Random musings of a wandering soul

Let them go…

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When our loved ones grow old, as they definitely will one day, we feel sad. For them, for us, that they have to suffer, that we will not have them in our lives, physically. I’ve always believed they never leave us really, you feel them every single moment. All that you need to do is  just close your eyes for a few moments and let go. Sometimes you don’t have to do even that. But, let me not digress.

Death, ours and our loved ones is something that is always in the background of our lives. We know it is a truth that we have to face some day, but we’d rather not even think about it. Even if terminally ill, a tiny ray of hope still persists. Till the last breath is torn out, we desperately wish for a miracle.When someone has suffered for long and in a way that we wish for them to die, isn’t it better to let them go? I am talking about physical pain here. Dr. Sherwin B Nuland has written extensively and interestingly on death is his book ‘How We Die’ which is now considered seminal. He says,

“In thirty-five years as a licensed physician, I have never had the temerity to write “Old Age” on a death certificate, knowing that the form would be returned to me with a terse note from some official record-keeper informing me that I had broken the law. Everywhere in the world, it is illegal to die of old age.”

Why is it so difficult to accept the fact our organs have done their job and more and it is time to let go? I do accept it is heart wrenching to say goodbye to someone young, who in the conventional sense hasn’t ‘lived her life’ yet. The mother of a terminally ill young girl changed my perspective about love and death. The girl was spitting blood and writhing in pain. And the mother sat there and prayed, “Lord, take her away.” Few years later, I sat outside her hospital room and prayed,”if her fate is to suffer more in this world, please take her back.”

Love. Compassion. Two sides of the same coin. Yet how many of us are willing to take that step? How many of us are brave enough to say, “he has lived a good life, let him go” ?

From Dr. Nuland again,

“In recent generations, we have added something new: We have created the method of modern dying. Modern dying takes place in the modern hospital, where it can be hidden, cleansed of its organic blight, and finally packaged for modern burial. We can now deny the power not only of death but of nature itself. We hide our faces from its face, but still we spread our fingers just a bit, because there is something in us that cannot resist a peek.”

If you knew you were to die soon, where would you prefer to die? Among strangers and ominous machines, watching a few others suffer or the comfort of your bed, surrounded by your loved ones? I do agree it may not be possible always and in some cases, not even recommended. But, when and where it can be, why not?

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Today, along with more than a thousand other fellow bloggers across the world, I am writing about compassion. Old age may not be a misfortune, but suffering definitely is. Love and compassion are close relatives. There cannot be one without the other. If we claim to love our dear ones, why do we shy away from alleviating their pain? We need to accept the truth that death is. Be compassionate.  Let them go, surrounded by love and in peace.

Do visit 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion and spread some compassion…

The Year through the Reads

Originally posted on Reminiscing the Reads:

Resolutions and promises are alike. The intention is always good, unless it is to kill someone . The year started with a resolve that in hindsight sounds lofty. To write a review on each book that I read. That reminds me of another challenge that I took up on myself. To read 100 books  against 80 last year. If you get the drift of how most things in my life turn out, suffice to say the well begun things still remain half done. In fact, that was one proverb that has confused me no end as a kid. If you begin things well, would it always remain incomplete, my young brain used to wonder. Not that it has got better with age. The brain, that is. Anyway, if not all, let me make an attempt to run through some books that I enjoyed, a few that I loved and certain others…

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Ode to Fallen Cakes

Originally posted on The Weekend Kitchen:

The fruit cakes were turning out perfect, lemon and vodka soft and fluffy, orange and rum inviting…..in short, life was good. Well, I will not talk about work here. So, there I stood staring out of my kitchen window, a dreamy smile on my face, anticipating another batch of picture perfect beauties. And then, the inevitable thud that follows a dream run

imageNone of the rescue tricks that I knew of worked. “You have hits, then you have flops, all part of life,” I tried to console the baker in me. And I threatened the chocolate and red wine that was finding its way into the oven, “don’t you dare fall on me.” 45 minutes later, it came out, with its skin as soft as a baby’s bottom and as taut as Madonna’s midriff. The preening smile was back on my face.

Cakes are like children. They pretend to be…

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Just Another Morning

imageSleep late on weekends? No sir, not me. I am a soccer mom, you see. Handsome hunks as coaches and glamorous moms fawning over them, did you say? Only in movies my friend, only there.  Sigh!

