Sunday, December 28, 2008
Certain things make certain places special. Sometimes it is the sheer beauty of the place. It could also be the people there. Certain times it is simply the memories that place holds for you.
This place that I went to sure holds a lot of memories for me. Most of my holidays were spent there. Roaming the farms, playing in the sand, making bullock cart miniatures, learning to climb trees (never did succeed. I tried to start with a coconut tree. Bad choice for beginners.), and learning to play gilli thandu (which, again, I failed at).
My aunt and uncle don’t live in the farm house anymore. They’ve moved to the village proper. And these days when I visit, I don’t usually visit the farms. Today I decided to.
The funny thing with growing up is everything that looked big and far don’t seem that big or far anymore. Not much has changed except that one of the farms has become a coconut farm, the farm house is gone, though there is a portion of the old building still standing. The bend in the road is still the same. And the bumps. You use the age old trick to escape dogs – bend down pretending to pick a stone. And oh, some things were bigger. The coconut trees in one of the farms that I used to walk past. They’ve grown quite tall.
On the way back I spotted a peacock.
I love villages. I love this particular village.
I would love to hear about your favourite places and the memories they hold for you. So, let's play tag.
Marsha, here's one more blog idea for you. Madison and Sandy, i love your stories and insights. Anju, i know you have some stories and you are dying to tell them. Clarissa, if you want to play along. And anybody else that wants to reminisce, please play along.
Monday, December 22, 2008
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Like the person who tagged me, I haven’t had egg nog. So, I will go for hot chocolate.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
No Santa. No Christmas trees. Friends and family give me gifts. Friends usually wrap them. Family just give them.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Again, no Christmas tree. And, no lights on the house. The lights in the house are usually the fluorescent bulbs and them yellow blubs which consume lot of energy.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No mistletoe. Haven’t seen one in my life. Ever. Well, except on television, I suppose.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
Ummm… I don’t put up decorations.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Guess it would be what I eat at Thom’s Christmas party.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child:
As a child, I was back from my boarding school for the holiday season. And I guess my favorite memory is of going to my aunt’s place and roaming around on the farms.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Well, I didn’t know I was supposed to believe in him in the first place. My early memories of Santa were of this somebody who was dressed as one distributing prizes during some school Christmas celebration. And no, there was no gift-receiving during Christmas.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Ummm… The last couple of years I opened them on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. This year I forgot and opened it on the day I received it. Yes, I am the one that Anju is talking about.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
See response to no. 2.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
I have never ever seen snow.
12. Can you ice skate?
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Umm. I guess there are quite a lot.
14. What is the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Friends and food. Family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
See response to no. 6.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Don’t have holiday traditions really.
17. What tops your tree?
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
O, Come all ye faithful
20. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?
Not really fond of candies.
21. What do you want for Christmas?
World peace?! Ha ha.
22. Do you attend an annual Christmas Party?
Guess it would be Powerhouse’s and Thom’s and those that my friends host. Used to go to the Svobodas’, but they’ve moved. :-(
23. Do you dress up on Christmas or wear PJs?
I dress normally.
24. Do you own a Santa hat?
25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
Friends from church. But this year it’s with family.
I have been listening to stories. From people who have seen quite a bit of life. (I hope to be such a story-teller when I am their age!) While I have learned a lot from those conversations, there’s this thing that stands out for me now.
What you are actually left with are memories. And a good life is a shoe-box full of good memories from which you can pull out snapshots of people and past, look at the moments frozen in time and smile…
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Perhaps, it will be about stolen moments.
No, i am not talking about the moments stolen from us. Rather, these are the moments that we steal from life, like gulping down a lungful of fresh air before ducking back into water.
The moment of silence in the restroom away from the crowd
The quick moment of looking up and acknowledging God in the midst of a hectic day
The moment you allow yourself to be drawn into the beauty around you
The moment between turning off the light and your head hitting the pillow
The moment of repentance
The moment of release
The moment of glimpsing the big picture
The moment when hope's restored
The moment when peace is made
The moment when you feel God smile at you
The stolen moments from the pool of time...
Friday, November 14, 2008
I see this speck. It moves when I move my eyes. It goes up. It goes down. And left. And right. It is there. It annoys me.
