A Comma & A Full-stop

A Comma & A Full-stop…

Life’s philosophies are written all around us, we simply need to summon that higher vision, so we can see it.

Waiting with a cup of tea, for my friend to wind up her Hindi tuition class & join me – unveiled an amazing philosophy.

My friend is a Hindi teacher & takes tuitions at home. An immensely pleasant woman, with an immensely soothing personality, she has quite a knack of imprinting the nuances of a language into the children’s minds. She was attacking Hindi grammar at the time I walked in… There is as much difference between an Alpviraam & a Poornaviraam, as there is between earth & sky, she was saying.

A comma (alpviraam) & a full-stop (poornaviraam).

That was the lesson in grammar she was explaining:-

  1. Sometimes sentences can be very long, then they will make no sense, so you have to break the sentences so that you can understand what you’re writing, and more importantly, so that the reader can understand what you have written.
  2. An `alpviraam’ will allow you time to think, a `poornaviraam’ will leave no scope for continuation. Then you will have to start a new sentence & frame it correctly all over again.
  3. In an examination, if you don’t know how to finish a sentence, leave it incomplete & go onto something else. If you have time left, you can always come back & finish what you started. It is better than hurriedly completing a sentence in a shoddy manner that won’t make any sense when you read it.
  4. And so on the lesson went into other finer aspects of grammar…

Hidden in those 2 words, alpviraam (comma) & poornaviraam (full-stop), is a thought provoking philosophy:-

I was very young, when a nun who taught me English in a convent school of mine, commented on my correct placement of commas in a sentence. You write very complicated sentences hence your commas are very helpful in reading what you write. It breaks the sentence correctly & allows a pause for information to sink in, she had said.

I have been lucky that my love of English grammar translated into my philosophy of Life at a very early age. Both in language & in life, I have always gone easy on full-stops & heavy on commas.

It’s ok for me to leave a (symbolic) sentence or chapter unfinished & go take a break, but it’s important for me to leave that empty space, so that I can come back & finish it when I understand what I was confused about.

Life situations like friendships, relationships, jobs, careers, education, problems, projects – need time to come into their own before you can solve them or complete them. For that, you need pauses in which you can soak in all that has happened & think about all that which you wish to happen.

How many times in life have we regretted complete closures – that feeling of not being able to go back to a parent, a sibling, an old friend, an old relationship, an old job, an old house, an old city… because we slammed the doors shut in fear?

In 2011 & 2012, I witnessed the pain of my father while visiting my late grand-father’s home for settlement of his ancestral property. He could not step into that empty house because it filled him with regret at the many `full-stops’ he had put in that house. How he wished they had been `commas’ so that he could have gone back & scripted a happy ending in his own time.

A full-stop is like game-over. A comma is like end of an innings; you take a break; absorb the situation; and come back with clarity for a 2nd innings.

A full-stop is like a rejection.  It comes from a feeling of being out-of-control, of not being able to manipulate a situation to our advantage, of not being recognized. We reject before we are rejected. Rejection helps us to bail out in a manner where we can feel superior & the other, inferior.

We prefer people & places that pamper our ego rather than those who challenge it. We prefer the compliments of those who need us rather than the criticism of those whom we may need, in order for us to grow in mind & spirit. We prefer cozying in our comfort zones to conquering uncharted territories.

What was it that someone said?  – Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Or should I say – Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,

It’s a comma not a full-stop. I can write whatever I want in that pause.


Farewell, I Think

Farewell, I Think…

I hate goodbyes but I think it’s time for one.

My squirrel of 3 years has stopped coming. It’s over many days now. Never has she been absent for so long since she frisked her way into our home & heart.

A small soul, capable of immensely human feelings, the little one spent the better part of her interaction with us while being addressed as Ganpat – a name my husband fondly christened her with. It was a case of mistaken identity. The boisterous `he’ was actually a firebrand `she’. We realized our error only in the past few months & quickly rechristened her as Ganpati to bring the feminine touch to her name.

Ganpati has always been a squirrel with intensely human emotions & choices. She was far above the mundane. She would sit motionless in attention as I chanted shlokas & mantras. She fondly ate the Prasadam & drank the Ganga water that I brought back my Mahakumbh trip. She brought me small throw-away flowers on days that turned out to be special occasions. She was choosy in her food, and lately, she developed a taste for pan-fresh chapattis & mango pieces.

Ganpati delighted us with her antics. Her sneaky habit of curling up on cushions when we were not looking; her habit of playing with flowers; her habit of flattening herself on her belly with 4 outstretched paws, while she heard us talk over morning tea; her cutest way of carelessly dozing in our balcony during afternoons; and most endearing – her absence of fear & doubt. I think love is defined by it – absence of fear & doubt. Last but not the least – the delight she brought us with 2 consecutive broods of youngsters, each little fellow as unique as her.

