whole heartedly?

This is something I have mulled over a lot. As children, we accept praise without thinking. We believe people do not have any ulterior motive when they praise.

As adults, we become cynical, suspicious, guarded.

To me, praising others whole heartedly for something they have done comes as naturally as breathing. When I appreciate something I speak up from the heart, if I feel it is deserved. I have seen varied responses to praise.

Everyone likes to be praised, but how they react is so different.

Some of them don’t accept a compliment and they throw it right back at you. It usually disguises their discomfort at being praised. It makes the giver of the compliment, feel foolish and small—but of course the recipient , for whom it was intended does not realize it.

Then there are others who accept it—but grudgingly. They say “Thanks, but…..” and they go on to elaborate why what they did was nothing great after all. It makes the giver wonder if they made an error in judgment.

The third kind is the best. When someone praises them, they accept it gracefully and say “Thanks.” If they are genuinely nice, they also add “It was sweet of you!”

This third kind are usually the radiators that I have mentioned about in my previous posts. (Click on the colored words if you do not know what radiators and drains are)

Chandni Pai is one of the biggest radiators I know. I have met her a couple of times, but only fleetingly as we used to live in the same city and have common friends. Recently however, after I moved to this place, I have been in regular touch with her—thanks to my blog and Orkut.

She is a person who encourages others WHOLE HEARTEDLY. It is hard to beat that kind of enthusiasm. Each morning, when I open my Orkut, I unfailingly see a cheerful 'scrap' (messages in orkut are called 'scraps') from her, wishing me good morning and hoping I have a great day. In the beginning I used to wonder why she sent those scraps—but funnily, as days went by, I realized that spreading cheer does work! It was hard not to get affected by such an enthusiastic person! Chandini has about 208 friends on Orkut and not surprisingly 108 of them are her fans. She is one of the very few people I know who is genuinely interested in others, asks unfailingly about them and keeps in touch with almost all of them, cheering, encouraging, talking and just being there! She is also a wonderful mother to two lovely boys (aged 17 and 13) and a great wife too.

I was so impressed by her radiant personality that I just had to ask her, her secret! This is what she had to say.

Q:You are such a positive, vibrant and a encouraging person. Not surprising that you have more than a 100 fans on Orkut. How do you feel about that?

I love making friends and I keep them for life. I still am in touch with many of my school and college friends. As regards the fans in Orkut--.well, I love them as good friends but didn’t know I would have so many ‘FANS’! Whatever I do, I do with my heart.

Q: How do you manage to remain cheerful most of the time? Is the ‘happy face’ sometimes a mask?

One thing i have learnt in life—whatever happens, being sad or keeping a sad face doesn’t change the situation. I know that if i keep smiling worries will run away. It is by experience that I’m saying this . Always be positive. It sure helps. When I’m in a bad mood I just keep quiet. I read something or listen to music. Chaar din ki zindagi.muskuraate raho...khush raho!!! (Life is short. Keep smiling and be happy)

Q:. You are into a lot of things like alternate healing. Can you tell us what courses you have done and how it has helped you?

I have done a course in Alternate Medicine. I have learnt Acupressure, Shiatsu, Su-jok, and Reflexology. I also know some homoeopathy and Ayurveda. I treat patients around my house free of cost. I will soon be a part of a trust which will have a hospital for Alternate medicine. I will be treating people there--hopefully by mid 2008.

Chandni reminds me a lot of my dad. He too was a great radiator and people used to flock to him. He too was genuinely interested in others, optimistic, cheerful and it was a real joy to be around him.

The world needs such people. I am so glad people like Chandni are a part of my life.

Do you have any radiators in your life? If so, hold on to them. The older I get, the more convinced I am that they are more than worth their weight in gold.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A did-you-miss-me moment.


Did you miss me ?Yes? Just a tiny bit? A teeny weeny bit? An Infinitesimal, microscopic, atomic bit? An itsy bitsy teeny weeny bit? (Stop thinking about the yellow polka dot bikini!) No?!! For God’s sake, lie a little, will you?!

Well, I did think of you. (Not in that madly-in-love-24-by-7-I-think-of you-Shahid-Kareena-used-to-be way but more, mature, quiet, deep Manyata-Sanjay way. (Despite having a deadline to meet—which explains why I was away. Deadline is still ticking—but hey some things just cannot wait.) Honest—and I am not lying.