I look at the mountain before me. Beautiful and green. Bluish too? Cloud-capped peaks. A sliver of white tucked in its folds. A waterfall. A portion of the mountain spotlighted by a beam of sunlight.
I have a choice. To focus on the ever present speck.
Or to drink in the beauty of the mountain.
I cannot do both, for one always clouds the other.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
…like a bus break-down. And the clear dark sky outside. And the spotting of a shooting star dart across that clear sky.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It is better to be pleasantly surprised than to be disappointed.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Various states in India have enacted 'Freedom' of Religion Acts and Anti-Conversion Act providing or prohibition of conversion from one religious faith to any other by use of force or inducement or by fraudulent means and for matters connected therewith.
The definitions used in one such Act goes like this:
(b) "force" shall include a show of force or a threat of injury of any kind including threat of divine displeasure or social excommunication;
(c) “force” shall include misrepresentation or any other fraudulent contrivance.
(d) “inducement” shall include the offer of any gift or gratification, either in cash or in kind and shall also include the grant of any benefit, either pecuniary or otherwise; may make rules for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act.
Now what I don't get is, why are people being forced to 'reconvert' at the point of swords and sickles and weapons? What do the laws and people behind the making of these laws have to say about this?
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Life is much easier when you can sail through it without having to worry about a thing. When it is all easy sailing, but often that is not the case. There are days when the weather is good and sailing smooth. And then there are days when the storms hit hard around you...
And you would think that sinking is the only way out.
And you will even reach a point where you don't care whether you sink or stay afloat. As days go by, and as the number of storms you've faced increases, you even give up fighting.
You sit there simply staring at the storm.
Hoping it would go away. Hoping that the sky would be clear again.
It is not hoping against hope (for you know deep in your heart that there is hope).
It is simply not hoping...
You are left with an empty restlessness in your heart. A protest without strength in it. A dumb acceptance of the situation without a fight. Yet, with a struggle.
You know all the answers. You are aware of the words of comfort. But you don't have the desire to speak them to yourself. Neither do you care to hear it from anybody else. You don't care for words.
You go about doing the usual things. Yet wishing you didn't have to. Yet not willing to throw it away for you know that it is your lot - that which you are going through.
"Have faith," it is said. It doesn't even occur to me to have more faith. The storm is raging in front of my eyes. And that is all i can see. I hope to be a bit more peaceful about the storm. But peace eludes me. And the only faith i seem to have is what is given me. A remnant. And perhaps the remnant is enough.
"My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness."
Lord, i believe. Help my unbelief.
This is something that came out of a period of wrestling with myself. If and when i do start my other blog, these are the kind of things i will be writing in it...
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
There will be 'us' and 'them' for as long as there is an 'I' and a 'you.'
The 'I' and the 'you' is. It is reality. The two can appear to be the same but yet, they are very different.
‘Us’ does not happen by obscuring the difference. ‘Us’ does not happen by disguising it with sameness. ‘Us’ happens only by recognizing the difference, and by embracing it.
When ‘I’ and ‘you’ become one, there is only ‘us.’ There is no ‘them.’
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I haven’t heard some sounds in a long time. I love the fierce sounds of nature – that of thunder and wind especially. I remember when I studied in a boarding school up in the hills I used to hear these sounds often. The sound of rolling thunder. It was a sound that was frightening to many, but to me it was the sound of Majesty.
And then there is the sound of the wind. The tall eucalyptus and the other kinds of trees sliced through the wind that blew through the woods. The sound mere whistle some times; and it would be howling and wailing at other times.
Living in a city has its benefits. And you quite forget that these sounds exist. You read about them at times. You remember them wistfully. But those are passing moments. Thankfully the gentle breeze still blows in the cities. I love the feel of gentle breeze upon my face. They say it is a reminder that God is still at work…
These few days are refreshing. I am vacationing at my cousin’s. I can wake up in the morning, walk out of the house and look at a field, lots of sky, and the hills…
And you can hear the gusty wind bellowing through the trees… You can hear the wind howl…(This was written on 28th July when i was vacationing and i wasn't connected.)
Monday, July 14, 2008
The last few weeks have been weeks of connecting and reconnecting with people. I, personally, did reconnect with a number of people. And I saw some people reconnect as well. And in some instances, I put off reconnecting and lost the chance to connect forever.
