CYCLONE – FANI

from a place
of depression
her fury grew
colliding with the cold sea

a battle she was destined
to win ~

the conflict intensified
and she threw
a fit of rage
with her naked hands
unleashing her wrath
in a swirling mass
from her skin ~

she made landfall
on every flower
and dreams
stripping them
from their colours
into grey ~

hours and hours
of her rage
shattered their skies

the sun hung high
looking for a course

and they swaddled
themselves in the dust
she left behind ~

their weary heads wake
amidst the aftermath
of the grey skies
they held on to

eyes drowning
the ones
that were lost

as they install
new fences
knowing that
it’s just a matter
of time
for her to be back
in another name
but same form

they just wished
to have perished
in her embrace
than to build
a life again
from the leftover
dust ~

Cyclone FANI #REDALERT #CycloneFani Live Satellite View
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‘WORDS’ THE BEAUTIFUL INKBLOTS

there is a lilt
in our words
when blue moons
meet dark skies
serenaded by silent
dreams ~

conjuring words
isn’t easy
cause feelings are
hard

the ones that float
in salt water
longing for the
softness of pink lips
in a warm night

oh! did I say hard
nope, feelings are honest
only if
we don’t have to talk
about them ~

perhaps
pain is a
cracked perception

but words find it
thrash it
enslave it

and poetry
seeps out of cracks
where we hide
in plain sight

pretending
no one can find us
scraping out
the pain

as we make
feeble attempts
to glue back
our torn skin
into beautiful words ~

perhaps
words were never
meant to be called
beautiful

and blindness
is not an option
when you crawl
through the
contoured verses ~

perhaps
our hearts hold
magic
but the fear of
logic
burns it

I think
‘never’ is kinder
than ‘perhaps’

but ‘perhaps’ has options
just like poetry

it cuts too deep
too easy

also pulls us out
let us empathize,
verb words
and changes us
into patterns
of free flows
straining out the pain ~

ultimately
all we are left with
is words

‘beautiful inkblots’
in a different
shade
of darkness ~

TAME YOUR TONGUE

Give thy thoughts no tongue” – William Shakespeare

It is said that half of a person’s beauty comes from their tongue. An amazing truth about the tongue is, it takes years to learn how to use it but a lifetime to learn when and where to use it.

Here’s a free verse poem on the tongue:

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moist and pink
it’s a small soft flesh
without a bone,
but sturdy enough
to twist the words and turn

smitten by the briney
winds of the sea
it licks the lips with haste,
savours the flavour
beackon for more
it lives mostly for taste

but don’t be fooled
with its smooth texture
if you haven’t seen
what it can do,
it’s as mighty and evil
as one can get
tongue is a powerful tool

it speaks your mind
also your heart
sometimes chatter idly
bringing on mischief,
or time the words
to persuade a crowd
and if it slips
can ruin the world

nerves make it dry
otherwise drools amply
it’s an organ of flair
Connoisseur in matters of taste;
it bends and curls
in raspberry twirl
when it devours another lips
always willing to assist
in matters of the heart

hold it, bite it
if you’re feeling too sharp
tie it with words
it’ll mock your heart
maybe it’s forked
making you lie
put it in your cheek
it’ll play the part

don’t let it go astray
tame it with care
teach it the language
of fairness and quiet
it’ll know what to speak
when and where.

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I NEED TO BE SEEN!

It’s amazing how we are all on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram nowadays. By “we” I mean adults. We’re adults, right? But emotionally we’re a culture of seven-year-olds. Have you ever had that moment when you are updating your status and you realize that every status update is just a variation on a single request: “Would someone just please acknowledge me?

We seem to want or need recognition that bad. My nine-year-old niece wants to walk the ramp and be a fashion diva. She would say “I want everyone to see me.” That’s exactly how we all want to be seen and recognized. What is it, in us that seeks to be “seen” or “recognized this way?

Usually the recognition we seek is from other people and usually, we don’t get it. Instead, we end up with feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, emptiness, and disappointment at not getting it. And then we work even harder at things still hoping for recognition, get rid of those people and try the same thing with a different group. It’s a trap of infinite loops.

We all have the potential to be seen or valued.

So, how do we fall into this trap of seeking recognition? Now let’s be clear that recognition is good and truth be told we all have the potential to be valued and recognized. It’s your essential essence and it’s valued and feels valued when you and others pay attention to appreciate and respect it.

