WHO IS THE WISE ONE?

No soul is happy with what they
have or with what they are served,
greed and ego minaciously make this
bag of bones worthless and undeserved.

No soul is tranquil with the love they have
or with the care they spread,
lust and loathe meticulously craft their
filthy claws in their heads.

No soul is apologetic enough to
accept their faults or to show concerns,
false pride and arrogance tenaciously
covers their eyes with thick curtains.

No soul is bold enough to hold the truth
or to stand up for what they believe in,
society and culture ingloriously tie their
tongue and turn a blind eye for every sin.

What will it take to be happy, tranquil and peacefully in love?
What will it take to accept the unadulterated truth?
What will it take to be brave and not bother about the manipulative minacious lies of the society?

The answers to all these lie hidden deep within those souls,
Yet, only a man of understanding draws them out
Of the thoughts of a person’s heart
Which are like deep waters.

THE MESSAGE FROM BRAIN CRAMP!

Have you ever gone to the kitchen but forgotten why have you gone there?
Have you ever broken the egg, spilt it in the wash basin and the eggshell in the frying pan?
You caught the bus for office but got down elsewhere!
In your conversation with your friend, you said some words without understanding the proper meaning of it!

Yes! Such an incident happens in our lives every day and that’s what BRAIN CRAMP is all about.

BRAIN CRAMP is a momentary mental lapse, such as an inability to remember something, to focus one’s attention or to understand something. It is such a condition when our mind is elsewhere and something is forgotten or done incorrectly because of it. A moment in which we fail to think clearly or act sensibly.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you and me are mentally sick people!

In fact, it is just a momentary mental lapse due to our unfocused state of mind, inattentiveness or overconfident thinking. By and large, it is working and talking with a preoccupied mindset.

This Tuesday morning I got a direct bus to my office and as usual, I turned on YouTube to watch my favourite lecture. I was so engrossed in the lecture that I forgot I am on the right bus and need not change it. By the time, I realized it I had left that direct bus, wasted 10 minutes waiting for another bus and had paid extra 10 rupees.

Another day, we were in a serious chat and my friend was deeply hurt by my question. As a matter of fact, I never intended to hurt my friend yet my way of posing the question diluted the tone of my message.

The good news for the people suffering from Brain Cramp (the momentary mental lapse) is, it happens only with the people of healthy mind and the bad news is there is no capsules or tonics for its cure.

Now, the question is – WHERE TO FIND THE HEALING?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

The human being is created with the absoluteness of freedom of thinking and expression though at times it might charge you an arm or a leg. However, the blessing in this disguise is, initially the remote of our thoughts are UNDER OUR CONTROL. All that it asks is tuning properly with the proper channels of our thoughts.

While driving on speed it is obvious to slip off track but eventually, the question is – ARE YOU STEERING BACK TO THE TRACK?

Flopping once off the track is quite obvious and worthwhile to learn but FLOPPING REGULARLY SIGNIFIES OUR DIVERSION FROM OUR FOCUS.

Brain Cramp is obvious in our life and its message is -“Darling, you need an introspection”.

The Bible says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”.

Keep thinking!

BULLYING – LET’S SEARCH THE TIPPING POINT TO STOP IT!

“Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others. The behaviour is often repeated and habitual”.

Bullying”  term often passed off as “just kidding” is a fatal catalyst that could trigger something as catastrophic as “Suicide ” and I am not “kidding” about it.

Let us see a few statistics (source: hail google)

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC.
  • For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 per cent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 per cent have attempted it.

For the past few days, I have been reading some horrific incidents about how kids mostly in their teens took their lives when cornered by bullies.  That really shook me. I was wondering can it be so strong to push someone to take such a harsh step?  I have too experienced bullying (though it was very short-lived, and at a  very, very young age) I was six at that time, got admission in a new school and my seniors (not in age or class but they were in that school since kindergarten 😁) started bullying me, well sort of! pulling my hair, teasing me, grouping against me and so on.  I told my father about it, he laughed it off (probably because of our age and the age we lived in, that was only innocence) and said make friends with them, everything will be fine.  Though they were never on my friend list things were better and the bullying stopped.

But unfortunately, that’s not the case with many.  And the severity of the issue has also increased by leaps and bounds.  There are a plethora of examples where bullying led victims to take the extreme step. But can bullying be directly proportionate to the suicides we witness?  Can it be so oversimplified?  NO! As I said earlier bullying is a catalyst, when coupled with issues like depression, mental health problems, hopelessness etc. the results are as fatal as Suicides.

So when talking about bullying the aforesaid issues must be touched upon, but who is going to do that?  Awareness is the tool that could hit the nail on the head.