The reasons why connections had broken varied:
The most mundane, and the usual reason. Busyness.
People have gone their own way which tended to be in different direction.
Assumptions. Assumptions arising out of past events… Events which were not discussed and sorted out.
Misunderstanding and past hurts.
Drifting apart - unconsciously. Gradually. Without notice.
Similarly, various things that caused reconnection:
Determination and conscious effort - by either one or both parties to connect again. Deliberately making time for one another. Even if it means taking some sort of extra effort to make it fit in both of your schedules.
Picking up that phone and making the call. Now.
Travelling - this kind of overcomes the geographical distance.
Willing to take the risk. Willing to put aside our assumptions and to become vulnerable. Taking that one chance that our assumptions may be wrong.
Forgiving and putting aside differences. Being willing to talk it out.
Looking in your calendar and marking out time for meeting with old friends. And then calling the friends and asking them to block the date in their calendars as well.
Persistence - some people need that. But don't be persistent to the point of being annoying.
And in some cases, losing your mobile phone can also cause you to reconnect. :)
And the reconnections had these effects on me:
"Gosh! I had actually missed this person and didn't realise it for this long."
"It is wonderful to pick up from where we left. It is great that I can be as honest and vulnerable with this person as I was then."
"Wow! We've both grown and matured. And we still click."
"I still love this person…"
"It's so wonderful to laugh like we used to…"
And while saying all this, I must also mention that one of the members of my extended family died. We were planning to visit them just two days before she died, but we put it off for another day that would never come…
So people, pick up that phone and make that call. Spend a couple of minutes and email. Look in your calendar and see who you want to meet up with for coffee today. Get to know the person you've been wanting to get to know…
p.s. - Do feel free to share your reconnection stories. Treat this as a tag if you will.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
There are some who wear a mask... Or many different masks. And then there are some who put up a wall.
If the different 'facades' we show to different people (or in different situations) are masks, then we are left with only different kinds of masks. There is no real face.
I prefer the wall. It signifies that people do get a glimpse of the real you but in measured bits. When discussing this with a friend, he came up with the concept of walls with holes. That is what it is. We choose different sizes and patterns for the holes depending on the people we are with or the situation we are in.
Masks hide. Walls (with holes) reveal. Whether we want to hide or reveal determines whether we wear a mask or put up a wall.
p.s. - It is interesting that one of the above mentioned people had written about this almost two years ago and i had posted a long comment in response...
Thursday, July 03, 2008
All good stories have a plot. In a novel, in a movie, nothing happens without reason. In the end everything comes together. It all makes sense - eventually.
There is this desire in us that things should make sense. At least in the end. We do not like movies that don't tie it up well and books that leave us with more questions than answers.
This desire is reflected in the way we view life. We expect life to have a plot. We either try to make sense of what the plot is. Or we seek to fill in the gaps so that it makes sense. Or believe that it will all make sense in the end - like in the movies and books…
But will it?
When do we actually arrive?
From when we are born we are in a constant state of preparation. They prepare us so that we can get in to school. And then, they prepare us to go to college. This is just so that we will be prepared for the future.
When do we actually arrive at the 'future?' Where is this 'future?'
Once we finish college we think we will arrive there. Perhaps we do. We are suddenly faced with a whole new life of 'adulthood' before us. And we find ourselves fumbling, floundering and flustering. Has all our young days been spent preparing for this? We continue to do what we have best learned to do - to prepare for the future.
So when do we arrive? I believe that we arrive only when we learn that life is happening in the here-and-now. While we live with one eye on the future, we need to appreciate and relish the present. We need to be aware of the sands of time that we hold in our hands… and feel its grains even as it slips through our fingers… When we have learned that, we have arrived.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Depending on others is looked down on. It is seen as a sign of helplessness. And independence is an exalted 'virtue.' People take pride in the fact that they lead their own lives and are self-made people and so on. However, my experience tells me that none of us are really independent. We are all interdependent. I need to depend on the farmer to grow food so that I can have food on the table. I depend on the grocer to procure that for me. He depends on a whole network of people to do that. None of us are really independent.
