Definition Of Love

7 11 2008

I know it might sound a little strange, yet am compelled by this innate curiosity to understand what people define as love. Our lives run like a poetry of love, for its in love that we grow, evolve and rise up to our potential of what we are and what can we be. My definition and understanding of love has changed over years, and though how much ever I love to give an expression to that emotion, silence always beats me by a great margin.

What do we promise when we say ‘I Love You’? Are we creating an obligation for others to live up to or a promise for me to honor? Or it simply a heartfelt expression of intense emotion? Am left oft confused. All those happily in love, indifferent from its charms and those engaged in pursuit, do pitch in for I would love to hear what you want to say in this.

Now don’t wonder about the context of this question. I am just a plain Jane who having lived through a quarter century, is desparately trying to get her basics right. Probably, all I want deep down in my heart, is to be loved just a little more.





Caught In the Swirl Of Stardust!

24 06 2008

I never thought I would actually dedicate a thought to this movie ‘Saawariya’, on which I am still undecided on my reaction. I don’t think I would ever be able to take a stand on whether I loved the movie or hated it. That’s because I shared both these feelings in equal measure. Saawariya is a beautiful vision without imagination, a splendid fare of visual poetry without gravity, a charming seductress without soul and is filled with delusional love that is evoked by the lackluster admixture of scintillating idealistic dreamworld with the brazen harshness of reality. Yet, what remains with me at the end of the movie are those poignant and oddly affecting richly detailed visuals. Hence this post is filled with them.

When I look back, what often resonates with real life for me is the storyline though. Set in a dreamland (does any of those settings look anywhere near reality? ), the movie paints in richer intricacy, the pining of Sakina for the mystery love of her life Imaan, ignoring the starry eyed devotion she receives from Raj aka Saawariya. Sakina is cloyingly sweet, achingly hollow and an innocent manipulator who plays with the tender feelings of the eternally optimistic Raj while allowing him to cling to the delusion of her love. I couldn’t credit her with one identity for she plays the hopeless romantic perfectly pining for her illusionary love at first sight, whilst transforming herself as a coy temptress in the presence of Raj bewitching him with her innocent yearning for the love unattained.

Fused identities, conflicting ideologies, stark contrasts between the imagined universe and the dark reality, and the never ending fight between idealistic yearning and realistic possibilities: these are the Saawariya movie’s recurrent themes. Yet, though this movie feels like a piece out of a dream sequence, some of those characters feel so darkly real. Engulfed in perplexity, I notice so many Sakinas’ in reality much to my discomfort. People bartering dreams for materialistic pleasures are one extreme, whilst those trading realistic positive encounters of finding selfless love for the lure of illusionary and obsessive yearnings is another extreme.

Sometimes when I chat with my peers, I can often imagine them trapped in their own multi dimentional wonderland awaiting for their Perfect Soulmates. Princesses and Damsels in distress living in fairytale world, yearning for their Prince Charming to ride to their rescue and sweep them off their feet, often failing to acknowledge that life is happening around them. Sometimes its so difficult to identify which group they belong to: people who are in love or people who are in love with the idea of being in love. Sometimes the bubble of illusion, that they comfortably ensconce themselves in, wouldn’t equip them for the real life experiences.

Whenever we swap ideas on the things that are meaningful to us in life, we realize that we are goaded either by instinct or intellect. Life is all about tough choices and we all choose based on our own value systems. I just hope that the fairy tale romantic notions doesn’t spoil people at their chances of serendipity. The lure of nihilism is a dark temptation that envelops us if we dwell in dreams and forget to live. The wait may be on, yet, lets not forget that no one is perfect: me, you, and all those prince charmings and the knights in shimmering armour are armed with our own limitations and idiosyncrasies. We might as well be better of rescuing ourselves from those clout of dreams and the deep schism that the intersection of these virtual and real worlds present.

I can only seal this piece of muse by quoting from my favorite song from Pardon Dolly:

““Watching the girl I’m reminded
she’s quite a lot like me
Trapped in the suburbs of wonderland,
lost in her own fantasy
Somehow my heart never grew up,
no one ever burst my balloon
So here I am swirling in star dust
slow dancing with the moon”





Love Hath Neither Limit Nor Reason…

17 06 2008

For love lies in that irrational tear that swells in your eye in those moments of goodbye even when mind acknowledges that she is never far in those lingering thoughts, or gentle phone calls. That’s the feeling that lingers in mind after some great moments of companionship with my little sis in Bangalore. And thats the reason for these ten days of hiatus from virtual world too, for being with her rarely leaves me with brooding moments. Now that she has left to home town, and I have to grapple with this aching hollow in my heart, I can’t help but muse on those mundane days that I spent with her which are turned into wonderful moments by her sheer presence. She is my partner in crime in those silly adventures, a perfect companion in silence when the mood calls for soothing numbness, a quiet bolster in raw moments of pain, a dearest pal and confidante for sharing those secrets and introspections, and the best gift that God has offered me in life.