But ironically it’s only when others pay attention we feel recognized. At that moment you feel seen and you experience your own value as a feeling.

The negative voices in your head calm down, you feel good and accept yourself.

We all have the potential of being something that matters to us and sometimes to others, the part of us that signifies truth and integrity. It’s not just a belief system or the construction of ideas of self-esteem, it’s the truth. Self-worth is a conceptual image that our mind builds up based on our essential value. Our integrity or our truth has always been there, simply because we are living beings.

When we hold an infant, we instinctively recognize the true value of human life, one which is often blinded by our false beliefs, prejudices and critical judgments of others. If we try we can see this precious nature of life in anyone or everyone.

Why do we stop being seen or valued?

As a child we get lots of praise, support and recognition for anything as small as playing with a ball, or walking or even laughing or eating, assuming we have decent, attentive parents. As we grow older, such support and recognition for small efforts decrease or sometimes becomes null depending upon how our relationships with the world shape up.

We are expected to behave, perform and yield results in a specific manner. We are constantly evaluated in school, college, work, relationships and are expected to give measured output. Even when we are able to give the desired result, the focus most of the time shifts to improvement and not to celebrate our achievements.

By the time you are an adult, you are conditioned to seeking recognition not your own value through boxed opinions and beliefs. With only so much opportunities and so much pressure to perform, we often do not recognize our own integrity and are often influenced by the opinions of others about us. Like a seven-year-old, we try to be ‘seen’, seek approval based on adopted opinions often starving ourselves of our real values.

We learn to mask our values from others.

One of the early false belief we adapt to while we are trying to be in touch with our true value is that we are most likely being shamed or scolded if we voiced out values in front of others. It might be called tooting our own horn, bragging, or put ourselves above others. “who do you think you are?” “Nobody likes a bragger” are the comments that hit us emotionally with guilt and shame.

But truth be told, this is where we learn to adapt to the opinions of others about ourselves, and quickly learn not to talk about ourselves positively, boast, or do any extroverted things to get praise or recognition. Instead, we are more likely to work hard, keep quiet, and hope others notice, and comment.

This programmed false belief is what we try to be in front of others. Somewhere we might be in touch with our core values or authentic self but we refrain ourselves from presenting it for fear of criticism and none acceptance.

It can be difficult to learn good self-acceptance practices in childhood because of this.

We repress our desire to be seen or valued.

As we grow older we don’t need others to repress our actions or the need for recognition, rather learn the pattern of criticism and shaming and are seasoned to do repress it ourselves. Priya put in a lot of effort into getting a literary fest together. Known and famous literary peoples from all over India showed up, interacting with each other and the event got started. As Priya was finishing up the last moment preparations, she felt the impulse to bring attention to the work she had done. A voice in her mind wanted to hint to others with a comment like, “I put a lot of work into getting this to work out for everyone’s benefit.” Her mind searched for a way to make it less obvious.

Priya had enough awareness to observe these thoughts of seeking recognition. As she saw them, another part of her mind judged and condemned her for it, “You are being such a pathetic needy person,” “What are you a narcists, needing all the attention on you?” “Grow up girl. You agreed to do this conference on your own. You don’t need praise from these people.”

This internal rebuttal, that part of Priya that wanted to be valued, was declared a needy, pathetic, narcissists, and shunned. The, “who do you think you are”, the response she learned from others, was repeated in her belief system to herself, just as she had learned to do years earlier from others.

I remember being in a training program for employees in my previous workplace and we were asked to introduce ourselves and include something that we were proud of. It was different for each person. Someone was volunteering for an NGO saving stray animals, someone was had run a marathon for cancer cause, someone had served in the army before and someone even said that he was proud of fulfilling his responsibilities as a son and husband. It was a way to say to others this is something that I do that is worthwhile and valuable to me. For a moment it was okay to acknowledge that we value ourselves and have others join in with appreciation and respect. Everyone felt good in the group. Partly because it wasn’t just one person doing it. Everyone was allowed and encouraged.

Let’s see ourselves first before being seen.