When I read your blogs or the comments you leave, I wonder about your lives, what you might be doing at that moment. How would you be feeling? What would you be thinking? What will you be waiting for? (I think a lot—I am always thinking, 24 by 7, in a Saif-Kareena- obsessed- about- thinking way. Its no coincidence that I conduct workshops on developing thinking skills for a living!)

I wonder—Do you have a time of the day when you really come alive? As kids, we used to wait for that final bell to ring, that announced it was end of the school for the day (The long bell) and out we would rush. I headed for the basket ball courts. Always. (Later went on to play at National level—but that’s another story) I used to wait for the moment that signaled freedom and used to love zooming, almost flying to the courts.

Today , I guess the moment that I wait for is the time my kids come back from school. I will not miss it for anything in the world. I truly live for that moment, when they rush into my waiting arms for a hug, with a shout of "Mummeeeeeeee" .(I never knew how much my heart could hold until someone called me mommy) This is the time the words are chugging out at a speed faster than McLaren F1 ,both kids competing with each other to be heard, to tell me what happened during the day. I simply LOVE it. It gives me joy in unparalleled proportions—Mere words do not suffice to express how happy I feel at that moment. They really talk and I really listen. Then, it is time for hot food and a drink. After which the three of us spend at least an hour, playing, lying next to each other, talking, fighting, bickering, laughing, bonding. This is the time each day, when I am so contented to think that I have chosen to do something that allows me to be with my kids. I feel a little sorry for S that he misses out on this. (He feels bad too but more than makes up for it during weekends.)

Is there any moment like that in your life? A moment that you wait for, look forward to, a moment that you really enjoy? A moment that makes you come alive? (No, I am NOT referring to the Jack Daniels or the Vodka moments here —maybe Master-card moments if an advertising analogy has to be drawn)

If you want to share your joyful moments I’d love to listen.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Have you LIVED today?

On Tuesday morning, the first thing I heard as soon as I woke up was that the old lady who lived four houses down the lane had passed away. Her grandchildren play with mine. S and I went to pay our respects and offer condolences.

There are many rituals and customs associated with a Hindu funeral. When I went there, it was like re-living my dad’s funeral all over again. It has been a year and five months since he died. (In case you don’t know the story click here and also here.) But yesterday, when I saw all those rituals being performed it felt like going back into a horrible nightmare from which I have woken up.

Death is always a sobering experience and whole of Tuesday was spent in quiet contemplation. Yesterday afternoon, my mom called. What she told me left me shocked. A distant cousin (who is the same age as me and who has kids the same age as mine) lost her husband all of a sudden. One minute he was walking to his car, then he felt a little uncomfortable and came back home. Then he sat on a chair and was gone. Just like that. It was spine chilling because it was so similar to how my dad died. (He had died in the midst of a conversation with my mom)

It just makes me think how fragile life is. How unpredictable it can be. Till now, such things were always things that happened to other people. You heard about them, but it did not affect you much. But once it happens to you, then you feel so vulnerable.

I felt slightly better after I called two of my closest friends and cried about it. Then poor Prats asked how I was and I poured out my sad tale to her too.(It is very rarely that people see the sad side of me) She listened so patiently—most importantly did not offer pity or advice. Somehow I hate pity.(I hate advice too—but that’s another story.) I felt so much better after that chat with her.

Thanks Prats!

It is foolish to say “Don’t worry—nothing like that will happen.” Because that is simply being unrealistic. It can happen.

That is why it is so important to really LIVE each day. That is why it is so important to click many many pictures.(Believe me, you will treasure them later) That is why it is so important to chase your dreams. That is why it is so essential to laugh and to not hold trivial grudges.

It is also why it is so important to TELL the people you love, how much they mean to you.

A friend always tells me “Live each day like it is your last. Someday you will most certainly be right.” I cannot agree more.

After all, life has a way of pulling out the rug from under your feet when you least expect it. You may not be able to prevent that—but at least you can lie there, laugh, dust yourself and then walk on.

Like someone said “Whatever I have learned about life can be summed up in just three words. It moves on.”

So, what have you done today that made you feel like you have LIVED? (I am listening if you want to share)

You have done nothing? Then go, call up the ones you love (or give them a big hug if they are there with you) and tell them how much they mean to you.

Stop reading and Do it RIGHT NOW.( and then come back and tell me you did)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

John Cena V/s S

Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.