As I have seen her grow from that little bundle of joy in my arms to a smart and mature lady, I can only cherish all those tender moments of the fierce relationship that we share. Probably the beauty of this lies in that tacit acceptance of one as oneself in each other’s company, or that sheer intensity of that love and affection that springs from an eternal bond that unites us in rain and shine, or that quiet companionship and gentle bliss that envelops one in that secured cloak of love, and respect. I may not figure in those lists of greatest sisters of the world, for my sins are many, right from being absent in those moments when she wished my presence to missing her birthday due to a hailstorm of work, yet if there is one thing that I have to site as one perfect truth of my life, it’s that she is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life. Whatever heights she may conquer, she would still remain that little sweet kiddo who creates that warm glow at heart with her cheerful presence.

********************************************

Somehow, whenever I think of her, CR’s this post plays in mind. After hunting this poem umpteen times in her blog, I am posting it here to cherish it a little more.

You’re older now
And no more the kid that I call you,
In many ways, more mature than I could ever be
Perhaps it’s the way of life
That an elder sibling be so lost and awestruck
With the hustle and bustle around
That she needs that smarter kid
Tugging her along and protecting her
From the surprises on the road ahead.

I smile when people point you out to me
And admit that they thought you were older
For the simple reason, you have always seemed so dignified and in control,
Little did they see the little hellion and scamp
That I saw while growing up,
The little one always so in scrapes
And yet, one who would rush to my rescue

Trying to pry me away from books to introduce me to the world,
I know that now you too belong among us bibliophiles,
And as I have changed you,
You have changed my nature,
Taught me independence and confidence when the stakes are down
That little strut that adds to the image
Keeping my head high even when the dice is rolling

You have taught me to love and forgive
And perhaps, most important of all,
You have taught me humility,
For one year is all that parts us,
And yet, you are so much the wiser
That I still have so much to learn

But now, more than ever
I want to weave a cocoon around you
And hold you close and keep you safe,
But that would only hamper your flight
And I know I must step back
And watch and learn as you take your steps
And leave your mark on all around,
I love you, kiddo
And have a safe flight this year!!!





The Kite Runner…

28 04 2008

“Now there is a way to be good again…

For you, a thousand times over.. “

And so those words sang in my head when I spent my time with Amir, Hassan, Baba and Sohrab. It been some time after ‘Gone With The Wind’ since a book has deeply stirred my emotions and swirled tears in my eyes.

‘The Kite Runner’ is in a way, a celebration of human spirit and life in all its totality. Filled with human vices and touching emotions like love, sacrifice, selfishness, envy, rivalry, guilt, loyalty, betrayal, cowardice, love-hate relationships, lies and redemption, this little work of fiction feels so much human in its element that it strikes a chord and leaves lasting impressions.

This book is about two brothers Amir and Hassan, who share a unbreakable binding vine of kinship and love despite their ethnic, social and religious differences, being reared by a father who loved them differently. Though the story is narrated by Amir in first person, its that idealistic sacrificial and loyal love that Hassan showers over Amir that tenderly tugged my heart. While wadding through Amir’s guilt and his escapist choices, somehow my bitterness and hatred towards Amir effaced into thin air towards the end of book, as he tries to live up to Hassan’s love and atones for his sins. I was enraged at Amir for his betrayal of Hassan, yet I couldn’t stop myself from forgiving him when he redeems himself from his fallacies by running for Sohrab’s kite. Made me wonder, if deeply moving love can make one raise up to its worth. Is that cosmic justice, or is it the flow of life? Aptly titled, this inherently beautiful tome left me aching for more and I am sure I would treasure this forever in my private collection.

Here are some Phrases/Quotes from the book that I enjoyed…

““… I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering it things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

“She said, ‘I’m so afraid.’ And I said, ‘why?,’ and she said, ‘Because I’m so profoundly happy, Dr. Rasul. Happiness like this is frightening.’ I asked her why and she said, ‘They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you,’ and I said, ‘Hush up, now. Enough of this silliness.'”

“Because when spring comes it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting”

“”He knew I’d betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe for the last time. I loved him in that moment, loved him more than I’d ever loved anyone…”

“”I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba. Was it a fair price? The answer floated to my conscious mind before I could thwart: He was just a Hazara, wasn’t he?”

There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. ”

“I thought about Hassan’s dream, the one about us swimming in the lake. There is no monster, he’d said, just water. Except he’d been wrong about that. There was a monster in the lake. It had grabbed Hassan by the ankles, dragged him to the murky bottom. I was that monster.”

