I write so I can breathe. I am constantly evolving, mindless at times, frustrating even perhaps but heck, I wouldn't change the smell of freedom that comes with writing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Those Who Made a Difference - 2

I am so glad that I sat down yesterday to begin to thank those who touched my life in such significant ways this year. It makes me feel blessed. It also got me thinking that in our daily lives we have so many special moments that we tend to overlook because we focus so much on what isn't happening right. Yes, it's fine to right a wrong. It is also important to acknowkedge a right. The best things in life are priceless. I do think it is also important that people know they have made a difference, no matter how insignificant it may have seemed then in their eyes.

So...the journey continues...

I also realise in the journey of thanking so many, I have, in fact, managed to erase the misery of some really troubled times because these people were around. I am smiling today. Much as I owe it to myself, I owe it to countless others who had to gently move me in that direction.

Reg Athwal. My mentor. I do not meet you every day. I do not speak to you every day. Somehow, I have managed to find you there right when I needed to. The BIRDS works for me. I always have those breakthroughs, those ideas, those reminders, those decisions starting at me in the face. Thank you for opening that window through which the light came in. It has helped me move to better days and I look ahead with so much of promise. Thank you for being there. You have some timing!

Rakhi. My twin. My sibling. Endless conversations on the phone has made such a huge difference. I like the fact that I can un-hide all my madness and be myself. I cherish that comfort and sense of belonging I get from you. A joke is funnier, men become hotter and colder, life becomes a bitch and then heaven...all depending on how we have felt...randomness and clarity. I cannot have that with another sibling. You are my rock. I love you!

Vivian. When I think of you, I smile. I know I have pulled your leg and always gotten away with it. I needed to joke around and you always made it fun. Hug your little one for me. I love you.

Rohini. Aha. It really doesn't matter how often people meet. You have been a source of laughter and fun somehow without us meeting each other all the time. For someone I meet so rarely, (and that's a blue blue moon) I feel a connection of life with you. Thank you for making this year one of smiles for me. You reminded me of how okay it is to be yourself....and one big lesson of...if you have a problem, its yours, not mine...that we needn't be so hard on ourselves. Here are big hugs to you. I love you!

Pinni Bhabhi. My sounding board. My motivation. I cannot tell you how much joy and spirit you bring to my life. I speak to you and I feel better and it begins with that first hello on the phone. A big japphi to you. You rock my world fabulously and you are one of my most favourite people on the planet! I love you.

Gaurav. Aarti. Thank you for not judging. It is never easy to do that. I love you both.

Mahesh. Rimpy. You are such big-hearted people. Thank you for some really good shared moments just when I needed it. Hugs!

Anuja Upadhyay. I met you after decades. I didn't think you would remember me. There is a reason while we are children, we look up to our seniors in school. Despite not directly spending any time with you in school, you made it seem the most natural thing to accept me for who I am. I felt a shared connection. Thank you for realizations. They help. Hugs!

Bindi. Sister. Friend. I cannot think of you without thinking of how much laughter is there in my life when you are around. Thank you for sticking by when most walked out. You are loved and cherished immensely. I love you.

Chitra. Parina. My women Fridays. You have gone out of your way to be such large-hearted people. Thank you for making my travels and stays in various places such a matter of convenience. Thank you for being there. Hugs!

Nitin. Little did I know when I met you that you would bring with you such wonderful set of people in my life. Thank you for making things quicker, for being there right when I needed you. Hugs.

Anupama Vinayak. You are a life-saver! And you know why. I couldn't have managed what I did manage without you. Thank you ever so much.  

Gul Mama. Nancy Aunty. Steven. Ria. Thank you for not making me feel like an outcast. Your support and acceptance of me for simply being me is cherished. God Bless. Hugs.

Ejemen. Fun woman. You made it all so easy for me to be the silly mad person I am when I am with friends. Thank you for lighting up my life. Thank you for also bringing to me a world of more fun people. Love you!

Haresh. Harsha. You were always supportive and quietly so. Thank you for all the times you have helped me in my journey this year. God Bless!

Jackie. You lit my little one's life and gave her one of the best days during the vacation in Dubai. Thank you for being there. Dubai is memorable because you made it fun and special. Thank you. It was much needed. Hugs!

Kapil. My wingman. In all these years I have had you as a friend, you have always made it a point to ensure I always felt special. Thank you for making me feel gorgeous. I love you. Hugs.

Roy. Thank you for being my sounding board. I will always miss the perspective. Thank you for being such a huge help. Hugs.

Naren. Pops, thank you for the laughter you have brought to my life. You have such a big heart. Hugs!

Onir. Sanjay. I AM moved me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the I AM family. You guys rock. I love you!

Naresh. Thank you for being around. Thank you to Ankita for being such a sweetheart with Megs. God Bless. 

Barkha. We didn't meet half as often but thank you for lending me that ear when I wanted to talk. Thank you to Sallu and Vinky for being such sweethearts with Megs. I love you!

Saif. My first thought is a laugh. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being there. Thank you for the countless support on Twitter and protecting me from unwanted people. I am glad we are friends. Hugs!

Puja. Bindu. Vinay. Navtej.  Thank you for your constant support, the banter and the smiles it brought to me.Thank you for making me feel special. Hugs!


Alpana Jaiswal. You touched my life. Thank you for listening. Those phone calls made a difference. I love you.

Rinzin. Mwah! You have not changed one bit. I love you! Thank you for the fun conversations and the absolute silliness of it all. Much needed. Cherished.

Amarjeet. Thank you for the ease of friendship. I wish you success. Hugs!

Kaveri. Never met but always connected on a different level. You are a source of strength and touch so many lives. You touched mine. Love you! Yes girl, even when you didn't know.

Sakitya. Your creativity touched my life. Thank you for the endless conversations that opened up a world of wonder. You understand my soul and do make such a difference! Love you!

Sathyajit. Thank you for that fabulous document you sent me. It made me feel better. Thank you for opening important doors. Absolutely. Hugs!

They say, people come into your life for a reason. Sometimes when the purpose is fulfilled, they move on. Perhaps, that is why, it is important to thank people when they are around in your life. You never know when you may lose that chance.

- Sandy

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Those Who Made a Difference - 1

You know, it is very easy to not be grateful. This year has taught me the value of letting go what isn't worth my attention and being grateful for those I am blessed with. A number of times this year, I faltered, fell, fraught with despair and extreme pain and the journey so far could not have been possible without a whole bunch of people. It made me realize that while my personal life isn't going great, the support system I have of friends is absolutely amazing. I have been touched over and over again by such immense faith in my abilities as a human being even when I wasn't sure of it myself, that I can only thank God for this fabulous gift of life that surrounds me and the people who touch my life in countless different ways.

Thank you Guruji. Thank you God! Period.

Each time I find my strength waning, I look at my daughter who makes me so proud. She has this way of picking marvellous moments of telling me, in her child-like way of the reasons why I need to be just who I am. I cannot be a perfect parent but she has absolute belief in me as the best Mom in the world. There is no school one goes to to learn to be a parent. She has taught me to be a Dad and a Mom. Now, who cannot be grateful for that? Thank you Mickey! I love you! I will always love you more than anyone else. Always.

My Mom has learned more things at this point of time in her life than she has in all the years Dad protected her and pampered her. With the immense strength, resolve and resilence of spirit, I have learned that I do find myself wanting to be stronger for her sake, to listen. I have learned a valuable lesson by watching her all these years. Only those who are there when I am not at my best deserve to be around when I am at my best. I love you Mom. You and I have had a tough journey and I know, without a doubt, I wouldn't want any other person as my Mom in any of my future lives if such future lives exist. Perhaps, I'd understand better. Thank you for everything.

My Dad. My hero. My brother. My sibling and my die-hard spirit. There is no courage, motivation in me without you two. I would never ever give up on either of you. Ever. Those who thought I would ever do that have got to be kidding me. They have no idea of what you mean to me. They never will. I love you both. As for those who think I will ever give up on my family...well...up yours!

Kanan. Thank you girl. You have been an amazing sounding board for me through the past two years. I could rave and rant, sigh and cry and be absolutely whatever I wished to be. I love you.

Reba. I love you. It doesn't matter how often we catch up or don't. There is a side of me, unspoken, that you are such a huge part of. That equation ain't easy to get by. You have.

Amit. I do not feel I do not have a son because I have you. You are the light of Megs life and I am glad that you have been around when I have needed you. I love you.

My ex-boss Naresh Asnani. Thank you for healing my life. Without that book you gave me to read, this journey would not have been made easier. They say, books connect to you and come to you when you need them. Yes, indeed. Thank you for showing the light. I wish you are always blessed. May others light the way for you as you lit mine.

My ex-boss Ramesh Touraney. I have learned so much from you in the past two years. You have added that sense of fun and humour to my life. You have listened to me when I needed to talk and when I absolutely couldn't. Thank you for tolerating my emotional upheavels. You always helped put things into perspective. Be blessed!