Role Of Parents –   Kids learn from their parents (a lot). The simplest form of bullying – teasing someone based on their physical appearance (body shaming) or calling names, this is something kids many times learn from their parents.  And the sad thing is such things are often dusted off as “for fun”, “was kidding”, “wasn’t serious”, to begin with, and when unchecked that could possibly acquire a monstrous face.  I am just giving an example, just a tip of an iceberg.  Considering this, parents have to be really watchful about their behaviour and words in front of their kids.  Their outlook towards things and people affect and shape the psyche of their kids to a greater extent, if not fully. Rest is all about evolving.  One thing to be remembered: Making fun of others isn’t funny.

Notice, Talk and Listen: This is the Tipping Point that could make all the awareness campaigns work. Reading the silence or unusual symptoms like social withdrawal is the first and foremost step that needs to be taken by family members (read well-wishers, could be beyond family ties).  For instance, if a person who is normally a happy soul, a social person chooses solitude and prefers staying silent, that’s a clue big enough to initiate “Talk“. Many times victims are unable to decide whom to confide to and the pain starts building up and inability to crack their silence leads to the disaster. So reading signs at the right time is of utmost importance.  When the Talk is initiated, compassion and patience is a must.  The victim might not be able to give in at the first attempt, may try to conceal but persistence is the key here. Counselling from professionals is also helpful because they have their own tricks up their sleeve to let the victim release the flow of emotions bound for long.  And when they Talk, it’s important to Listen, to believe them and to respect their vulnerability. There is an ample number of cases when complaints are dismissed with statements like “it happens everywhere “, “don’t be a crybaby”, ” take it as fun” and so on.  Isn’t it enough proof that if a person is getting affected by something, which is “harmless” as per your perception then there is much to look out for or unearth?  Motto may be to instil some courage but rather their words are doing more harm than help.  Words have to be put together with utmost care so as to boost up the confidence of the person getting affected by this bullying business.  And again if someone thinks it’s beyond their capability take the help of a professional.

The “HELP” is meant for both the parties, this is my strong belief.  For the bullies, it is about the right kind of education (not just literacy). Any attempt or sign of being rude to a fellow human being shall be nipped in bud.  For the victims – it is about counselling and emphasizing on the fact “that people who laugh at you are either jealous of you or don’t have a better business. And that already makes you strong, go ahead with this strength “.

APPLE-KNOCKER

Apple-knocker is an expression that doesn’t find a commonplace in the popular lexicon. Oxford Dictionary defines appleknocker as “an unsophisticated person” and Merriam Webster states it simply as “rustic.” The phrase apparently came from fruit harvesters using long sticks to dislodge the hanging crop.

City folks commonly refer to villagers (country folks) as apple-knockers. Though the phrase sounds one shade funny and one shade demeaning, it’s a nice euphemistic addition to the intellectuals’ vocabulary. Well, you may not find an equivalent expression of this English phrase in other languages! But, then that’s the beauty of salad bowl languages!

It’s easy to overlook and undermine an apple-knocker. After all, we do not expect any finesse in their mannerisms! On the other hand, their presence at times makes one feel embarrassed. They sure fit into the place where they hail from. But in sophisticated gatherings and posh localities or in places where people of polished mannerisms operate, they are considered to be out-of-place.

But had it not been for such rustics around us, much of the luxury that we enjoy today might not have been within easy reach. Think of the farmer who sweats in the summer heat to sow and till. Had the sweaty stinky farmer not laboured hard in his field, many would not have food on their table.

While the blue-collar workers are often the most neglected lot in any society, their contribution to keep a household or an organization running is indisputable. The door needs drilling – call the carpenter; the tap needs fixing – call the plumber; the streets need cleaning – hire a sweeper and the list goes on. These are the apple-knockers around us and many-a-times we may be guest to their volley of abusive expletives and stiff-neckedness. However without them around, life would be a lot more cumbersome than our present challenges and commitments already make it.

So yes, as we add this phrase to our vocabularies, let’s exercise caution while treating the apple-knockers around us with the minimum dignity they deserve.

MAN CAVE

When I was asked to write on this topic, I had a bit of an idea of what it might mean. But when I resorted to google and started reading the wiki page on this, my reaction to what I was reading changed in the following way –

– Within a few sentences I felt – “C’mon, this is totally bogus. You got to be kidding me that a term like that even exists.”
– After a few paragraphs I felt – “Ok, maybe this makes a bit of sense. It is not as bogus.”
– Towards the end of the article I felt – “Oh God, I too need a man-cave.”