“A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”

“I throw my makeshift jai-namaz, my prayer rug, on the floor and I get on my knees, lower my forehead to the ground, my tears soaking through the sheet. I bow to the west. Then I remember I haven’t prayed for over fifteen years. I have long forgotten the words. But it doesn’t matter, I will utter those few words I still remember: La illaha il Allah, Muhammad u rasul ullah. There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger. I see now that Baba was wrong, there is a God, there always had been. I see Him here, in the eyes of the people in this corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him, not the white masjid with its bright diamond lights and towering minarets. There is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need, I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is. I bow to the west and kiss the ground and promise that I will do zakat, I will do namaz, I will fast during Ramadan and when Ramadan has passed I will go on fasting, I will commit to memory every last word of His holy book, and I will set on a pilgrimage to that sweltering city in the desert and bow before the Ka’bah too. I will do all of this and I will think of Him every day from this day on if He only grants me this one wish: My hands are stained with Hassan’s blood; I pray God doesn’t let them get stained with the blood of his boy too.”





A Testimonial Of Love…

26 04 2008

Sometimes I wonder that’s what love in life is. Love and its longing weaves a lilting yearning in my life that I seldom pause to wonder at the magic of love that I subconsciously indulge in. Love that’s giving, love that can make a prophet, martyr or a seer out of a self centered person. Yet, at times I cant help but ponder if love is selfish. When those really close loved ones ask for a testimonial of love. I feel like saying that love is not a piece of cake where each may lay their claim. Yet, its that obligation of relationship that makes me play along. Especially when I really believe in the strength of their affection. Something in that mental makeup of mine votes for that obligation that springs from love over privatism(or the joy that results from celebtrating my individuality). May be, its true. We all change for the ones we love. 

True to my stars, I can seldom differentiate between love and friendship, as I think one feeds on another. Sometimes, I tilt much towards the latter, as it taught me how to give without expectations and about being there in times of need. Yet, if I have to sum life in a few words, its always family, friends and a chance of self-expression.





A Take On Beauty..

10 03 2008

This post is dedicated to Anita Roddick for she led my personal favorite campaign on Self Esteem called ‘The Ruby Campaign’. Ruby was a realistically and generously proportioned doll that tried to mock the all so perfect Barbie which hammered the young girl generation in to getting into that perfect shape at any cost and there by falling prey to eating disorders, bulimia etc. Being a part of the very cosmetics industry, Anita champions an ethical revolution by quoting, “It makes me angry, not only because it is a male-dominated industry built on creating needs that don’t exist, but because it seems to have decided that it needs to make women unhappy about their appearances. It plays on self-doubt and insecurity about image and ageing by projecting impossible ideals of youth and beauty.” Though am a self confessed prude, I cant resist posting the Ruby posters over here for the benefit of folks who are discovering Ruby right now.

Some facts that the Ruby Campaign highlights is

“# There are 3 billion women who don’t look like super models and only eight who do.
# Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14.
# If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.
# The average woman weighs 144 lbs and wears between a 12-14.
# Scaled to life size, a Barbie doll would be 7’2″. She would have a 40″ bust, a 22″ waist and 36″ hips.
# One out of every four college-aged women has an eating disorder.
# A psychological study in 1995 found that three minutes spent looking at a fashion magazine caused 70 percent of women to feel depressed, guilty, and shameful.”

Ruby kind of explores in a deep way the notions of beauty, desirability and the society induced guilt which propagate unwholesome psychological needs of beauty. And now men are not left either in that pursuit of unreasonable Adonis. With all media going gaga about the chiseled muscle men, many of the guys are pumping their Testosterone in those high intensity workouts for that perfect V shape. Yesterday, in one of those engaging discussions with my pal, I had my first brush with this guilt in a guy. Though it gives a grim satisfaction if I consider those issues of equality in dark humor, I couldn’t digest my friends going through this phenomenon without an awareness of the baggage that they carry. If we are chiseling ourselves for being good enough and attractive to that illusionary partners, we are piling our subconscious under a mountain of guilt and inferiority complex. And tell me this. How can I expect to be loved for what I can be, if I don’t love myself for what I am? For love with oneself is expressed in the way we relate to humanity. Unless I am comfortable with myself and accept myself for what I am, I can never accept the other person for what he or she is. I would burden him or her with unreasonable expectations and may build pressure on them to live up to my love, almost expecting them to pay a price for a chance at a relationship with me.

Guess, I need to clarify here, as I have indeed suggested diet plans for a couple of my friends while advising them to keep their weight in check. I did so, as I experimented with myself with various diets and I indeed believe that holistic life includes being right sized for flexibility, health and activity. I do believe that a well balanced holistic lifestyle attuned to nature wouldn’t store excess fat or flab on body. Yet, we are the way we are based on the trade offs and the choices we made. I am comfortable with what I am and I won’t let some external entity alter my views on beauty, femininity or the acceptability or desirability of myself. To put it simply, I use or try things based on my interest or curiosity and not because ‘I am worth it’.