Sonam. I love you! All the decades of being away from you didn't make it any tougher to whisk you away on a trip. Just like that. You added fun to the time I spent and I would be game for a holiday with you anytime. You made me forget I was going through so much. That was really needed. Hugs!

Pema. Shaan. Tenzing. Anuja. What amazing bunch of girls you are! I love you. There is a lesson in frienship that one learns only from those who knew you when you were in school. You suddenly discover, you did make a difference. You discover you are not judged for what you are up to right now...and that they will always be there. Hugs!

Sammy. Laxmi. Antra. Amar. You are really easy to be with. You guys (including Laxmi, Rebu, Amar) really got me back into social mode again after all these years. Thank you for making me feel like a fun person. I had forgotten about that Sandy.  Hugs. Love you all!

Raj. Thank you! You gifted me 'The Pilgrimage' and opened a world of self-actualization. It is rare to be able to pick a book from a personal collection and be able to take that as a gift. Boy! Did I choose right! It was a journey that taught me lessons. Thank you for the time spent. Thank you for introducing me to Sudha. Thank you for the ride to the airport. Hugs!

Shruti. You remember that evening you showed up to be with me while I shopped alone. It made a difference. I thought it was really sweet of you to do that. It touched me. Thank you girl. Hugs. 

Kannan. My sounding board. My kick-in-the-butt when I need it most. There is a world where everything is a discovery, a possibility, a new beginning, an experience. Through the years, you have been that. Time hasn't really stopped to let a conversation fade away. Thank you for not believing the shut door was a locked one. Thank you for the nudges and the hugs. Thank you for helping out with Tashi. Much appreciated. Love you!

Meenal. Dhwani. Vedaant. Thank you for being there for Tashi. For helping prepare her for what was one of the toughest things she had to face in a long time. In your own way, you made a difference. Meenal, thank you for taking such good care of me. I wish you happiness and peace. Dhwani and Vedaant...thank you for your hugs...for making me a child again in the time I spent with you. I love you all.

Gomati. My little one! It is always such a remarkable refeshing time when I meet you. I don't need to pretend. I don't need to be anyone but myself. Thank you for listening and not making judgement calls. thank you for being you...am glad you are back! Fun and laughter has a different definition with you. I love you.

Abhijit. Gone. But never forgotten. There are conversations that will never take place. There are poems that will not be shared anymore. But I know, you would have wanted me to be happy. Because, you knew just how sad I was. I bet you smile today. Because you know, I have, somehow, pulled through a hell lot. I miss you. 

Sudatta. You are such a bag of smiles and gladness. You are absolutely just how a younger sister is likely to be. Fun. Dreams. Sighs. Laughter. Silliness. Impatience. Sharing. I love you. Because of you, I have been thorough what an older sister would go through. It is not whose blood is in you. It is who cares about you. The painting you did has touched my heart. Hugs.

Kandy Sir! When someone is in the pits, it is difficult to be able to see how much there is in you to make it all work out somehow. You have been a strength and a huge support for me this year especially. I appreciate your presence in my life.God bless! Hugs!

Adannaya. I smile when I think of you. I haven't had so much fun working with anyone. I am glad you were in my team. I am glad I hired you to be a part of my team and took so much of time doing that. I wish I could have done more. I cherish the smiles, tears and the joys you have been a part of. Thank you. I love you.

Chika. That steady rock of reliability who has been with me for a long time. You are someone who can easily be the best example of how much a person can pack into a single day. You make it all seem so easy. I know just how hard it is. I admire your resilence and strength of spirit. Thank you for being there for me. I love you.

Precious. When she came into my family, little did I realize that she would BE there. Always there. She has taken such good care of Megs. Of Nike. Of me. I could have never managed my life in Lagos without you taking care of my daily issues at home. You have touched my life in countless ways every day. Yes, even on those days when I have not been a great person to deal with. Thank you for your honesty, for such immense loyalty and strength of spirit. Always be blessed. I love you!

Edward. I couldn't have asked for a better person to drive me. I also did not think that someone who drove me would be so dedicated and loyal. You have been there, no matter when I needed you to be there. Be blessed. I thank you for keeping me safe on the road.

John. Man Friday. Thank you for going out of your way to do things. May you and your family be blessed.

Annu. Thank you for being such a pillar of support. Hugs. Yes, I know.

Nena. Thank you for listening. Thank you for still being there.I love you!

Susheel and Arati. My fabulous friends. This transition would not have been possible without you. You have always been my haven. Always. I love you.

Karuna. Thank you for giving up your room and privacy for me. I really appreciate that! You will always have a special place in my heart. I love you!

Angsuman, Naheed, Amaan, Mita....thank you for the number of great evenings I have spent with you guys. I have always felt welcome. Hugs!

Pushpa. I know, we are yet to meet each other. But, you have had this immense belief in me when I could barely walk on a thread on my own. Thank you for being there. I love you! And yes...i will meet you soon.

Harrish. A brother. A friend. An amazing person who makes a difference in so many lives. You make a difference in mine too. A lot of the healing has been possible because you said the right things at the right time. I love you!

Arun. You have been a person who somehow has shown up and made me believe in myself when I needed to. Thank you for being such an amazing friend. Big hugs.

....this isn't over yet....the list will continue.

In utter humility, I bow my head in front of God and ask him to bless you and your loved one ten fold for the difference you all have made to my life. 

- Sandy

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Absent Voice of Reason and Sibal

Name: Kapil Sibal
Occupation:Union Cabinet Minister (Human Resource Development and Communications and Information Technology)

How far, we, the common Indian have come in the arena of tolerance! It amazes me even further that our politicians have really taken the cake though of testing this very invaluable quality. Mr Sibal, do keep in mind that while we have been a tolerant lot, your favourite pastime of ‘spreading scientific knowledge and reasoning’ have come to naught.

Do pay attention to your duties as a Cabinet Minister in doing some good for the country than try to be pushy and bring about changes that really is going to become one of those crucial final nails in the coffin for you and your party. Quite pertinently, may I mention that the two portfolios you handle are challenging enough and they have already displayed the inadequacies of your ability to handle them.

There is a lack of focus on the bigger issues that you ought to be handling. Harping about what gets around on the Internet and objecting to the objectionable content really isn’t what the ‘aam junta’ voted you to your chair for. (Mr Prime Minister, please do think about what portfolio you dish out to which august member of your team.) It would seem to me you have clicked on objectionable content that had a virus riding on it and it messed up your system, and quite apparently your head too. Aha! If that is what happened, who are you to tell us what we choose to view and what we don’t on the Internet?

Let me also remind you, there is a reason why we adults are called adults and parents are called parents and somewhere in between are the voices of reason of gurus, teachers and peers, not to forget one’s own mental faculty. Do you, in your futuristic vision look to parenting, monitoring and regulating the lives of a billion Indians personally?

We, the people of India believe you have a far bigger challenge in completing what you had initially set out to do when you took your oath. Let me remind you, that ‘to do list’ still hasn’t received its due check mark. We all have list of things to do on a daily basis, then there are short term plans and long term plans. For a major part of it, we do what we set out to do instead of meddling so much into the rights of others and not achieving our essentials. As an HR professional I know what I have been aiming to set right wherever I have worked and it definitely does not entail censor. If you got it in you to do it, you will do it in such a manner so as to keep the end goal in mind and respect the sensibility of the individual. What’s the end goal in mind here? Are you reading too much of negative stuff about yourself or is this your way of being in the news? Cheap shot Mr Sibal!

Please, do not dis-respect our sense of what is right and wrong. Your sense of ‘wrong’ really isn’t our sense of ‘wrong’. We do not regulate the web content you go through. We do not do that for our kids either. What we do is share the wisdom of growing net savvy and safeguarding our self-respect on the Internet and in real life. Basics Mr Sibal. Absolute basics. It is not just what you do it. It is how you do it. Endearing yourself to the masses is definitely not happening here and you are only opening yourself to further scrutiny of what you haven’t done over the years than what you have. Every problem has a solution and this is not really one. It also doesn’t mean the easiest solution in your line of sight is effectively the best. Please do heed what the people are saying.

I am not someone who actively gets involved in the politics of it all. Please do not let your august chair become a thing of the past by next August. This is a gentle reminder that the masses will tolerate impositions only up to a limit. The freedom of free thinking cannot be limited because you choose to snip it with your ridiculous ideas simply because you are in a position to do so. Please also be gently reminded that the people who have placed you on that chair can pull the carpet from right beneath the place where you have placed your bottom. Don’t fall hard on your backside before you open your eyes to what you are doing here. Focus on what makes a difference positively. Really.

Communicate right. It is in your portfolio to do so. If you cannot, please do step down. Your time is running out. Be wary. You may not be there in the ministry for long…there will be elections again. Do not mess with your own political aspirations.