If this is the case, why are we so keen on being independent? This seems to have happened because of our understanding of freedom. With the past century's history widespread of colonization and oppression of people groups and nations, we've come to value freedom very highly. Freedom has become synonymous with independence. And thus, I think, we have elevated independence to such great heights that it is hurting us.
In fact, we have become prisoners of independence and in that, we have lost our freedom. Freedom to be real. Freedom to be vulnerable. Freedom to be ourselves. We seek so much to appear strong and independent, we are willing to be who we are not. We enslave ourselves to work so that we can make enough money to be 'independent.'
We don't stop at that. We imprison those who appear weak by expecting them to measure up to our standards of independence.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Inclusion and exclusion are concepts that I have been toying with in my head for quite some time. I have been wanting to write about it, but the thoughts were pretty hazy and not complete. I cannot claim that I have resolved it entirely. Anyways, here goes…
In the 'The Inner Ring,' C. S. Lewis talks about one seeking to be in the inner ring. Many seek to be part of the inner ring. Many create the inner ring. The inner ring is created by exclusion. In Nineteen Minutes, this kid who is part of the 'cool clan' says something to the effect of "There can't be 'us' without 'them.'" It is almost as if the inner ring is created so that 'I' can feel special. Then, the sole motivation and the reason for survival of the inner rings, it seems, is because it acts as a crutch on which our flailing, floundering, insecure ego can support itself.
When I try to understand how Jesus lived, I found Him to be a very inclusive person. There was always room for the outcast, the sinner, the goof ball, the scum at His table. I believe that this inclusion stems from His security. He was secure in His identity. He knew who He was. He didn't feel the need to protect Himself and His ego. He didn't need to have a platinum credit card, be a member of 'exclusive' clubs, wear expensive designer clothes and accessories to make Himself feel significant*. He knew who He was and He was okay with that. And this, I guess, made people comfortable too. They didn't have to have certain 'qualities' so that they can be included in His exclusive club**.
Well, let me see what the point of this post was. Well, I was just wondering how inclusive I was willing to be… And I guess the only way I can become inclusive is if I am secure in who I am.
Social inclusion is a concept that I have come across during the course of my work. I guess for social inclusion to happen, that social institution/organization needs to be secure in what it is.
* This is not to say that it is wrong to have these things. I am only questioning the motive behind having and seeking after these things.
** This is to accept that, yes, it has been made out to be exclusive clubs these days. But I believe that Jesus did not intend it to be that way.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Again, there are so many books to choose from and I am wondering which one it should be…
Alright. It is going to be my last weekend read - Agatha Christie's Five Little Pigs.
And the sentences,
The word came sharply - with almost an anguished rapidity Meredith Blake said, his face flushing:
"I abandoned the whole thing - dismantled it. I couldn't go on with it - how could I?"
And i am not tagging anybody particular this time around. Play along if you choose to.
Friday, June 13, 2008
World Vision India and NalandaWay have organized an exhibition - At the Cost of Childhood - to put on spotlight the existence and reality of child labour. It is open till tomorrow. I am hoping to visit tomorrow.
Chennai bloggers meet is something that's already been reported in quite a few blog and in the media as well.
Well, when I read about bloggers meet in the many blogs that I have come across, I did not think that it would happen here. And I did not imagine myself attending one... Wait. May be I did. Anyways, when I heard about it I wasn’t quite sure why I wanted to attend it. I almost gave it up for my Sunday afternoon nap, but decided to go. That was that. I went. Met people that I had met before. The only blogger that I knew in person was Anju. And there were many others whose blogs I had no idea existed. And was glad to discover some of them.
And oh, I got a t-shirt too… While some people got two… Hmpf.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Global South was a phrase I heard quite a bit when I was travelling this time around. And all i have to say is this...
Global North and Global South are not geographical demarcations… They exist in every neighbourhood...
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Sandy tagged me with the six-word memoir meme so long ago. Here are the rules.
1. Write the title to your own memoir using six words.
2. Post it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who tagged you.
4. Tag five more blogs.
While Sandy had a couple of interesting titles, the best that I could come up with for my memoir is this:
This weird thing called 'my life…'
Now, I tag Anju (because she likes this kind of stuff), Brandy ('cos I think her life is darn interesting - well, at least the way she narrates stuff), Angel ('cos I haven't heard from her so long), Clarissa ('cos she hasn't heard from me for so long), and Julie ('cos she's in the process of writing novels. She might as well get started on her memoir).