The weekend special shouting match commences as the mother gets up early in the morning and starts trying to wake the son up. After three ‘two minutes, amma’ the sound pollution meter in the apartment almost blows up. The mother gets into the lift in a huff and the son follows with a puff. Things are almost back to as normal as it can get by the time we reach the football grounds.

Age has made me quite cantankerous. I don’t take hollow smiles and pointless banter too easily. As an after effect, taking  a walk around the apartment complex is anathema, unless it is midnight and all around are hopefully in bed or at least couched in front of their rectangular flat boxes. Pizza boxes are square, aren’t they? Anyway. So, the early morning football coaching for son is kind of a Shangri la for me. It’s a very reluctant sun that greets me the moment I step out of the car. The rays peep out hesitantly as though they are scared the cool  breeze will chase them off. The leaves sway gently and tell them there’s nothing to worry, and the gingerly steps gain confidence. I start my weekend walk.

A rugged pathway with age old trees to guard and refresh you, cricket on one side, football on the other and a small walk down, horses and people learning to ride them, the place is as happening as it is calm and peaceful. Nature is an instant pick us up, isn’t it? However tired I am, a few minutes under the trees, the feeling is as if you are in another world, where the worries and travails of the daily toil seem to disappear magically. A strange feeling of awareness start seeping in.image

As I walk forward early in the morning, the occasional sound of a vehicle comes in through the left ear while the right ear slowly catch the sounds that has by now become unfamiliar. A lone cuckoo on the branches somewhere above, calling out to its lost love, crickets screeching out the arrival of another morning, the bright chirp of a sparrow , the bark of a stray dog probably marking its territory; the more I listen, the more voices I discern. Oblivious to all else, I can even hear the rustle of the leaves. The horses from the riding school saunter languidly , their riders as elegant as the animals they mount.  Wild flowers strew the path here and there, are they fallen stars, I wonder. Towards the end of the path, there is a small grove of sappotta (Chikkoo) trees. A treasure trove of organic fruits, for they grow wild and in abandon.

Watching people around you can be the most interesting pastime. Parents come in different hues. There are those who stay put in their vehicles with the day’s newspaper. The diligence with which they seem to scrutinise each letter makes you wonder what exactly is it that they are searching for in there. Interestingly, there is a only a small group that spend the waiting time with their gadgets. Among those who do, mothers are a majority. Subject for a study, I guess. Most of them come prepared though, in their track pants and walking shoes, trudging along around the ground. A few like me prefer the canopy of the trees to the warm rays of the morning sun.

We cross each other on our walks, almost every Saturday and Sunday. The distance between us is a few yards, the individual worlds we inhabit are light years apart. We see each other week after week, but never meet. The mischievous spirit in me takes over one day as I try to stare out a smile from at least one. The first one is a svelte girl child, always on a trot, with the customary ear phones tucked in and her gaze fixed on a moving point somewhere far in the horizon. She is an easy target, the return smile is instant and it lights up her face. A beauty, she is.

Next is the athletic couple. They are on a jog, perpetually. A serious look of concentration on their sweat stained faces, feet in tandem and like a true bhartiya naari, the wife always a few steps behind the husband. I wouldn’t even dare to attempt a smile at them, the expression on their face is that fierce. Then comes the father daughter duo. I love this two. The girl must be about ten, the father obviously a veteran at this morning run thing. It’s obvious that she finds it difficult to keep up with her father. She just doesn’t give up though. The high pony tail swinging  from left to right in perfect harmony, she completes the forty five minute ritual. I would love to eavesdrop on that gentle post run talk that the two seem to enjoy so much. The smile is rather indulgent now, not necessarily at either of them.

The runner / walker comes next. It’s difficult to figure out how to define that gait of his. The feet doesn’t seem to touch the ground. If Jesus Christ had walked fast on water this is exactly how it would have looked like, apart from the apparel, of course. Then there is the expat couple who goes around the ground, never changing their trajectory, obviously enjoying their unhurried walk, always chatting, sharing a smile now and then, it’s a pleasure to watch the easy camaraderie. So engrossed are they in each other, there is no point in even attempting a smile.

imageThe two guys jogging down the track now are the types that I feel like running off from. The intense look on their faces, the perpetual appendage in their ears and the bytes of conversations that I pick up in passing is enough to discern the only language that they could possible know – the high brow corporate ones. Smile? I frown and walk as far away as possible.