Reading is also believed to be one of your pastimes. Please do read this post. It is simply my way of telling you that you have a service to the nation. There are major contributions you can make while sitting on that chair. Do that damned chair justice!

Copyright Sandy@2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Counting my Blessing

Mumbai. Mumbai wakes you up, she puts you to sleep. She lets you be surrounded by noise. She lets you be lonely. This city's canvas is cruel, nurturing you in its harsh realities and yet tempting you to dream of better tomorrows. 

I walk. Alone. Lying on the street, asleep, oblivious to me and others who may pass by, is alseep, a three, perhaps four year old child. He has no care beyond the lullaby of loud horns, a sigh, an occasional laughter or scream breaking through this sultry December night. For a moment, my heart skips a beat. Those tiny fingers are stretched. What if those tiny fingers crush while a drunken father, sleeps, unmindful that the little boy is exposed to the footfalls of the pavement while he chose to sleep against the wall? 

A heart-breaking sense of shame overwhems me. I, like many others feel my guts wrench...but, what do I do? Nothing. I pass by. My stomach flips. I may perhaps not eat. That is fine. What right, though, do I have, to crib endlessly about what I do not have?

I remember, times when I knew exactly how it was to be like that. I was more blessed. At least, there was a roof over my head, leaky as it was, but, it was there. That is the thing. I may go to any place, visit and live everywhere, sometimes in the comforts of a huge home or a small shack, but I never forget. I never forget just how it is to go hungry, to barely have a decent meal, to pretend you are not hungry any more so it is all taken care of and there is nothing to worry about. 

I am blessed. I remember where I came from and boy am I blessed! 

Little things. Little lives. Little things. 

- Sandy





Random Muse

A search for the perfect love
a reminder of beliefs set in mind
like bards, singing songs
of lonely nights and frozen hearts
a loveless relationship
destined to pass...

Senses dormant while eyes
rove roads that may show
a significant taste of endearments
tempting to unknown trails
...naught satiated like the winds
in deserts of parched throats.

Nudges from the past
toiling to survive today
a passing of grief over yesteryears
of what might have been -
rants and raves
silently screaming in the soul.

A mystic dance of light and shade
embers burn to warm
outstretched palms
while fingers clam and joints pain;
mirages of hopes and dreams
keeping me alive.

Copyright Sandy@2010

Grey Scraps

Scraps
of words in simplicity
in the spirit of the thoughts it spews.

Hungry for wit
and the unusual
…seen it all
been there.

Hungry for meaningful substance
yet to learn
to unravel,
to muse over.

Morsels
of thoughts
that will evoke
wonder and disdain.

Hungry for the fragments
that can move
and nudge me…

Scraps
that lie in buried rarity
of the unusual and sublime.

Copyright Sandy@2010

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Triumph

A throbbing ache lights up
deep within my heart
as my final gulps of life I breathe
a twinge of desire rises and recedes
…marked upon every page
of a life that accepted not confinement
within regimes of social desires.

My arrogance, that defied
conventions of decadence and spite
stands today amongst all,
triumphant and free.

What lies within my heart is not
an invitation for discussion.
I will roam the realms of life
alone, laughing at those
who thought I would lie
defeated and bed-ridden
diseased by the idiosyncrasies
of this lesser mortal life.


Copyright Sandy@2010

Wakeful Dreams

Snug in the warm comfort
in my world of dreams
a child I am again
leaping kangaroo strides,
thoughts leading me…

on my toes I stand atop the Everest
fingertips touching the moon


The winds of the deserts beckon
slivers of moonlight
tease with a mystery touch
and here again I wake…
sigh and comprehend reality
as sleep eludes

Hands reach out to finish
Jeffery Archer’s fantastic spread
…excitement mounts like speed
on a go-karting summer day.
The thriller keeps me up
Savouring
the leftovers of the night.

Copyright Sandy@2010

Where do the Walls Come From?

I can tell
when silences resonate
louder than the boom.

They come crawling 
bleeding through 
the mysterious seepage.

Echoes of hollow dreams
meander through darkness
screaming all the way.

Nightmares they are called 
spoiling for release 
between insomnia and wakefulness.

Copyright Sandy@2011

Cosmic Symphony

How does one explain
life in a bubble
when the cosmos beckons
swirling across the smouldering
quiet skies
onto a universe
rich, rare, remote
...unknown travels
journeys outward
transitions within
those smoky swirls
of tomorrows
yet unseen?

Copyright Sandy@2011

Window Without a View

...when you are six feet under
without really being there
when all you wish to be
is asleep forever
perhaps
the rest will then begin

...when you do not wish
to have a view
to not see what really
stands out
blatant, brutally
and you cant help but choke

...when all you are
culminates to the single point
of futility
of running and trying
to win a race you wish wasn't there
and didn't matter

...then.

Copyright Sandy@2011

Shadows

Shrouded
entangled in the blue darkness
swirling around confusion
deep darkened corridors alone
my respite.

Copyright Sandy@2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Feeling Those Sliced Moonbeams

This post really is a trigger from a friend's (Priti Rajput) Facebook status update. Like so many earlier triggers, this particular one slices through every person...well I would be petrified if it hadn't. It would simply mean you haven't dared enough, you are afraid of pain and heck, you haven't loved enough.

“Never take too much care on someone, because you won't be able to stand the pain when they start avoiding you”.

Oh well! Could you love then? Insanely? Passionately? Completely? Could you ever be 'you' without? I wanted to respond to the update on her page but realised the possibility of me overshooting required number of words would mean that I wouldn't quite be able to explain what I really meant. When I read the statement my first thoughts were actually, you can stand the pain. We think we cannot stand pain. We can. It is the one thing that gives us strength. Somehow.


When one advises a person not to care too much, not too much, not to wear your heart on your sleeve, little do we realise they are actually asking us to have no feelings. Not the way you must to experience life to the hilt. It is almost as if it is a source of embarrassment to feel pain. Of course caring hurts. Love hurts. How would one deal with life if one is so afraid to feel. There is going to be that unsettling feeling of despair. But it comes with the flip side that you will experience bliss like no other as well.

Why are people so afraid of pain? Isn't it pain that eventually strengthens us. It nudges our souls awake. It is your reality. How can your reality be something you mustn’t feel? How can you not feel? You are human. You will feel. Pain is a feeling and feelings are a part of you. Why then is it not right to be able to say "Yes, I feel pain." Each time someone stops you from acknowledging your pain, they don't help you heal. Feeling pain is a part of the healing process.

I have been asked this question so many times...How can you be like this? How can you be so positive? Well, I am not positive all the time but hey, I get there. There is no road to get to positive except through acknowledging your pain, dealing with it and moving on. People say, but Sandy, you are strong. Actually, I am not. I wasn't strong the first time I felt pain. I wasn't strong the first time someone broke my heart. I wasn't strong the first time I faced death in the family. I wasn't strong the first time I was left to fend for myself. I wasn't strong the first time I was emotionally blackmailed. I wasn't strong the first time a friend back-stabbed me. I wasn't strong the first time someone cheated on me. I wasn't strong when I was first accused of the countless things in my life I didn't do right.

I wasn't strong at all. It has been a journey to this point. It isn't over yet either. I was very afraid. I felt my life was over. I felt ashamed. I felt I would rather die. I know how uncomfortable people around me have felt when I finally began to acknowledge the pain. That acknowledgment came in different forms. It was a journey of feelings. Despair. Hopelessness. Frustration. Self disgust. Cynicism. Guilt. Depression. Gosh! It was tough. We think we will not survive. We do.

The break through to surviving the pain came not from hiding it. It came to me through the medium of expression. I wrote. I began breathing. I wrote pieces that were very personal. I did not write so I could share. Not initially. I began with sharing one piece. A friend said, Sandy, this is too personal, too intimate. I said yes. I also said I have to get out of this place I am in and I am willing to try what I haven't tried. The question was what if someone figured out it was my personal story? But then, what was really wrong in that? I thought for a while. I realised then that we are all so very afraid of sharing our feelings because we do not wish to make ourselves vulnerable to further pain, we do not wish for someone to blackmail us and hold us to emotional ransom or otherwise and we do not wish to be ridiculed or made fun of.

It made sense. People take advantage of you when they know you wish to hide something. It is not when you are not afraid of hiding. When something is out in the open, it already is out in the open. I smiled. It felt liberating. I also then realised, when I shared, that there were hundreds who have been going through something similar. I smiled. I was not alone. I made a difference when I shared. People felt better, less alone and afraid. I made friends. Most of these friends are people who I have never met. If you can't write, try talking about it. Expression isn't just limited to writing and you dont have to be a master. We all are artists in our own right, each of us, creating our masterpiece landscape.

Welcome to my world. People wonder how it is possible to be whatever they envisage me to be. In my eyes, I am alive and that is reason enough to care. That is reason enough to open myself to laugh, to cry, to be able to be me and to be able to love again. Yes, I make mistakes. They make me stronger because they take me places most wouldn't dare to go to because they are too afraid. How can one just exist when one can actually be alive?