One of the best ways to write something when you have nothing to start of with is to just start. And that is what I am doing. I am hoping that as I go along something will come out of this process. Also, I seem to be writing only when I don't feel the greatest. Perhaps I like venting out.
But what do I vent out about? That the world is not going to change and there is no use trying to? That I still am the hypocrite that I always knew I was? And worse still, I refuse to do anything about it… Or do I wonder about the whole meaning and purpose thing? I have done it all before. Yet, it has taken me nowhere. So here I am, venting out still…
So this has been a pointless post. Sorry about that.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
It is all a pointless tangle
The seeker and his journey
The lover and his longing
The rich and his wealth
The poor and his anguish
The meaning and the search for it
Sometimes giving up
For the tangle remains
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
G and Sophie dropped me off at my friend's place and they went exploring the little city of Lebanon. They had visited Strover Dam Park during their exploration. When my friend asked where they visited our forgetful G said that they went to some dam park.
Living with G's family, I've come to understand something of Sophie's lifecycle. It consists of three main events that keep repeating themselves one after the other…
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Being in a new place has you more alert to the nuances that you would otherwise miss due to habit. It is almost as if you get a new pair of eyes to look at the good ol' world. And it has been great.
On the surface I saw differences. It was easier to spot the differences. Isn't that what we are trained to do? Spot the difference. Grade the attributes. And assign values to them.
Beyond all the barriers, the great divides, the differences, the gaps,
Beneath the surfaces, the appearances,
There is a bridge
There is the depth
On the other side
In the deep
There is a person
Just like me
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I was riding to work as usual this morning. And I was letting thoughts run through my head as well. And I was running a bit late as I was running my scooter after 4 long days of not riding it and letting it get wet in the rain. Hence, the starting trouble and stalling at the signal and all…
Anyways, that is not the point of my story. So, while I was riding my scooter and running a bit behind schedule, I had to stop at yet another signal when these two blokes on a bike rushed to the empty spot next to my bike and said, "There's a lizard on your helmet. Don't remove it fast. Unbuckle it slowly, and remove it gently." And I did. And they took the helmet from me and sort of jerked the lizard away! And it wasn't a small one.
While I am not afraid of lizard, I cannot say that they are on my 'favorite animals' list either. In fact, they take a place in my 'yucky creatures' list.
And I was amazed that this creature had to sit on my helmet riding with me, and from what one of the other guys at the signal said, it had been riding with me for about a kilometer or two! I clearly remembered my helmet sans the lizard when I wore it this morning. Anyways, the point of the story is kindness of strangers.
After all said and done, I definitely love my country. I love the people. While there are some jerks*, there are also some kind people. And it is easy to laugh, and share a moment of one's life with them, even if it is for just a brief while like waiting at the signal.
Yesterday, when I was taking a train to work, I was stuck without Rs. 4 in change. I had only a Rs. 20 currency note. The person at the ticket counter asked me to wait till someone gave change. While I was waiting, there was this lady that came by and asked me up to where I had to go. I told her and she bought me a ticket.
The train journey wasn't exactly what I would have preferred. Well, what can I expect if I were travelling the wrong direction at the wrong time? I understood the meaning of 'sardines in a tin.' But, it was amazing the camaraderie that emerged among people in that situation. In fact, another person that got out at the same station as I walked with me a bit and we were talking to each other till we had to part ways.
I did not exchange numbers with any of these people. I did not ask for any of their names (well, except for the person that walked with me). I don't think I will even remember their faces. But for a brief moment our lives intersected and we shared a smile.
* Subjects of entirely different posts...
Friday, March 21, 2008
What love is this
That it walked the path of suffering
Pain and humiliation
What love is this
That stayed on the Cross
And refused to come down
What love is this
That has adopted me
Unworthy as I am
What love is this
That grants me space to rest
In Your presence
What love is this
That did not stop at the Cross
But keeps on loving me
That thinks of me
Saturday, March 15, 2008
When I struggle with writing, the easiest way out I have found is to share something of what I am currently reading. There is this portion found in Doctor Zhivago (by Boris Pasternak) that really, really appealed to me. The author put in words what I knew in my heart. Oftentimes the material conceals the non-material and the material overshadows it. But it is the non-material which makes the material valuable. In this passage, what Pasternak calls 'art' is what I call the 'non-mateiral.'