This was probably the best exercise to value oneself and also feel recognized by others at the same time. We don’t do this well in our society. Our culture is more inclined to criticize than to appreciate. The point here is the should not suppress the need to be feel valued by ourselves. We miss the mark completely and aim at getting recognized by others. This is probably a way to ask for recognition or to be valued in our society that isn’t lame and pathetic, but it isn’t obvious and can easily be misunderstood. Our culture isn’t big on it. We suppress that need for feeling our value with a condemning judgment. Instead of valuing ourselves, we shame and guilt ourselves for being egotistical, weak, or needy.

We have to understand that there is a very thin line between seeking approval and self-recognition. We have to know that self-acceptance and bragging are not the same things, and it is nuanced to do one and not the other.

Let’s acknowledge and accept who we are before even demanding/expecting to be recognized by others. Self-recognition is self-love. Let’s learn to love ourselves.

IS MY “MOTHER TONGUE” MY NATIVE LANGUAGE?

My best friend Meera is from Odisha and speaks Odia, English, and Hindi fluently. Her husband, Atul is from Maharashtra and I’ve always seen both of them conversing in Hindi. Their daughter Tia who is just 5 yrs old, understands Hindi, Odia, and Marathi though she is more fluent in Hindi. Of course, Meera always specifies that Tia’s native language is both Odia and Marathi and Hindi is her mother tongue.

In countries like India, such instances are very common nowadays and perhaps the reason why mother tongue and native language are not synonymous anymore.

A first language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1), is a language that a person has been exposed to from birth.

The concept of having a mother tongue and the corresponding tendency to equate it to a native or regional language is a very Indian practice. The regional languages of India are the languages that are often spoken at home and are the ‘mother tongue’ or first language of that specific community.

Unfortunately, the schools want to stress that the first language at school is English, which leads to confusion and the handy substitute is ‘Indian Regional Language’ in official documents and ‘Mother Tongue’ in colloquial use.

Outside India, anybody would understand you speak a native/regional language, most will be confused about you having a ‘mother tongue’, as most of the countries use an official language native to the country.

In some countries, the term native language or mother tongue refers to the language of one’s ethnic group rather than one’s first language. Children brought up speaking more than one language can have more than one native language, and be bilingual or multilingual. By contrast, a second language is any language that one speaks other than one’s first language.

The first language or native language of a child is part of the personal, social and cultural identity. It also brings about the reflection and learning of successful social patterns of linguistic competence of acting and speaking.

A person is bilingual by being equally proficient in both languages. A person who grows up speaking English and begins learning Hindi for four years is not necessarily bilingual unless they speak the two languages with equal fluency. Balanced bilinguals perform significantly better in tasks that require flexibility (they constantly shift between the two known languages depending on the situation/requires constant juggling), more aware of arbitrary nature of language and also that balanced bilinguals choose word associations based on logical rather than phonetic preferences.

One can have two or more native languages, thus being a native bilingual or indeed multilingual. India, Indonesia, Philippines, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa are examples where most people speak more than one language.

The designation “native language,” in its general usage, is thought to be imprecise and subject to various interpretations that are biased linguistically, especially with respect to bilingual children from ethnic minority groups. The definitions of ‘native language’ vary based on common usage, the emotional relation of the speaker towards the language, and even its dominance in relation to the environment. However, all of three criteria lack precision. For many children whose home language differs from the language of the environment (the ‘official’ language), it is debatable which language is one’s ‘native language’.

Now since we have established that native language can always differ from mother tongue, I’d like to shift the focus to the common misconception that mother tongue is essential to preserve cultural heritage. Like in my friend’s case, Meera follows all rituals of Raja and Kumar Purnami festivals and teaches their importance to Tia and also performs Ganesh Chaturthi festival the Maharashtrian way with great enthusiasm. I believe Tia is culturally much stronger than any one of us here. She understands the cultural diversity and yet through her, the compassion of her parent’s heritage is also preserved. I’m sure Tia’s generation would have a much better and global understanding of cultures and how ultimately everything comes together as we being humans. As far as Tia’s native languages are concerned, if she is ever interested she could learn and enhance her skills on those languages.

I myself can read, write and speak Odia, English, Hindi quite well. I can understand Bangla and I’m learning Urdu. But the language I’m more at ease and proficient is in English. My native language/mother tongue is Odia, which I learned from birth. I adapted to English much later in life. Yes, that’s exactly the word I was looking for, Adaptation. I used to and still read lots and lots of literature in English and somewhere down the line, I started conversing with myself in English too. That’s how I adapted.