Like Harish said, “When you accept that you can have many rebirths in one lifetime, 'change' doesn't seem to be scary.” There is no recipe laid out for living. Agreed. Do live. This life is a gift. Savour it. Take those slices of moonbeams and weave your dreams into reality. Feel.

Copyright Sandy@2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

That Damned Stage and the Mike

One would think people would fear death the most, ghosts perhaps, but hey public speaking!!! Oh yes, that's the one people apparently fear the most. My journey has been long and memorable with the stage and the microphone. It has been an interesting one and when I look back, I do smile. That's not so bad, is it?

The earliest memory ever of being on stage, all on my own, curled up my innards. I bit my tongue, my toes clenched as much as my fist behind me, nails digging into the palm, sweaty and terrifying images of being laughed at. I had a clear six by six vision then. I was all of eleven and took the stage to sing a Hindi song. We were having a cultural show I think and to avoid the stage and any kind of performance, I had opted for the English Language club. Well, my smartness apparently didn't work in my favour and the group was asked to perform a group dance and an individual item. Darn!!!

So there I stood, on stage, in front of hundreds of kids I was in school with, frozen right up to my throat. At least I froze for a start. Running away would have done no good. After a nervous clearing of the vocal chords I sang, without music, forgetting the lyrics. it was good I picked an absoloutely old number...nobody really knew the song, leave aside the entire lyrics and I made it up as I sang. For all my efforts I did end up with a prize...but heck, there wasn't a way I was going to get up on stage alone to do that for a packet of sweets.  Only at a naive eleven does a packet of sweets in a boarding school sound like a treasure.

Of course, through school, the occasions to sing (off key) were numerous and I managed to stay away from dramatics, dance and song mostly. I was happy managing the stage arrangements, running around. My biggest scariest ever time came at the Naval Academy. The Dramatics Competition came along and I was summoned (oh yea, it felt that way) to (without a choice) take over the role of Anna, the governess in the play Anna and the King. Every possible excuse was used up in trying to wriggle, squirm, complain, plead, beg...but I was in it. You learn, in the Academy, that there is never a 'no' when the squadron's name is at stake. I got picked because I had an overseas (for want of a better word) accent and it was what was needed.

I mugged my lines, Satya worked on my acting skills. I think all of the guys got a little bald during the rehearsals. I could never remember my lines. I'd see the Divisional Officers sitting and watching and I'd forget. I'd get taken up by the ease with which Satya acted and I'd forget. I'd forget my lines for every damn reason. I kept telling Satya, see, I cant do this. Get someone else. Adamant people never gave up on me. I smile when I remember that. At the final rehearsal I recall the number of threats I got because it was barely twenty-four hours left to D Day and I was still fumbling. I hate acting. That is all ran in my head. I am going to fuck up and then I am going to be handed out another set of restrictions.

Everything has a solution and mine came with a very practical Eureka moment, but of course, with a price. I used to wear glasses then. When I went on stage live for the performance, I got rid of them. Miraculously, the stage was all I saw, the audience had disappeared and I was Anna. I remembered every damned line, I remembered lines of others, I covered up for Indira, slapped her too (aww...sorry but it was necessary then), smashed my knee onto the edge of a bench in full speed (I was limping for two weeks thereafter) and the play was over! Phew! I loved it.

That was probably an experience that broke the ice for me and the stage no longer scares me if I am holding a mike and talking.

It still makes me nervous and there is a part of me that asks that questions - what if I screw up? Then, I ask myself....what if I don't?

Copyright Sandy@2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Forgotten Things - Fun and Laughter

Earth is a great, big funhouse without the fun. - Jeff Berner

When was the last time, you really let out that laughter out freely? Hush! Don’t laugh like that. It is not lady-like (especially for the women)! How can you laugh like that? That is the problem. Somewhere, in the utter seriousness of the immense burden of responsibilities, we have forgotten to laugh. Where can we ever hope to achieve that amazing flow of positive feeling that a good laugh can bring to us? Mark it; I am not speaking of the sadistic, ironical, smirk of a laugh here. I am speaking of what arises from deep within, that fabulous full-throated adrenalin pumping laugh. It is pretty obvious, a good laugh has become a rare commodity, seldom reaching our ears; leave alone the deep confines of our souls.

We left it behind somewhere, in the empty corridors of our school building, in the open lawns and sidewalks of the college campus where chilly mornings were spent sipping lemon tea, hot piping samosas dipped in sweet and sour chutney. Buried, it has settled deeper in the recesses of our beings, in the daily fast-paced humdrum of lackluster lives. If your child looks at you with disbelief because you are narrating something you did way back what was fun, it is because they have probably not seen you have that kind of fun.

Go on, try tearing off sheets of white paper, make those paper-boats, get those kites out flying in the air, run after the ones that cut loose, put your face to the breeze, collect marble, play with them and take your kid star-gazing. There is no teacher in the world that can teach you to laugh again like a child. A pup or a dog is a close second. Grab that ice-cream and allow your child to give you that messy hug and kiss. Tickle. Be tickled.

Have fun! Life is short. Shorter than you imagined. Make the most of it. Begin to laugh again. Start with yourself. Entertain. Laugh at the craziness your life is and hit that humour button more often. Make someone smile. Join your kids in having plain fun. Get off that couch, hold your kid’s hand instead of the television remote and make every day count.

Splash colour to your life. It is worth every breath. Life is meant to be lived. Never turn your back on life. Life is beautiful. It is not there to scare you, it's there to excite you.

Dare. People may think you are nuts. But, you know better. And hey, if you are having fun and it’s just the way you want it to be, why be scared of being nuts?

Copyright Sandy@2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Stuff that Seems Insignificant

Let’s get this straight…those seemingly insignificant things are not as small as you think they are. Ever received flowers out of the blue? If you have smiled, you know what I am talking about. Let me get down to the more basic stuff. Ever smiled and greeted someone cheerfully when they least expected it and see that astonished look of pleasant surprise on their face? You got it! Bingo!

Truth is, those really insignificant things are in fact absolutely what they are not – insignificant. They mean the world to someone who is having a bad day or hasn’t had attention a long time. Why are we such sullen people? Whatever happened to the sloppy kiss you could land with your sticky candy sweetened lips on your mother’s cheek? When was the last time you hugged someone just because? Thank you. Sorry. Excuse me. Please…all forgotten old school words that carried so much of substantial wisdom in them.

My list of things that are big but perhaps may seem inconsequential…here, let me spill it over…

A shared cup of coffee in absolute silence.

A hug.

A walk in the rain.

Watching the stars at night and talking about which is which.

Singing a song together.

Dancing to an off key tune hummed spontaneously.

Making paper-boats and stamping on puddles with a child.

Knowing just when to shut up.

Knowing just when to give a kick in the butt and then smiling because all is well with the world again.

A favourite song coming up on the radio suddenly.

Puppy eyes of a child melting my heart.

Babies. Gurgles. Babies gurgles.

Leaving a thank you note.

Being told I made a difference even if there is no award or recognition beyond that.

Life’s laughter, tears, feel good factors.

Pain. Befriended.

Love. Endless.

Call a friend ‘Ass’ and getting a smile in return.

Gotcha!

Copyright Sandy@2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Full Circle

Nothing frightens us than the unknown and that which lies beyond that unknown. Over the years, I have found life to somehow come full circle. I am not referring to a particular incident in my life. It is more the entire cycle of this one life. Everything makes its way to us. Destruction always needs to be approached positively. The dance of life is the destruction of evil, of negated things and then that makes way for better things that can be created. Life comes full circle no doubt but when it does, has it brought you to that point again whether you take a wiser perspective of it or remain the same is the question.

I was going back some years…it is the time I spent in Mumbai in 2005. I cannot begin to gather the little treasured gifts of some friendships that began then. Each person I interacted with, met, spoke to (or avoided) had some impact on me. I remember a friendship that started with someone asking me if I had heard ‘Have I told You Lately’ by Rod Steward and @Strangers in the Night’ by Frank Sinatra. Oh yes, I do believe, every person we meet comes to us with a reason, for a season or a purpose and sometimes they are simply there forever. I am rambling…actually; I am trying to keep it as vague as possible. I am smiling. One sometimes does feel the sun set without seeing it, longing for answers that really haven’t found their way quite into one’s head yet but you know they are hovering somewhere close by. Only, we are deliberately blinded by other reasons to not see them. Life comes full circle when you allow those questions to be answered. You cannot run and hide forever. Someday, you have to embrace what your soul has been rambling to you all along. Full Circle then.