So, now keep reading and figure out what you feel towards this concept of man-cave
By definition, man-cave is a man’s own space. Something that he can call his own where a female presence is not appreciated. The décor of this space and cleanliness (or lack of it) is something that the man is in control of. He doesn’t like or approve of his mother, girlfriend or wife to have any say about how this place should be designed or maintained. It is typically used when a man wants to do his own stuff. It could be something creative or destructive or just time-pass. What he does in that room is also something that a female doesn’t have a say in.

This concept, as I understand, stems from the fact that the woman is the boss of the house. She is the one who decides what colour should be the walls, curtains, couches and everything else that needs to match with this. She is the one who is responsible for the cleanliness of the home; that also makes her the one who is often shouting and screaming and losing her peace of mind when the place is untidy. Yes, we see this happening in almost all the households. This concept arises from the very basic stereotypes defined for a man and a woman.

I am totally for this concept because I feel that there should a place not just for the man but also for the woman to be oneself. A place where there is no pressure of keeping it a certain way, a place where you could do whatever you want to do. I was sharing a flat with 2 girls who are also very close friends before I got married. 2 of us shared the room as well and we hardly ever had any concerns about how either of us wanted to keep the room. The room was always full of stuff toys (mostly pink). And that room had a big thermocol sheet attached to one of the walls where we used to display our earrings. Both of us were extremely fond of collecting all kinds of earrings and loved to put them on a display and every day we would pick and choose which one we wanted to wear. I loved that part of the room.

When I got married, I ended up staying with 2 boys because my brother in law also moved in with us a few weeks after our marriage. Living with 2 boys was so different than living with 2 girls. Within a month, I was missing my female friends so badly but now there was no going back (of course). Sharing the room with my hubby meant no stuff toys and no display of earrings. Living with 2 boys meant too many house parties at the end of which I would only be cleaning up. It also meant that FIFA world cup and IPL matches were the highlights of every year. It further meant that it became my responsibility to handle all the laundry, all the cooking, all the cleaning – in short, I became the woman of the house (which included shouting and screaming and losing my peace of mind over lack of cleanliness).

I wish I knew about this concept then and had a bigger home. I would love to have a room that we both share, but also 2 separate rooms for each one of us to do our own stuff individually. A room of my own which I could decorate in pink stuff toys and my earrings. And similarly, a room where he could play his guitar, play his Xbox or watch “Man vs wild” the whole day.

My family has grown with a kid and because of our son, our in-laws also live with us. So, the place that I could call my own (woman-cave, maybe) became almost non-existent. My husband moved out a year back to a different city for career reasons. It was a difficult decision and distant marriage really sucks. But one advantage of it is that I have a room that I can call my own now (I share it with my son, but he is too small to impact it in a big way) and my husband has a whole house that is only for him. One of the positive things of a long-distance marriage.

So, man-cave is a great concept according to me. I just want a woman-cave as well.

IS WEXTING A NEW TREND?

“Do you know this park is quite old and I used to come here with my cousins in our childhood”, I pointed towards a children-park on the other side of the road. “This park has a beautiful fountain and …” I turned my face towards my friend but couldn’t find her beside me. In a shock, I turned around and what I saw was surprising and funny at the same time. She was lying on the ground as she fell down. Quickly I went to her so that I could help her.

“Hey, will you stop laughing and help me? What sort of person you are?”

“Okay feisty girl I got you”.  I picked her up and asked about how she fell. I saw her knee got skinned and she was facing problem while walking. She told me she was wexting. Nowadays, wexting is quite common. Wexting means to chat while walking. In this era of social media, we all have done wexting. I too have done this. There is one more incident when I and one of my friends were out for shopping. I was so busy in wexting that I didn’t realize I took the wrong way. My friend was new to that place and so she wasn’t familiar with the roads. When I looked around I found myself lost in some other place. We had to walk back and it really wasted a lot of time. Maybe, I could have met with an accident as I wasn’t attentive. However now I have controlled myself from doing wexting but still, sometimes I tend to look at my phone whenever I receive an important message. And I am pretty sure many of us do the same.

I have done wexting so many times and luckily nothing serious happened but that doesn’t mean I should continue with wexting. At times when I am in the supermarket or when I am heading towards bus-stand, I do wexting. Even during the morning walk, I have seen youths of my age busy in wexting. They seem to be so happy during that particular moment. Although they know they might stumble or fall or hurt themselves.

Sometimes I have been reminded by my parents and my elders that wexting can cause harm to me. I know they say the right thing. It’s not that we don’t know the consequences of wexting but as soon as we get a message we ignore everything and we get engrossed in replying. And then begins the process of wexting. In that particular moment we may be enjoying and smiling ear to ear but who knows we are about to meet with an accident or something unexpectedly bad happens to us.