If I look at the entire process and concept of beautification, I feel that its an attempt by all of us to be loved and accepted a little more. Isn’t it? Yet, my appeal for all is to do it for oneself and internalize that idea of beauty that you have after keen reflection. I hate to see anyone being plagued by a concept called alienation: of being a part of the world you don’t want to be in and working for a goal that you can’t own in heart for societal or for ‘the significant other’s’ sake. We all try to change for those we love, yet do keep this in mind. Those who reciprocate wouldn’t care whether we are good enough and those who don’t doesn’t matter. Falling in love with oneself, and wearing that narcissistic hat once in a while is a great way to catch that conceptual perfect unicorn for yourself. Cherish all that is you, coz you are unique in our own special way just like everyone else is and noone can take that from you.

Here’s my favorite Darren Hayes’s “Good Enough” song for you all. I loved this song both for its lyrics and the music. 🙂

“If I woke up late
Couldn’t get out of bed
If I bought you a cafe latte instead
If I lied when I said
32 inches was the size of my waist
And can I admit
Every once in a while
Even though I dig alternative style
Occasionally
I can be caught dancin’ to Brittany
And can I confess
That art house doesn’t turn me on
But I like every single thing that Speilberg’s done

Could I be good enough
Could I be good enough
If the going got worse
And the worse got rough
The days became endless
And harder than tough
I’d be good enough
Better than best
Would be simply to be good enough
If everything I give
Doesn’t seem like a lot
If it’s all that I got
Baby tell that could be good enough “





Summing Up The First Quarter..

8 03 2008

Recently I turned 25. Its kind of tough to think through the passing moments, really. Especially when you consider the first quarter of life as a milestone that passed by, acceding to no will of yours. Much of the complexities of being a twenty something is already addressed by some blessed soul over here. I identify with most of it. Yet, life is more than just a summation of miseries, woes, troubles and confusion and I don’t choose to cast a negative cloud on what has been an enriching journey. There is a lot of sunshine, some perfect moments, a few relationships of lifetime, reflections, solitude, lessons earned, studies unlearned, and some cherished people who filled my life with fond memories. Through the walk of life, I discovered joy in music, books, writing, woods, friends, family, mentors and myself which filled my life with love, laughter and a sense of celebration.

My experiments with life have evolved with the different phases that I whizzed by trading my innocence with apathy. Now, am wondering as to how to name those stages? Should I call them Childhood, Adolescence, and My Struggle to Grow Up or should I adhere to the society standards and treat them as Education, and Settlement? 🙂 When I got all I wanted or asked for, there was a sheer joy of achievement and when I didn’t, there was a huge lesson hidden in the reflection of that experience. It wasn’t all roses, yet while looking back, I realize that those little setbacks and failures taught me more than those larger than life kind of victories (they seemed that way when I was there 🙂 ).

Now let me confess this, I had a fabulous set of memories of growing up. My first 25 years that rolled by left me no regrets! Life is indeed beautiful. Call me Ulpasantoshi or easy to please, yet that is the big truth of my life. Words fall flat if I have to express my gratitude to my loving family which shaped me and been a pillar of strength, fabulous mentors who watched over when I faltered, friends offering companionship and acceptance in need and deed, and a lot of strangers and acquaintances who knowingly or unknowingly etched their footprints through innocent interactions. It is indeed people and nature, and the relationships I created with them which made me what I am.

Every day that I wake up in presents me with new challenges or opportunities,of which I passed up some, while exploring some. There is some realization and an immense depth of learning along the way, which I plan to record here for my sake so that when I look back after another 25 years, I can muse on what changed and what stayed on. I know it sounds rather ambitious, but I plan to stay around savoring life for another 3 quarters at the least. 😉

I have learned to appreciate elders, value experience, cherish people, share a smile, care with empathy, love without expecting reciprocation, cheer for the fellow men, endorse goodness whenever I can, enjoy my company in those moments of solitude, face uncertainty, live in the moment and to accept myself for what I am. And am practicing with myself to incorporate them in every pace of life. There are some things that I am trying hard to give up. Like wondering about cosmic questions like the purpose of life, playing the Nostradamus, Ignoring the present in an attempt to design future, postponing happiness, procrastination, transactional relationships, materialistic pursuits and being a rat in the race. That’s a constant battle that I wage on a daily basis with the inner demons, to get that right equation for holistic life.

This first quarter is all about developing roots, as I can feel that a lot of my convictions have only become stronger with age. Glad to trade my innocence for those wonderful moments, memories and experiences that altered me in minute ways, I see a long road ahead to work with myself in translating values to action, moments to memories, and dreams to reality.

To sum it up, let me borrow from Robert Frost.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”