There is an unsaid law of nature. The law of Karma. What goes around comes around. That is probably the closest one can come to begin to explain what full circle really means. All those rights and all those wrongs will catch up with you eventually. What you have taken all along, you will need to return, maybe not in the same quantities, but return you will need to. What you have given will come back to you, good, bad, ugly. So, it is really your call what you wish to give out. Remember, one fine day, when you are fun and fabulous at fifty, that dreaded nemesis of bad Karma might just lurk around your neighbourhood again. Be kind to yourself and be kind to those around you. Make someone’s day. Someone, somewhere, might be thinking and doing exactly that. Eventually, your turn will come. You would want to be prepared for that.

Peace Out!

Copyright Sandy@2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

That First Time

There are so many ‘that first times’ in our lives; a number of them, things that we still are passionate about.

Photography. Cooking. Driving. Writing. These are things that are still with me. Where did these start from? I smile when I remember. It is always such a pleasure to be able to do something that you are passionate about. Stop for a minute, pause. Do you remember that first time you did something that you felt truly passionate about? Do you still do it? Are you still passionate about it now?

My first camera, purchased out of saved pocket-money. It was a beautiful black and white Agfa camera – Click III; a beautiful piece of art for me. I saved up months and months and bought it for my eleventh birthday with all of the two hundred and fifty precious bucks! Such an expensive passion at that time! I had to scrimp and save for the rolls thereafter. I would save for months before I could give the film to a studio to be processed for prints. A number of childhood memories froze in time through that camera. Eventually, I moved from the rather expensive twelve exposures to a Kodak 24 exposures, two Olympus, a Canon Ixus digital to my current Canon super 450D. I have always had to save up months, sometimes years for this. It has always been worth it.

As for the magic of de-stressing I derive out of cooking…sigh! Nothing dissipates anger like a good go at cooking. There is something interesting I was made to realize a couple of weeks ago. As a student, I wasn’t particularly an avid science student. It all seemed worse than tackling Greek and Latin (no, I did not learn that literally); physics and chemistry especially. Cooking is all about flavours, mixing and testing and trying out things until you create magic out of the elements. That is chemistry. Cooking is a chemical reaction. It is a process of applying, mixing things at a certain temperature, understanding the importance of timing and getting it right. Yet, that is not what cooking is all about for me although it is nice to think along those lines and believe something did come out of those painful Chemistry classes. Cooking is something that brings together good feelings. I love a house full of people to cook for. I live alone, but I love a full house of people to feed. There are few things that bring me the kind of joy that cooking for people I care about does.

My memories of my first go at cooking goes back to when I was all of a little less than seven. I suppose, faded as the memory is, I cannot forget my first teacher, my beloved Biji. She taught me to make samosas, sooji halwa, puri and potato curry and rice. I think the most difficult thing for me, at that point to learn was dal. Imagine! She would tell me, it’s the simplest and I would tell her, no, it’s the toughest. Anything that involved the use of a noisy whistling pressure cooker was a fright. It was. Then.

I learned to cook mostly by watching and allowing my nose to learn the aromas, what’s just right and how that should smell like. I learned a lot from my aunt later when I was in college but through the years, I watched and I learned. Arati, Madhu, Sushmita Di, Rakhi…all of you, Susheel (those omlettes) Prashant, Dad, Duloo Uncle…I have had the best times of my life in and around the kitchen with a bunch of friends who I dearly love.

Cooking is a sensual thing. Yeah, I know what everyone is thinking. What I mean is, it is the absolute use of one’s senses. You figure out when to add what by the aroma and not really by the time indicated in the recipe book. I have had serious disasters averted (and not averted), based on my adhering to absolute directions laid out in those cookbooks. For me, cookbooks are guides. You have got to go beyond that. You have to figure the feel of it, the taste of it, the sight of it, the way it makes you feel, and the absolutely fabulous aromas that waft the house. It doesn’t mean I do not burn stuff in the kitchen, including yours truly, but the kitchen is a retreat for me; calming, exciting, happy. Very happy.

Happy am I to be stirring…or steering. I love the feel of freedom that driving brings to me. I would love to take a road trip once a month if I had the opportunity to do so…I will get there. It is on my bucket list and because it is there, it shall happen. The first feel of four wheels came way later than that of two wheels. I loved my bike. Bikes are special for me. They hold memories that I can snuggle up to for comfort. My brother taught me how to cycle. I am ever grateful to him for that. Thank you Rohit (I love you)! It was crucial to learn how to ride a cycle because I wanted to learn how to ride a bike…and then I did. Between the patient instructions of clutch releases, gear changing, braking on an Ind Suzuki, there was a lot of shared memories with my Dad. (Thank you Dad! I love you!) Every Sunday morning, while the small town of Dimapur barely rose, he and I would start on our bike rides, my lessons. We would drive out, across the border, beyond Khatkhati through the lush green landscape of Nagaland and Assam, riding, with the feel of the wind on my face, happy, on roads that were good and bad in patches, between the invariable cattle that tend to stroll on them as well. We would then, after miles of riding, stop by at one of Dad’s friend’s farm, have a cup of tea, sometimes a meal and then return home. A bike is good until you get a flat tyre. I learned a lesson one of those days…I was thirteen and I was taught what one should do if one gets a flat tyre on a bike. I also learned that you always carry a safety pin with you and a bit of soap.

When the lessons shifted years later to a four wheeler, it was on trips to Transport Nagar in Jammu. My Aunt and cousin were the students and all I was allowed was to drive the white Maruti Van to Transport Nagar. A reverse on the driveway and smashing into a pot did nothing for my confidence two weeks later but I think I owe my driving today to the faith Arati put in me in Vizag when she handed me her car keys to drive her car from the Railway station after she had driven like a maniac there to catch a train to Delhi. I remember driving back to NCB, slowly, barely making it past the second gear and managing a third gear once the confidence grew. Now I drive, given (and not) a choice, almost everywhere in India once I land. I hate to fly or take a train to a place I can drive to. How can one ever see one’s own country any other way, feel and experience the beauty of it all? I love to stop by, at wayside places, sip a cup of chai, talk to the people who live there, share a bit of my life and take in a bit of theirs. I am always amazed and awed. I love the spontaneity of road trips. I have a sense of the land and I find my way. As much as I can bond in a kitchen, road trips are a trip, and that’s something else. There is a different bonding there.

I have no sense of where I go with my writings though. I can start with something and have no idea I am getting somewhere. Where my thoughts start, my journey begins, where I stop, my journey pauses for a bit before it begins again. I have no major recollection of writing when I was a small child. I loved reading. Yet, I remember that first attempt at writing for the school magazine. It was a three stanza poem which took a lot of effort to write. At that point, poetry wasn’t poetry if it didn’t rhyme. I know better now. I have to (am reminding myself) dig out that poem – I have it in one of the boxes back home. I also remember another poem ‘Fame’ I wrote when I was thirteen. I did not submit that one for publishing. I was too shy. I did post it much later on one of my blogs, mostly unedited, with very few grammatical corrections. I loved to weave tales. Most of the essays I wrote in school were extensions of the books I read and had some air of mystery to it. The story “Once Upon a Star” was originally written when I was thirteen. I am sentimental about these two works because it always reminds me of where it all started. I will share it…

I write, so I can breathe. My relationship with writing is intimate. A lot of the pain and terrors and disappointments I have experienced in life have found an outlet in my writings, stories and poetry alike. It helped. It also helped me to connect with those who felt the same. There is no solace on earth more significant than knowing there is someone who understands what you are saying and has, for a point of time the thought…Gosh, this is me! I reflect, I pause, smile, sigh, laugh, cry, shudder, feel the terror and pain and I let it all flow out. You cannot handle pain and solitude unless you befriend it. That happens when the fears, the emotional entrapment, the guilt and the countless ‘what if’s’ unleashes itself and one dares to take that one word by the hand and lead it all the way to whatever emerges thereafter as a piece.

‘Some desire is necessary to keep life in motion’. Mine is photography, cooking, driving and writing.

What’s yours?

Copyright Sandy@2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Well, the Fireflies

Well...it seems the word firefly is a single word with no hyphen...will get to edit that in my previous post. Like I said, I am a firefly. There really is no mystery to it. The only story attached to it is one of a time when I threw a tantrum and actually got away with what I wanted. Of course, it helps when your Biji (grandmother) feels you are the star in her eyes and we get, like I said, away with it.

Truth, (I know I will be the butt of a lot of leg-pulling, but nevertheless)...it's been a lifetime of names. My first name, originally, meant a firefly. Jugnu. My aunts from my Mom's side still end up calling me that. Of course, it did not last long, at least not officially. Luckily, at that point, one didn't have to run around to courts for affidavits to change a child's name. Things aren't half as sinple or charming as they used to be. Circa 1973, a Dharmendra-Hema starrer with some fabulous music by S D Burman and lyrics by Anand Bakshi....ring a bell? The movie was Jugnu. It became a box office superhit and I became the butt of teasing as little as I was all of  two and a half years old when I started school. Some movies go unnoticed. Well, this one didn't. Even two years later, when I started school, people still remembered the film. Who wouldn't? At that point Vampire Dharam (remember the ever constant dialogue ~ Kuttey Kaminey, main tera khoon pee jaaonga...) was an extremely handsome man and his Hema one of the most sought after stars. And great songs dont exactly make you forget a film, especially a classic super hit cult film at that!