One day my cousin came home and I was horrified to see his skinned elbow. He told me he was replying to one of his friend’s message and he stumbled to a stone and fell down. Still, he does wexting. Not often but he does.

It’s good to stay in touch with our near and dear ones through various means of communication. But one must be cautious enough while walking. We should keep in mind that our life is precious and just for the sake of little happiness or pleasure we must not risk our life. From past few months, I have made a habit to turn off my data and keep my phone inside just to be attentive on the road while walking. Moreover, I advise my friends or people to do the same while walking. Once we reach our place we can reply to the messages we receive and this won’t harm us.

HELLO MR WORM

Earworm… Sounds like a pretty disgusting word. At least to me. As I have confessed in one of my previous articles I have a phobia of all things that crawl – snake, worms etc. So the first time I read this word I didn’t like it. So why am I writing about it? The reason is that when I googled the meaning of this word I realised that I deal with this earworm almost every day.

Google says earworm means a catchy song or tune that runs continually through someone’s mind. Phrases used to describe an earworm include “musical imagery repetition“, “involuntary musical imagery“, and “stuck song syndrome“.

Well, I don’t agree with this one at all. I think there is an actual worm inside me which makes itself comfortable somewhere behind my ear and keeps singing tunelessly all the time. I am going to call him Mr Worm henceforth.

So Mr. Worm loves singing. He doesn’t have much taste in music though, he can sing almost anything. Like there are days when Mr worm develops a liking for some advertisement jingle that I heard on TV. So here I am sitting in my yoga pose trying to concentrate and Mr. Worm goes “Washing Powder Nirma… Nirma… doodh si safedi Nirma se aaye.. ….” over and over again. It’s hard to shut him up or ignore him when he is really in the mood. So there goes my meditation time trying to fight Mr. Worm.

And to top it all my mouth at times decides to sing along with Mr. Worm. So my maid looks at me weirdly when suddenly I start singing one line of a song over and over again. Because I know just one line of the song and my mouth and Mr worm are singing in chorus.

The other day, my whole family is sitting together in one room kids are doing their homework, my hubby is busy with his first love (his laptop, that’s another story we will discuss some other day). And I am checking out the latest happenings in the world through WhatsApp. Suddenly Mr Worm develops a liking for a raunchy vulgar song which I had heard in the market that day. So off goes Mr Worm “Beedi jalayle Nazar se piya jigar ma badi aag hai..” Before I realise my mouth has joined the chorus. Three pairs of eyes look at me at once. My kids are laughing and wondering how does Mumma know this song. And my hubby’s stern eyes trying to ask me why am I singing such songs in the presence of kids. I somehow stop my mouth by Mr worm keeps going on and on, which thankfully only I can hear.

I have recently started teaching in Pre-Primary classes (another skill I am trying to pick up). Mr Worm I am sure is very delighted. So many new jingles have been added to his playlist.

Imagine this scenario I am cooking and Mr Worm is merrily singing “Row row row a boat gently down the stream… Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream..” Its nice an peppy for first few times but then it starts to be a pain.

Then there is another one of his favourites “Wheels on the bus go round and round .. round and round..” So its Sunday morning I am cleaning and the wheels are going round and round. Then I am watering the plants and he is still going on “Horn on the bus goes beep beep beep..” Again I am in the kitchen making breakfast and “People on the bus go up and down up and down“. Its afternoon and he is not tired yet “Babies on the bus go waah waah waah..” I keep telling Mr. Worm to shut up. Haven’t I heard it enough already in the school why are you torturing me again. But he only says “Driver on the bus says Move on back, Move on back, Move on the back..” Eventually, it ends up with me having a slight headache.

But don’t worry I am smart I have found a way to tame the dragon, in this case, Mr. Worm. I have realised that he takes over when I am not really into the work I am doing especially when I am working without applying much thought to it like an Autopilot Mode in an aeroplane. So first thing is don’t let your mind be idle for long. And even when Mr worm starts singing make a conscious effort to change your thoughts to something else which is interesting or start a work where you really have to concentrate. And Mr Worm won’t get a chance to hog the stage.

Bye bye, Mr Worm you are fun at times but I won’t let you take complete control from now on. Friends this works for negative thoughts also. Once we realise that our thoughts are spiralling down into the negative abyss take control and consciously change the channel. Take up some work that you enjoy and one which takes complete control of your brain like reading a novel or making a complicated dish in the kitchen etc.

Hope it helps. Do share your experiences with Mr. Worm.