The father and son looks exactly alike except for the color of their hair. The well fed cheeks, the round nose,  bushy eye brows, the heaviness in their walk, even the paunches are mirror images. They walk for sometime, then play cricket or football or whatever is the fancy of the day. And, they seem to be losing weight month after month. I am so envious that the smile would seem too contrived. No smile there.

1, 2, 3….is someone learning numbers at this age? And who is that lady running away? Ah, they had gone missing for the past few weeks. The couple who arrives with their personal trainer. I am not making this up, maa ki kasam. They try, or at least their trainer does. At times, I really have to fight that urge to go join them, just for fun. As for the smile, yet to figure out whether the top of a head would smile back, the only time I pass them by is when they are bent….errr…in a bending position.

The hefty gora comes trotting by. Geoff Bush sans the belly, that stiff upper lip has to be British. Smile? No way. Few other couples, a girl who has a strong resemblance to one of the girls who presents a Malayalam comedy show, the old expat who always has a smile on his face, the mother who drives a Tata Safari as if she is maneuvering a multi axle truck, random smiles are offered and some returned.

Now comes my favorite, the sage. Gandhi in a track pants, his face reflects an inner glow. He walks unhurried, taking in the essence of the morning air. He seem to be content by himself always and I was surprised to see him in deep conversation , or rather listening deeply to a new face. My ears turned long as I heard ,”the story starts there.” The enthusiasm seeped into their pace as well and I could catch only a few words here and there as we passed each other in the next few rounds. Finally, the sage opens his divine mouth, “Atheyo?”

The smile on my face turns into a huge grin……they are everywhere, these bloody mallus!

(p.s. ‘Atheyo’ is a Malayalam word = ‘is it?’ in English)

Originally posted on Reminiscing the Reads:

islandThe abbreviation IPKF, loud speakers blaring some mumbo jumbo and the name Rajiv Gandhi resonating in our ears in the early morning hours from a hostel room, the disbelief, shock and painful pictures that followed and years later, the portly figure of Velupillai Prabhakaran with the marks of a gun shot on his forehead, the war in Sri Lanka could very well have been summarized in these fleeting pictures. Strangely, it was the names of the places that had stuck on – Jaffna, Killinochi, Vavunia, Mannar, Mullativu, Batticaloa – were as familiar as a Fort Kochi, Ambalappuzha or Changanacherry. The newspaper statistics were something to be read like the daily weather report. Until I read this book.

For most of the world around, the war in Sri Lanka ceased to exist when Prabhakaran was shot dead. The silence that followed was eerie when you think of it in retrospect. Samanth…

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Leftovers are good :)

Originally posted on The Weekend Kitchen:

I’ve always been a lazy mother, letting my kids be, finding their own way and telling myself that I’m teaching them to be independent. Never in my dreams could I have thought I was a horrible one as well. Well, what else do you call a mother who has neglected her child for almost two years?

Let me tell you my child, you’ve never been far from my mind. In fact, you should see the stuff that I’ve been making for you all this time. Cakes and breads and what not! And did I tell you, people are willing to pay money to get this stuff? So, let me shower some attention on you, my dear blog.

Life has changed over the past two years. But this mother hasn’t much. I still find it difficult to stick to norms and exact measurements. There is an itch if something extra is…

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Originally posted on Reminiscing the Reads:

Infidel

(Disclaimer : Even if I write page after page for weeks, it would be difficult to cover the varied emotions and thoughts that still keeps going through my mind. This is a humble attempt to prod you to take this up and read.)

Those eyes seemed to challenge me from the bookshelf for more than a year. “Come pick me up, if you dare,” she taunted each time I picked it up. Her lips curled into a cynical smile as I kept it back, once again. I pretended that I was not yet ready, that the time to listen to her story had not come, yet. For I knew, she would demand undivided attention once she started her tale. And then, when that stare became unbearable, I picked it up again and flipped it open.

“Who are you?”

“I am Ayaan, the daughter of Hirsi, the son of Magan.”

So started…

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