Getting back to the point, I obviously threw up a particularly noisy tantrum (I am told) which consisted of me refusing to attend school. My Biji's pre-selected name which wasn't really in use, officially came into being. Written across the white report cards, in Chelpark Royal Blue Ink was the name Sandhya Suri. I am smiling. Perhaps, because it was one tantrum I got away with. Battle won. I try to think back if I have thrown too many tantrums in my life...yes, I have. Have I gotten away with it? Not. Mostly not. Sigh! All Megs needs to do is look at me with her deep pools of puppy eyes and I melt. Daughters. Heartaches and heartbreaks. All worth every twist in you heart as you watch them grow.

Okay, fireflies...you recall those vibrant Asia dragonflies I used to collect? Fireflies likewise were collected. Fotunately, all of them survived. I would collect them and then release them all together so they formed stars that blinked and spread across the dark shadows...a universe of my own. I kind of lived in my own universe mostly I suppose. I delighted in my imaginary dialogues and shared secrets. At least they kept my secrets and brought me so much joy.

So, there never really was anything quite out-of-the-ordinary story about fireflies. Except, they make me smile, they make me feel I have a secret. I am reminded that once, a long time ago, I was, in name, one of them. I smile again. Little things. Big things may give you a kick fora while. Eventually, it is the little things that make you smile.

Really smile.

Copyright Sandy@2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Feathers and Fire-flies

We have so many memories of childhood that never quite comes to the front until someone mentions something, some catch word or phrase you haven’t heard for years, or some clip from a film or real time event that takes you down those alleys of absolute delights in the smallest of things. Here I am, back today, on a rainy, stunningly grey Saturday (which I totally fall for), sipping on…nay not a coffee this time but a fresh summer fruits smoothie and thinking back summers, many summers, where life was simpler, joys were reliant of little things, reputation and awe depended on lesser complicated things than our current life-size egos.

NDTV was broadcasting Nita Ambani in a classroom, distributing white feathers to small kids. That is where the trigger of feathers came by…all of a sudden, her (highly) annoying tone, probably appropriate to a children’s cartoon mom character, not that I am here to criticize her voice especially when mine sounds just as if not more awful most times (uh)…her voice (let me be kinder), not quite one I enjoyed, obliterated into the background as the spirit within me took me to the time I was in school, perhaps in fifth or sixth grade, maybe seventh. But, the exact grade isn’t as important. Not as important as it used to be to collect feathers.

We were feather collectors in school. A beautiful baby blue competed with shocking pink, purple, white, the grey ones being the least valuable of all. I recall it used to find its rest in one’s personal journal, snuggled between pages of unwritten pages and pages on which ink had wept stories and life as it was. At that particular point, we never quite figured out how, but it always was a belief that if we kept the feathers between pages, some feathers gave birth to baby feathers. Tiny, soft, conjoined to the mother feather. It was a prized possession. If you had too many of one colour, a barter system existed to exchange it with colours you did not have.

As children, we really are at our simplest happiest best. Feathers! That’s a cause for delight! Now, sometimes the best of something fails to delight. What is that attributed to? Do we degenerate our innocence to become prejudiced, selfish, to our own basic simplistic needs? Why does it become such a crime to be kind? To smile? To not be jealous? To say ‘Thank you’, ‘Please’, ‘Sorry’, ‘Excuse me’?

I know I got off topic…but then, this is a ramble of thoughts any ways and I am happy enough to go wherever it takes me. It really was a realization today of how much of stuff goes unappreciated and how much we all long for appreciation, of little things and how only where the impact is of monetary value or individual partiality it exists. Sigh…that is another topic altogether and I am not inclined to talk about it by way of blogging…perhaps a live one to one conversation with a friend will bear more insight to why things happen the way it does.

This morning, when the rain had abated enough for me to sit in my car, through the glass, I saw a tiny insect. This is a special species, holding countless memories of times when I was small, unafraid and pretty much game for anything. These days, I contemplate. So, this particular species seems to be some cousin of the dragon fly I think. The Asia dragonfly, or rather damsel-fly…yes, such a name exists. I did a Google search a while ago to discover which of those I had seen this morning…

The point, getting back to the one I saw, reminded me of a time when I collected them, in an upturned glass, delighting in its vibrant colours. Of course, to my horror, I realized I wasn’t exactly being nice to them…especially when one in captivity died of suffocation. My collection and delight came to a realization that not everything that tends to delight you means comfort for the subject of your delight. Lesson learned. Yes, and forgotten, time and again. Go figure.

Seeing the vivid vibrant green, took me to a simpler time…a floral frock, hair in two plaits, shoulder length, in untidy tousled plaints…how does one manage that in plaits? Never quite figured that out yet.

Well, gotta rush…posting this…there wasn’t a point in all of this except a rainy September afternoon, sipping flavours of summer fruits that temporarily substituted the countless coffee mugs I had in training this morning.

So, where do the fire-flies fit in? I am a fire-fly. I smile as I write this and those who know my childhood from way back, before I was taller than two feet half would know where this comes from…or perhaps not. Fire-flies…they will come...in a later post. (wink)

Rock on!


Copyright Sandy@2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Whatever Happened to Kelly Brown?

Circa mid eighties. One of those really popular singers, widely listened to in the North Eastern state of Nagaland was someone called Kelly Brown. I was gifted a tape by a friend in Dimapur and the songs became something that played in my head all the time. While “Higher” was a peppy hit, the lyrics of “Tied to a Heartache” tugged at my mental faculties more than any other. Perhaps it was because it had moonlight somewhere in the lyrics. I was thirteen, fourteen or fifteen sixteen. It has been so long that all of it is hazy but I remember…

“I’m laughing at the moon

Staring into darkness

Hoping that the night will last forever

I can hear only yesterday

Falling in love again (here I am not too sure of the lyrics)

Not to be a ship in stormy weather

You can run

You can hide

Playing tricks on me…(I forget the lines here…It’s been twenty-five years)

….

Girl I’m tied to a heartache

Always feel the same

Nothing ever seems to stop the rain,

Yes I’m tied to a heartache

Seeing smiles turn

It’s only when you listen

That you learn…”

A few of his numbers are here:
Sexy Lady
Only You Can
Lovenight


Okay, that’s round about what I can remember. It was a cassette (a cassette is a tape...just in case this generation has not used one...I used one years ago) showcasing the hit  Higher  and had these really awesome numbers sung in a sexy African accent. A white cover with his picture on it...Where is Kelly Brown?

I began hunting for his music online after I could find none of his numbers in any music store. Clearly, the age where CD’s took over music tapes had forgotten to carry his music through. Rainy days and moonlit nights and when I get hit by those heart breaking achy moments, the song wafts through.

This afternoon, when it did, I had to search again and here is what I found about him.

“Born Abdulkadir Mohammed Ali Bux in Mombasa, Brown made a name for himself as a soul-singing showman through a residency at the Bonanza night club in Nairobi. In the 1970s he moved to Germany and built up a considerable reputation there, subsequently dividing his time between Europe and Kenya. He was found dead in his apartment in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1989.”

Sigh! And thus…faded a star into oblivion. I dug deeper…

He was born in Mombasa, named Mohammed Abdulkadir Ali Bux and he became popular in the seventies, touring the East Coast of Kenya. Lesser known as a singer initially, he was popular with the tourists with his dance breaks. Whatever visuals are available of his dances are on U Tube via tourists who captured him on video. The stage for Kelly Brown got bigger and he first moved to Nairobi, performing at the nightclub “Bonanza” (now called Florida) which belongs to his brother now.

He moved to Germany where he adopted the name Kelly Brown after his Idol James Brown. In 1973, he returned to Kenya and released a few singles that became popular during that time. “Higher” was an instant international hit. He gave his bit back to Kenya then, popularizing local patriotic song “Asante ya Punda” (The Google translation from Swahili to English gives me the meaning” Thanks to Donkey” and I am not sure if this is what the song was about. It doesn’t sound like a patriotic song in theme at least. Another song popularized was “Kenya Yetu Nchi” which means “Our Country Kenya”. I am not sure anyone internationally remembers Kelly Brown but yes, I would presume some Kenyans do. Kelly gave a number of charity performances in Kenya as a part of giving back to his country.

You never quite know how your end will be. Kelly Brown was missing for about six weeks before someone found him dismembered and dead in his apartment in Stuttgart on 03 February 1989. The mystery regarding his death never was solved.

Now I know, why I never heard of him all these years. Now, I suppose, I never quite will.