Over the past few years, there have been significant cultural changes within our society. Education has gained importance and has become a priority. The socioeconomic changes have caused people to move out and seek employment outstation and overseas and people preferring to settle down there just for mere convenience. During my 4 years stay in the USA surprisingly I found the Odia families and their children are more closer to their culture. Of course, learning our native language is very important, but a more progressive attitude of adaptation would definitely help preserve the “mother tongue” and also the native culture.

FALL IN LOVE 💘

💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝

There are those who fall
and then those who crumble in love;
Those who want it but never feel
Those who felt it but never said
Those who said but walked away
Those who left but chose to return
Those who stayed but couldn’t last
Those who stood by but couldn’t let go
Those who chose to let go and got so hurt
Those who chose to hurt but stuck to strive
Those who fought for it but did not survive
Those who learnt to endure in all the squabbles
Those who spewed words but ended with a kiss
Those who never spoke but lived together
Those who gelled together but didn’t get each other
Those who merged but were not blessed enough
And then there were those
who were blessed and lived happily ever after.

It matters not
This love or that love
His love or her love
Gelled in love or broken in love
Rise in love or fall in love
It began for reasons unknown
and ends with fate uncertain.

Love is bliss
blessed are those
who’ve known love.

💞💞💞💞💞💞💞💞💞💞💞💞

IS PATIENCE A LOST VIRTUE?

The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter. – Paulo Coelho

If you’re too impatient, you might make quick decisions resulting in huge consequences. If you’re too patient, you might pursue the wrong options for too long, wasting a big chunk of your time. The question is, where can you find the right balance in this fast-paced life?

Both patience and impatience have their flaws, but our society seems to push to hustle while telling us to hold on.

Do you remember the hunter-gatherers few thousand years ago? when they couldn’t find food, it was time to consider alternatives and change strategies; to survive. With time people learnt to settle down, they learnt the value of patience when they harvested crops, travelled far to trade each time coming back home, rewarded with festivities and family time.

Time has changed again. Twenty years ago, companies had five-year plans. Nowadays, life is a bit more complicated; a company with a five-year plan would be a joke; delivering an obsolete product to the market. Entrepreneurs today must pay more attention to the brewing changes, and be willing to revamp more frequently. They must be impatient to get the results or miss out on opportunities. And faster technology changes, the less patience will pay.

What is obvious is that we have many more opportunities to be impatient today. Technology, social lives, personal schedules and work often collide. Many of these collisions bring about unexpected costs. And unexpected costs lead to impatience.

We have video games, smartphones, social media, ebooks, online movies virtual and live sports for our leisure time. And there is always something better to do in the midst of an unexpected hold-up.

We don’t have to leave the house for entertainment. Technology has made us lazy. We don’t even have to find directions. We have an automated voice instructing our twists and turns. Even running an errand is not required anymore. Everything can reach our doorstep at the click of a button.

Where are we actually leading in terms of advancement? We are succumbing to laziness fueled by capitalism. We have more time for ourselves than ever, but we are not sure of our choices, owing to innumerable options. And too many options leads to impatience.

And then there is the hankering need for gratification. We tend to choose the options in our life with immediate results rather than wait for eventual better results. We want to remain healthy, but we order rich and heavy dessert to quench our emotional or behavioural needs. Our logical side comprehends the consequences but still yields to visible outcomes.

Let’s explore the emotional side too. The pixelated canvas has become a veil to hide actual feelings and portray the other self which one wants to show to the world. We don’t need to work on relationships and feelings. We have emojis or else we just block and move on. There’s no patience whatsoever lurking anywhere in these social taboo.
We don’t need to spend time making decisions or follow a routine. Everything is always available, 24/7.

Patience is not always a virtue. We should consider if there are ways to speed things up, or if there are better uses of our time, attention, and energy. Today’s world revolves in high pressure. Impatience definitely yield opportunities, rewards and capital. But at the same time, it is accompanied by increasing stress level, increased morbidity and reduced age of mortality.

The balance is about not getting flustered when making decisions, but not taking so much time that the competition and opportunities pass you by. There’s a very thin line in between being impatient and taking opportunities. Patience is not always the best today but let’s find the balance between the options available to us and let’s make it a point to conserve this virtue in us. It’s definitely not lost, it’s just being layered with technology and stuff. It lays inside us, we just need to find it.