"I have always thought that art is not a category, not a realm covering innumerable concepts and derivative phenomena, but that, on the contrary, it is something concentrated, strictly limited. It is a principle that is present in every work of art, a force applied to it and a truth worked out in it…
"A literary creation can appeal to us in all sorts of ways - by its theme, subject, situations, characters. But above all it appeals to us by the presence in it of art…
"…You can call it an idea, a statement about life, so all-embracing that it can't be split up into separate words; and if there is so much as a particle of it in any work that includes other things as well, it outweigh all the other ingredients in significance and turns out to be the essence, the heart and soul of the work." (Emphasis mine.)
While you all figure out this post, I will figure out my next post. :-)
Monday, March 03, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Circle is perfect. No beginning. No end. Complete…
Jagged edge is not. A number of beginnings and a number of ends. All abrupt. Rough. Incomplete. It is not perfect.
Jagged circle is the reality. Jagged circle is what is. Perfection and imperfection. Co-existing…
The jagged circle is I...
Psst... 'a jagged circle' is going to be the title of my new blog and this is the idea behind it. I'm still wondering what sort of blog that should be as i don't want to give up 'Life goes on' either...
and oh, it is my birthday today! :-)
and, this is my 100th post in this blog...
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Learning to be patient with me
Not running ahead
Not lagging behind
But staying still
But quietly waiting
But gently trusting
Not looking around
Not searching inside
But beholding Him
Who was and is and is to come...
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
to complain than to appreciate
to find fault than to find the goodness
to hate than to love
to be bitter than to be forgiving
to be sad than to be joyous
to be ungrateful than to be thankful
it is better to clean the closet every now and then than to let the dirty laundry pile up and make your life miserable.
These small negative minions come back to bite you in your back… and they bite hard…
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Dream your dream. After you are done dreaming, inhale a lungful of reality. It hits you hard, doesn't it?
The very nature of dreams is, it is above and beyond that which is. It is inspirational. It edges on the impossible. If it does not then it is merely planning for the future. It is not a dream really.
That is the sad thing about dreams too. It is something that is inviting. Something that you desire, something that would allow you to be you. Something that is just beyond the grasp. Something that could be… if not for reality.
Indumathi's Surrendered Dreams (தரையில் இறங்கும் விமானங்கள்) tells the story of dreams and reality. While the aspirations are high and visions propel a person, duty and obligation has the capacity to cause the dreams to come tumbling down.
Person after person sacrifice their dreams for the sake of the other in the family. This cycle of sacrifice doesn't seem to stop. Those who haven't yet sacrificed do not understand those who have and in fact, are disappointed that one so great has also succumbed to the ordinary. When the idealist becomes a realist, it seems to the world that he has stooped too low.
But is that so?
Those who sacrificed have entered a different league altogether. Although they feel the pain of surrendered dreams, they have become nobler people simply because they have put the others before themselves and even before their own dreams. They have become nobler also because they are now aware of their nobility…
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Here are the rules:
*Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
*Find Page 123.
*Find the first 5 sentences.
*Post the next 3 sentences.
*Tag 5 people.
The book: Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
He told me several times that all he had heard others say and all that he found in books - indeed, all that he himself had written, seemed pointless in comparison with what faith revealed to him about the greatness of God and of Jesus Christ.
"He alone," he used to say, "is capable of making Himself known to us as He is. We search in reasoning and in the sciences, as in a poor copy, what we neglect to see in an excellent Original."
I tag all those who want to play this.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Giving is deglorified when the motive behind the giving is to glorify the self. Oftentimes, giving is goaded by selfishness. I give because it makes me feel good. I give because I want to stop feeling guilty. I give because I am generous - or so I think.
One does not become a true giver all at once. It is a process that is worked out in us provided we accept the challenge, be willing to stretch ourselves a bit more, to go the extra mile…
Truly selfless giving pinches. Makes you lose yourself in the process. You decrease and you let the other increase. It is something that we grow into.