- Sandy

(Picture Courtesy http://www.discogs.com/)
Thanks Raj for the U Tube Links :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Come With Me

Silken fingers beckon
a whisper in the air
come my path O friend
sprinkle petals velvety.
Meander through these dreams
resonating the laughter
our face to the sky
a journey untold.
Share my soul
come view my crystal
feel the love
and scatter its essence so.

Copyright Sandy@2011

Winters

Winters never were this cold
for your warmth held me snug
softly falling snow lit my world
never did I lack a hug.

There is nothing that lives eternal
it’s time for goodbyes I am told,
I cower, slunk in total isolation
seen, touched, possessed and sold.

Copyright Sandy@2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Give Up or Let Go?

(Acknowledgment - This post would not have been possible without the contribution of my friends Kanan KR, Priya Khanna, Priyank Gupta, Rohini Suri, Vicky Pope, Kandy Sir, Arundhati Das, Reshmi Chatterjee -Thank you all! You are cherished. You allow me to think, to express and everything in between!!!)

It all started off with a quote I read posted by Kanan. Yes, Kanan, your post about how people don’t leave because they stop caring but they do because they hurt too much. So, this post came to my Facebook status message as “People let go not because they stop caring. They let go because they are tired of being hurt.” I found this entire discussion worth a post because it allows us to look at the same picture with different perspectives, borne out of diverse experiences and perception.

While it started off with a lot of likes, the crux of what comes out depends on how it allows us to share our thoughts. Each comment was valuable and worth a thought. There are no right answers and there are no wrong answers to anything in life really. All a matter of relative perception and an attempt at understanding – yes, it also allows me to see friends who I have not seen for decades or who I have seen only virtually. Why else would it matter?

Priyank, when you said ‘I disagree’, I jumped at it because it makes the way for the light to filter through to areas that I have overlooked or not thought about. Thank you!!! It is okay to not agree. With friends or with anyone you share a relationship with; it is always healthy to agree to disagree. I find that a great way of opening up a vista of thoughts to be expressed without pushing opinions. I have no right answers and I love to allow thoughts to flow. I am pushy and opinionated but who isn’t…either ways…eventually we will take it the way we want to take it. But, this is not about me.

So, when I said you let go because you hurt too much, eventually you also stop caring, Rohini quite agreed, eventually yes. Vicky believed, That’s true for me. The trick is finding the strength to let go even while you still care..when the need to preserve your sanity exceeds the need to keep the object of your affection, the decision and action become possible.

Priyank’s respond to that was no you don’t stop caring. Parents don’t stop caring even when they let their children go. If you love someone it’s not for the fear or the tiredness of getting hurt that u will let go, you’ll let go because you want to let go, because your loved ones want to go. If you stop caring, you didn’t care enough from the beginning itself.

So, I thought…parents really do not fall into this category, do they? I wasn’t quite talking about parents. I was talking about one to one relationships. However, eventually, some relationships do have partners, who are parents as well; for example, a couple who have divorced but have a child together. Dwelling on divorce and the effect on the child is another topic altogether and we suppose, somewhere in the future, we will get to that. I am digressing here if I further look only into that. Yes, Priyank, you are right about that.

So, I looked at it from a wider angle to say it is not simply a question of parental love or care here. It is also about partners and relationships. We care definitely or you wouldn't be with the person. After a point the hurt far exceeds the care. How a person hurts you and emotionally destabilizes you can either destroy you or allow you to rise out of it and gather up your self esteem. I could care yes, as a human being thereafter, after letting go, but I would not go out of my way to make it an exceptional gesture. Time and life shows you different views out of the same window. Then, when your self-esteem hits rock bottom, you either gather yourself up and let go or you remain where you are feeling sorry for yourself and feeling claustrophobic and yet unwilling to live life fully...A lot of emotional guilt is thrown around. One eventually decides whether the baggage is worth the pain or not. These are really hazy lines. Bottom line, where our perception comes from is where our life's experiences have been.

Priya added, that it made sense to let go in negative circumstances.

Kandy Sir, you are such an affectionate soul!!! Thank you for caring! A question arose if I was sensitive about the topic at the moment. I paused to think about it. Was I? I felt happy to realize, it may be an emotional thing but I had made peace with it. Thank you! Sometimes a question can allow you to realize you have crossed over that realm of pain. It made me realize, I will always be alive because I am emotional about things. Not in a sentimental state of mind. I am just being straight about stuff people are too hesitant to talk about for fear of being labeled sensitive. Being alive is better, any day!

Kandy Sir pitched in that he is sensitive and emotional! “And I think that makes me what I am! Compassionate and kind!! Yes, it is true. We will be just who we are.

Arundhati, my adorable friend who I have not met for more than twenty-three years put in her two bit to this profound discussion and added it's all about surviving...so before the hurt drains away and exhausts all your will to live and love for life and trust in human goodness, 'tis always wise to let go and move on, give yourself a shot at life and ditto for the other person.

So, back and forth we went. Priyank added, If you are talking about letting go the past, letting go the hurt, letting go the disappointments, letting go the frustrations, letting go of all the times you don't want to remember; yes you may say that you don’t care about those times anymore. But if you are talking about letting go the people in a relationship, you might stop fettering them with your expectations but you will still always care the same way you did before. You can stop yourself from holding on to someone but u can’t stop yourself from loving them and caring about them. This truth shines bright even amongst those really hazy lines.
Yes it does…those cases are exceptional I would say, but yes, I know it does. Not for a long duration of time though I felt.

Reshmi approved of what Priyank said and said she too totally disagreed. She said, “If I love intensely no matter what, no matter what amount of hurt it might have caused or may cause, no matter how tired I am of getting hurt, how can I ever let go that special someone? All hurts are negligible compared to the amount of love we share. LOVE; this magic word is more than enough to live a lifetime.”

Finally, Kanan, the source of this entire topic appears to say the two points of view are balanced and right in their own way. Well, that is the magic of having a discussion as opposed to an argument. A thin line divides it. A similar thin line divides letting go and being indifferent. ‘Stop caring’ does not mean indifference. Not the way it is misunderstood. It simply means letting go without allowing what the other person does affect you. Darn! Am I making sense???

Relationships have the unique knack of squeezing every bit of you especially when you give it hundred percent. How well it turns out is entirely dependent on how much attention and importance two people together pay to it. Eventually, we need to look at a picture bigger than us. No person who cares about you should hurt you so much. If that is happening, well, it isn't right by any standard. If one wants to live a better today you have to let go eventually. One foot may be planted in the past (because that is what has made you what you are today) but you cannot cement it to the past. Better by far to let go and be happy than remember and cry. Life is far too immense a gift to cry over things and continue to hurt. It is too magical an adventure to pass by. The degree of care and hurt is at a precarious balance...when one outweighs the other the relationship defines itself. Some manage to gather the broken pieces and build it up but it’s futile to gather ashes. You can never gather ashes and put it together. You have to let it all blow away into the wind and count your blessing you have still survived and there is more to life until when the end arrives.

Priyank, you made this post really an insightful one. Yes, as you said, it’s all really hazy. But if you are getting hurt it’s your fault, not others; communication is a better option than letting go or moving on. If you have loved someone, you can't ever let go and be happy. A relationship never turns to ashes unless you burn it down. If people start taking responsibility for their own relationships, there won’t be any need to let them blow away into the wind.

Sigh! If only two people understood this together and not just one person. Point taken. I'd rather not dwell on who is to be blamed. The one who is bruised knows where the pain is. Never say never...it is such a restrictive word. Limits everything. Life.

Reshmi saw what I was getting at and agreed with me. Only the person who is bruised can feel it! And as Priyank said, if people take the responsibility but in that case both should take the responsibility and not just one. A relationship can only flourish when both care, when both love, when both feel, when both understand n when both share the responsibility!!! My point exactly.

To conclude I quote Priyank. Obviously! Relationships are a two-way street but I strongly believe that when two people are in love or in a relationship then the need to understand other person's expectations and limitations is greater than the need to be understood & loved yourself. If you begin to feel suffocated or suffer or be a sacrificial lamb, then I guess it’s high time to rethink about your relationship; it might be easier to let go than to stay together but even then I would maintain that you won’t care lesser. It’s much easily said than practiced but, tell u what! It makes Life a lot more to cherish.

If…

Sandy@2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Point of Regret Being?

Priya - Thank you! You triggered this one :) 

Such a sordid somber word – regret! Priya, post your post in the Soul Studio, here is my post. Darn! Too many ‘post’ in this post. (Pun totally intended for want of anything better to begin with.

So, Priya posted this on the Soul Studio yesterday…was it yesterday? “Don’t waste your life by waiting to find out who you are but work passionately to become who you want to be.” Suman, Manisha and Kimberly gave it thumbs up and that was about the time I came upon the post. That got me thinking and I reflected on a lot of stuff I had read across the years about regrets. I keep wondering why people have regrets. I have made so many so called ‘mistakes’ in my life that I refuse to look at as anything but lessons. Perhaps, it is because of the endless encouraging forwards I get from so many people entwined in my life.

