Saturday, December 31, 2016

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey : What the book told me and what it did not

Few excerpts from the book :

 “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘Thank you,’ it will be enough.”

“In the word question, there is a beautiful word – quest. I love that word.”

“Nurture yourself often so you will have more nurturing to give to those who most need you. It is the airplane oxygen-mask theory : if you do not put on your mask first, you won't be able to save anyone else.”

So, reading this book has been a five-star experience, nothing less than eating a pizza overloaded with tons of cheese. In fact, reading it was near to what I call “visualising a miracle”; it made me think wide on a subject which was, unbeknownst to me, hidden inside my heart. The question of being the “real me”.

And, the pertinent question is, does it really matter that I remain elated all the time? Am I supposed to smile ear to ear all the time? Or chat non-stop? Or seem radiant? Or wear messed up eyeliner once a while?

I am not one might call a gregarious person. I am okay with that. Because that does not make me a “dispirited person”. Not that I don't have my state of euphoria and ecstasy and excitement but the state is like a short-lived jugnoo. Brightest in its life span, with decreasing luminosity.

Jubilance, passion, anger, shyness, calm…I feel so much more than just being happy because that is me. Bewildered do I feel, annoyed do I feel and so do I feel irritated at times. I work like a dog and I feel power- hungry. I don't smile a lot. Or talk to my friends on the phone often. I don't like animals (actually pets). I don't like it when they mix chocolate with almonds or peanuts. I don't like rom-coms. I don't feel impressed or get pleased easily. I like to be on my toes all the time and love to work on challenging assignments often. I laugh at jokes sometimes, if they are funny enough. I get angry at inefficiency and sometimes I am furious with people with no reason. When I love someone, I love her/him with all my heart. I sense a lot of things. I am willing to tread difficult paths in order to do something which excites me.

Am I happy when I do all these? Well, I am not unhappy either.

So, why do people write about being in a state of eternal happiness all the time? To remain sugar coated happy always is not we are supposed to be. We can't understand the importance of bad times that way. Without going through the mixed emotions of passion, jealousy, displeasure, we would not be able to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of something called happiness.

We are human; why can't we happily embrace the bulges and pits of life with grace? After all, happiness and joy should not be a destination; rather a milestone which, we can encounter periodically on our way. Utmost happiness, I guess, lies in that only, and not to showcase fake happiness all the time.

And ,well, Ms. Winfrey, thank you for enriching me with your writing. I am more grateful. I am more curious. And, I nurture myself more now.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Jaipur, the cultural melange...

“I have meetings to conduct. We cannot plan a trip.”
Me: “Come on Arun, It’s our wedding anniversary. A day or two, what do you reckon?”

Next day, standing in the balcony of a hotel, right in the heart of the city, overwhelmed by pink hued huge architecture of Jaipur, we thought that it is good that we did not compromise on our overnight sojourn experience. We could have, else, missed out the warm and exuberant smile of rosy turbaned coolies at the station!

Grandeur is the city, and so is the hospitality. We breakfasted in Rajdhani and they were impeccable in their hospitality. Warmth exudes from the moment we entered the eatery. Ola cabs came to our rescue, we didn't spend much time bargaining on the cab rates. On a suggestion of a local resident, we started with a visit to Albert Museum, only to realise that the museum might only excite an amateur archeologist. It was majestic, however, we could only partly engage ourselves with the monument. Next, we stopped at Jantar Mantar, the same as one found in the Capital. Apparently, there are five Jantar Mantar monuments in India, of which the largest is in Jaipur.

We were exhausted, still, ever heard of a woman who is not balmed by a retail therapy? Jaipur’s shopping centre “Chaura bazaar” stood wide open inviting everyone with melange of colours. Famous for its Bandini work dupattas and trinkets, you would be cruel if you will not carry back souvenirs back from the market.                          

It was the day two, which turned out to be a real winner. The cab dropped us at the Amber Fort, beaming  with pride for having being featured in the Bollywood saga Jodha Akbar, amongst many others. The fort is majestic, that would be a understatement. There is much more to the fort what meets the eye, what with untold old stories engaged in the walls of the building. What was however, intriguing and heart breaking is the culture confined only within the walls. We saw an old lonesome flute like instrument player, resting against the wall, thriving on the coins often given by the visitors as a token of appreciation.

I realised that we have lost 98% of indigenous music traditions – who cares?, other than few talent shows in which only few manage to exhibit their talent. But back home, I did my part to connect with the forgotten music. When we talk about music closer home, Coke Studio is one of the first things that comes to mind.

I downloaded the app coke studio from play store. With the programme thriving on the indigenous   voices, it brought me closer to the unsung heroes. Give it a try if you haven't, having the ease of such music at the click of a finger gives goosebumps.

We were home the next day, only after making a fleeting visit to Hawa Mahal. Sigh! The infrastructure, will take your breath away which you will catch back soon with no dearth of air around coming from windows.  It boasts of having  a total of 953 windows uniquely carved in the Rajasthani pattern and designs!

Well, aftermath of the visit, my bed had no space to rest.
Room was filled with colourful souvenirs leaving no space :), reminding me of famous lines by 
Khalil Gibran,

“ Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours;
Let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.”