It demands that you step down from the pedestal. (Who put you up there, anyways?) Demands that you not have just knowledge about the other's need and situation but to know it as your own. Demands that you stop looking at the other person and their situation, but look along with the person at the situation, at the world around. It demands that you journey with the other - walk in their shoes. Demands that you not only give, but receive - in all humility for you are poor too. It demands that you know your own inner poverty.
And when you give selflessly you do not take away the dignity of the receiver…
p.s. - The first part to this post can be found here.
Monday, February 04, 2008
It somehow seems easier to accept the ordinary, everyday people. And harder to accept those who set themselves apart. Apart in the way of dressing, in their attitude, in whatever else… Everything about them screams "I am unique and different. Notice me. Accept me."
Whereas the ordinary do not strive to establish that they are unique and different. Their flaws and quirks make them unique. That sets them apart from the rest. That makes them acceptable.
When you make yourself flawless it makes it difficult for me to accept you. For I am flawed. A flawed person accepts me as I am. A flawless one expects me to be flawless.
You see, the unique and the ordinary are not mutually exclusive...
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Christmas season is almost a month behind now. there were certain things which I couldn't but notice during that time. Christmas season being the season of love, joy, sharing, caring and giving and all that… (Personally, I think every day should be a season of all that. At least we take out time to be 'nice' and to celebrate 'niceness' once a year.) What I observed during the season of 'giving' and before that in my work really made me think about of giving…
Why do we give? What motivates our giving? When a beggar comes knocking on your car window why do you feel uneasy? Do you give or don't you? If you do, why? And if you don't, why? When you drive past a slum, you just want to drive past it quickly. When you do slow down and stop to see, the sight makes you uncomfortable… Forces you to do something about it. To do something about it quickly. A loose change, a quick handout. Your heart is at peace. Or is it?
More often than not, the giving is done more for the sake of easing our conscience. To make us feel good about ourselves.
There are some who give in order to feel good about themselves. AND there are those who give to let others know how good they are. Sometimes, giving becomes a marketing strategy. Marketing strategy for fund-raising. More money is spent on organizing the gift-giving event than on the gifts itself.
One-size-fits-all giving is another way to give. There is no thought put into giving. There is no understanding of what the receiver needs. This is sort of easy to do. Just go to some place, buy stuff in bulk (you save on the cost of giving this way!), and give. Better still, handout money. That is easier. There is no need to worry about what the money is being used for.
And then there is the expert-giver. "I know what you need. I have done my research I have observed your condition. I'm here to better your standard of living (to that of mine). So I will give you something that I would use, even if it is irrelevant in your situation."
Honestly, what motivates you to give?
Note: 'I', 'you' and 'we' are used interchangeably here. I am talking to myself as much as to the readers. This is a post just to provoke thought.
And oh, there is a part 2 to this...
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The way the award goes is like this. “Distribute this award to those people who have blogs we love and can’t live without, blogs where the writing is good and powerful. I thought interested members could kick things off by publishing the award on their own blog, naming five people they would like to give it to, and accompany the image with three things they believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful. The recipients then do the same, passing it on to five other people, and so on.”
The five people that I want to give the award to are:
'Lost in wonder' - One of the early blogs that I got addicted to. Although Anju makes things sound funny she delivers a lot of intense content like only she can do.
Jean at 'It's all good' writes these honest posts which makes you sit up and listen and think.
Liz Strauss at 'Letting me be…' has this way of using words which do not fail to amaze me and she has these very interesting thoughts and interesting ways of communicating those beautiful thoughts.
Madison Richards at 'Write on the edge' has such fresh outlook at faith and following. I like the way she finds the sacred in the ordinary.
Julie Layne - I quite can't put my finger on why I am addicted to her blog. It was by chance I came across her blog and now I am hooked. She's funny. She's real. And she has this way of engaging you in her story - even in the real ones.
These are the three things that I believe makes for powerful and good writing:
1. Truth - Nothing appeals like truth. And nothing repels like truth. There are new facets to truth that different writers bring. And it is amazing how we think the same thoughts and how different they are.
2. Being precise - I think powerful writing needs to deliver the truth without having to use too many unnecessary words. No, I don't mean using less words or being blunt. It is good to read something beautifully written, but using words just because one wants to use a lot of words doesn't make sense.