What is the point of regret anyways? I mean, did you not want that thing at some particular point of time in your life? Of course, you did! So, why look back and regret it? We all have the freedom to make choices. We all made our choices. Not making a choice, by the way, is also a choice. I hear a lot of people say, but I was forced to... No you were not. You forced yourself to make that call then and that was your choice.

We have one life to live, plenty to give, endless dreams to achieve and hey, there is just this one life to live. Each tiny minute, brings us closest to our biggest reality, to death. Whether we like it or not, that time and distance is shrinking. Make the most of what you have. Don’t worry too much about who did what and who said what. What is important is what you did with what you have. There are no right answers to life and there are no wrong answers. Everything is relative. One thing you need to survive in life is passion. If there isn’t any passion or a spark in you, you will pass all of this by without even realizing you are now old and haggard and wondering where time went. Why spend time on regrets when you can put it to better use to be who you want to be. Find that one thing in you that you want to light up and follow it. Be kind to yourself. I keep saying this like a mantra over and over again every time the disease of regret calls. It is my insulation.

I have just stepped out of a relationship. I am sad it is over but then, I know there was a time when I thought it would last forever. Don’t we all? However, at that point when I said that I am happy to be a part of your life, I really was. It doesn’t mean I have never had regrets in life…I used to. Now, it seems such a waste of time. It’s lonely now, but I'm okay with it. I have become contented in just where I am and what I am doing. It does not mean I have any fewer problems than the person next door or that someone else has any fewer problems in comparison to mine. It just means that I want a lot from life but I'm, despite the want, okay with what comes my way.

Maybe it is something I do not wish to waste my time on because my life isn’t over yet, not yet. Until the last breath, whenever that will be, I will still have the chance to be who I wish to be. What a marvelous gift that is! There is a reason why the time of our death isn’t ever known and we do not know when it will come knocking at our door. That reason is to allow ourselves to make the most of what we have and make it all better. Who wants to compete with the person next door? It used to be such a big deal. When I was growing up, it was all I heard. Not unusual. Most of us have been there and heard it. We all write and say what's on our minds and what's not. Memories are always like that, some good, some bad. We don’t chase them away. Best is to acknowledge its presence and get on with life. I don’t keep regrets otherwise my pile and burden would be too much to carry.

Each time I lose something, I learn a lesson. My biggest lesson has been to accept the fact that I am not like everyone else. In fact, I do not ever wish to be anyone else or like them. I like me. I don’t hate myself. I am my own competition. When I meet someone like me, I am delighted. It is those rare bunch of people who make me smile from my soul because I know that we can agree to disagree and still be friends. I love you all! Each one of you. You are all a reason why I have no regrets. I am digressing! (as usual).

And yea…this really is something I know. Been there. Done that. Take it a day at a time. Be there for yourself, be there for others as well. Be there most of all for those who never mention they need you because they need you the most and that is one thing you never want to look back and say …I wish! Damn I am digressing. End of post. No regrets about digressing either.

Whatever meaningful you want in life and whatever you want to make of it, may it come to you! 
- Copyright@Sandy 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Awesomeness Magic and Wonder - Life

If you aren’t moving, you are as good as dead. Do not confuse this with moving on. What I mean is, each day, life does teach you something new. Embrace it. Embrace it like you embrace a new friend you make. Now, if you haven’t made new friends, you aren’t moving. A number of times I am told how can you have so many friends online that you have never met? I grin. Mostly I say, “You can do that too.” I am not an extrovert by nature…or am I? Hell, I don’t know. I just know that it doesn’t matter whether I have met them or not met them. Friends are friends. There is always this nagging doubt about…what if? What if the person you have embraced as a friend without even meeting turns out to be a fraud, someone who was fooling you? I understand that. There is always a fear. Tough luck buddy! My point is do you give up?

Life has this awesomeness and sense of wonder about it. There are days which really feel you are half way stuck in a swamp, being dragged down with your problems. Truth is, everyone has problems. A friend told me yesterday; if it gets too much, just put it on pause. Deal with it when you are ready. Nobody can make you do something you do not want to. It is okay to be hurt, it is okay to be confused, it is okay to have self-doubt. But, it is not okay to pull yourself to the ground. Wise heah! Yup! And I love you so much!

So, there has been stuff going on inside my head. I am learning each day to stay afloat. Sometimes I swim upstream, tired, my arms screaming for rest. I push myself. When it all comes to a level of calm, I float. When it is smooth, sometimes you glide. Life is like that. You have to ride it the way it is and make the most out of it. The wonder of it all never ceases. When we were children, everything had an air of magic to it. There was a sense of wonder. Do you remember how you felt when you saw a firefly for the first time? Do you remember how you felt when the rainbow swung across the horizon? Do you remember the delight of catching a tadpole and believing it was fish? Do you recall the first feel of snow on the tip of your nose? Hailstorms that suddenly made you wonder how ice could fall instead of rain.

Whatever happened? I know what happened. We grew older. Education and passed down opinions taught us to be afraid, lose our sense of wonder, faded the magic right out of our lives. We are a cynical lot. I am. I know I am. I am also my biggest critic. I am a loony when it comes to holding conversations with me. What do you do if your thoughts are with you as a constant companion?

The beauty of Life is that each day it teaches you something new. The awesomeness of it all is, you have the opportunity to change the way you think with every added thought, every single conversation, every line read. The choice is yours. I would like to never believe what I said yesterday will hold its ground tomorrow. How can it? What happens if I learn something new today? How can I hold what I believed yesterday and be rigid about it? Does that make me indecisive? Honestly, if people think it makes me indecisive, that is their problem. I know where I am coming from. I may not have a clue where I am going but I refuse to give up on the awesomeness of life.

Oh, and yes, I do know, my friends, in person and virtual really are my most amazing support system. I love you all!

Go, enjoy today’s awesomeness. Today will pass and you will want to remember the magic and wonder of it all. If you cannot find magic and wonder in it, make it magical, wonderful and let someone else believe how awesome it is.

BE the CHANGE!



Copyright @Sandy 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hint of Spook

“I think my house is haunted.” Her voice came out in a hoarse whisper. She looked visibly shaken, her face ashen, fingers gripping each other in a fist, nerves standing out.

“What makes you think so?” he asked.

“Last night…” she could not go on. It was the same as last night. The same terror gripped at her throat, steadfast and sure.

The Impatiens

I

The breeze is stronger now; autumn leaves fly, tiny pink flowers roll off and down the barnacled steps into the water. One such golden one nudges my shoulder and falls to the ground. I remembered never allowing a single one that touched me ever fall to the ground. I always collected them and they found their way into books, pressed in pages. For good luck. That was a long time ago. I was in school, younger, simpler in my beliefs and faith.

I have so many thoughts bursting out of my mind that I have to just get it out of my mind. So many things fill over. The noise inside my head remains louder than the clamour of the waves crashing onto the rocks that fringe the entire span of the walkway. It is silly, funny really just how much of difference a mere phone call can make. I am too afraid to think about it. There isn’t a word that can logically come close to how it really can be described. It is as if a fragile piece of some shapeless thing needs to be protected and kept under hold, nothing to be said, as if, it will shatter beyond control.

All I know is that whatever is there, it is so precious that I don’t want to lose it.

I look up. And there he is, standing, his lop-sided grin and his twinkling sure eyes staring back at me, his head at an angle. He looks kind of funny with a halo of those pink flowers behind his head, a golden leaf balancing and struggling to maintain a seat on his head. It flies away, the way time has.

“Come, sit.” I beckon him beside me. He sits and takes my hand in his.

He sits as the sun lights his hair in streaks of brown and copper. The rays play up the lines on his face, tiny meandering streams of laughter, crinkled eyes that bespeak wisdom, a hint of ravages of time and glitter of a sense of life.

“Priya,” he is solemn.

I can feel the pit of my stomach turning over. A rush of blood warms my cheeks and I wonder if he knows. A part of me wants him to know and a part of me wonders where it will take me. A million electric sparks have rushed through and I wait.

He sighs. I sigh. Twenty long years it has been.

“I wonder about things, this life actually.” I say, gazing at the sea and turning to look at him. I find his eyes and they stay. “ I won’t say this life has been a waste…”

He waits for me to continue.

My eyes well up, “…we did what we thought was right but would that be a waste in comparison to what we could have had together?”

He sits there, silent for a moment and finally draws me in a bear hug. It amazes me how much of a comfort it can still be…after all these years.

“I guess,” he mumbles into my hair. I can hear the pain in his voice, “we wait another lifetime for that. When I get you there, I’ll never let you go.”

II

It was a journey that had started not that evening when we met once again. It was a journey that had brought us together after years of having spent our life going through our separate ways, fulfilling our duties as children, parents, spouses, as everything but what we meant to each other.

III

Home is not a place. Home is a person. Even for a few hours,  it felt good to be home.

Copyright Sandy@2001