3. Humour - This is something that I have not been able to incorporate much into my writing. But those who have the ability to deliver truth with humour are awesome.
Friday, January 11, 2008
தமிழ் அன்பர்களுக்கு என் மனம் கனிந்த பொங்கல் நல் வாழ்த்துக்கள்!!
Happy Pongal, everybody!
Pongal being the harvest festival, it is a good time to think back on the past and be greatful for who we are and what we have.
I thank God
- for my family who love me no matter what
- for my friend who knows me through and through and still dares to love me
- for my friends who support me, encourage me, listen to me (even when they have no idea what i am talking about), understand me (even the vague, abstract stuff i love to discuss), and most of all correct me
- for my blog which has been a wonderful tool as it has encouraged me and given me a platform to compose and express my thoughts. And it has introduced me to some wonderful people.
- for my work which not only gives me a sense of purpose, but also helps me fulfill who i am and continues to stretch me and grow me
- for the gift of hope. The best is yet to come, they say...
- for God Himself, who gave of Himself willingly and generously and loves me no end...
p.s. - This post comes early as i am going to my hometown to celebrate Pongal with my family. See you all after Pongal.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Sandy tagged me with this. It is a pretty interesting meme. Makes thinking back on the past a bit easier.
1. What did I learn?
I learned that perfection or being whole is a moment by moment thing. You aren't really there if you think you have reached there. One step at a time.
Also, you can eat an elephant one bite at time.
2. What did I accomplish?
Workwise, I have accomplished a lot. I have become more confident. Brought closure to certain things which helped open up certain other things and be more effective in the new stuff. Personally, I have grown my hair real long, I have learnt to cook at least some basic stuff…
3. What would I have done differently?
Treated some people with true respect instead of look down on them like I did.
4. What did I complete or release?
Brought to closure some issues. Also, accepted the fact that there are certain things that I cannot change and I need to accept the person/situation as it was and learn to live with it. It was sort of releasing for me and for the person/situation.
5. What were the most significant events of the year past?
Met my best friend again almost after three years.
6.What did I do right?
Swallowed my pride and behaved less arrogant and in that I earned a friend.
7. What were the fun things I did?
Movies and dinners at Anju's, outings with friends. All these involved a lot of laughter. Blogging. Bloghopping. Working. Hanging out with my brother. And with his bunch of friends too. Took a trip to Delhi and from there to Kiki's wedding.
8. What were my biggest challenges/roadblocks/difficulties?
Insecurities - mine and that of people around me.
9. How am I different this year than last?
I'm more confident about who I am. Not entirely yet, but I have come to face the facts - there are certain things that I am not good at, but then there are other things I am good at. I am learning to be comfortable with both.
10. For what am I particularly grateful?
Friends, roof over my head, God's provision and His faithfulness even when I am not particularly faithful, Romans 8:32, my folks and my past.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
I know, I know. I have been very bad at updating my blog and it has gotten worse since I updated it last. I have a good reason. I had travelled out the city and was so busy with my friend's wedding and stuff. Anyways, here is the first post for this year.
I was trying not to do any 'New Year' sort of post or do any of the 'New Year' sort of thing like resolutions and thinking back on the past and all that. I like to think I am a person who lives in the present. While I have made a couple of resolution (which just happened to coincide with New Year), I did take some time off to think through the last year. Just a rewind and fast forward.
When I thought back on the year before and the years before that, what I remembered were the tough times, crises, foolishness, goof-ups, failures and the like alongside the good and nice things. In fact the not-so-nice things had a stronger presence in my memory. And I think I want to thank God for the not-so-nice things about life as well.
Those events are significant as they taught me lessons which I wouldn't easily forget; they were the momentous turning points which took me to the next level of maturity; they chased me into the arms of my Father; they have led me to greater intimacy with Him; made me a better person. Well, I could go on.
Anyways, I think I should mention the good things too that make me smile when I think about those. For the nice apartment, the good job, good friends, fun, laughter, discussions and debates, movies, coffee, coffee with friends, Gina's visit, Rob's visits, living with my brother, my blog friends (wink wink), Kiki's wedding, and (stopping to catch my breath) the list can go on and on…
Anyways, here's wishing you a wonderful year ahead!
p.s - And oh, i loved this New Year resolution post. I would say that my resolution is something similar.