The first few days I kept wishing for her to come back soon & hoping she was alright. But yesterday, during my morning prayers, something inside me told me that she was gone. I couldn’t complete my prayers in that thought. Today again when I didn’t see her – I told my better-half that I was going to pull a random book & open a random page, and whatever is written there will answer my question. Ok, do it if it makes you feel better, he said.

And I did exactly that. The random verse on the random page of the random book, read thus: “The day I arrived from my holiday in Alaska, I sat down to pray & asked God: Does she have long to live? The answer came: No. it’s time to go home now. She has resolved her problems. Her body cannot cope & her spirit is waiting to be released. She has had a long journey & her life has served its purpose. She will be blessed when she goes.”

Whoever said the Universe doesn’t talk back to you?

The last few days before her absence, she did exhibit some strange behavior. She would simply come, catch my attention, and sit flat on her belly – motionless & staring at me. I have spent 10s of minutes at a single stretch – staring back at her, equally motionless wondering what she was trying to convey. It was as if she was trying to say something. She would get disturbed if I left & restlessly wait till I got back – and then go right back to her motionless staring.

I have to admit that it tested my patience & finally I just ignored her after a while. Then, she stopped coming. Today, I wish I could have just sat longer & allowed my thoughts to reach her.

Why is it that goodbyes are never perfect? Why is it that so many things are left unsaid & undone before the final rendezvous? Is it perhaps because we never expect to part ways?

As I stood in my balcony late morning with tears streaming down my face – a snow white feather floats down from somewhere above & precisely makes its way into my balcony through the fine grills. I have seen no bird that white, where I live. I pick up the feather. I know where it has come from – a parting gift from that little soul. Angelic on Earth, Angel in Heaven.

I have preserved the feather. For me, it’s symbolic of pure, unconditional love. For me, it’s an assurance that such love will always come my way.

Strange as my story may sound, soul-connect is beyond body or form. Love understands no barriers. If there are barriers, it cannot be love.

Farewell & God bless.

Are You An Alien? – Take The Test

Are You An Alien? Take The Test…

Take the test first & I’ll tell you the background that goes with this question.

  1. Do you feel out of place in this world many times?
  2. Do you feel you belong somewhere else?
  3. Do you feel totally not understood by those around you?
  4. Do you feel you have ideas that can change the world but no one really listens to you?
  5. Do you feel you can change the lives of those around you if they gave you even half a chance to explain to them how?
  6. Do you have an urge to change the world for the better, even in the smallest way, before you exit?
  7. Do you feel you have a skill or a talent that you can wield as a weapon to bring positive change to the world?
  8. Do you feel trapped while acting out mundane human activities on a daily basis while you feel you should be contributing to something much bigger?
  9. Do you feel trapped by opinions, expectations, judgments & diktats of others – and often find yourself toeing the line to maintain peace?
  10. Do you experience a feeling of being contained sometimes, to the extent that you feel like exploding – and often find yourself seeking a release without hurting others?
  11. Do you experience constant sapping of energies as you unconditionally give to others – and do you subconsciously search for people who have energy fields that can replenish your depleted levels?

11/11? Yes you have that Alien DNA and it’s not as uncommon as you think.

Those are not my test questions that you see above – it’s a test sheet replicated from a book by Kaushalya Kuwadekar – Part II of the series “The Road to Shirdi”.

The author is a practitioner & teacher of many meditation techniques from around the world. The Alien theory is one such enlightenment that she received in one of her Buddhist meditation techniques & this theory was later validated by a disciple of Lahiri Mahashaya – a noted Siddha & creator of the very famous Kriya Yoga – the same Kriya Yoga that was practiced & preached by Yogananda Paramahansa.

What I intend to share here is merely a summary (and not the process) of a certain enlightenment (knowledge / information) received by the author, during her many practice sessions with Masters of Western & Buddhist practices – and the same enlightenment was validated by Indian Masters who taught her Kriya Yoga in Calcutta.

  • Plausible or outrageous is a matter of personal faith & personal logical deduction. To each his own. My effort starts & stops at dissemination of information that I find interesting. Whether the reader trashes it or uses it – is best left to the discretion of the readers themselves.

Let me start at the beginning.

Continued… Part II

Wassup? Sorry… Whatsapp?

Wassup? Sorry… Whatsapp?

I’m not much of an Apps person – and especially so if it’s a communication app.

Quite moody by nature, I don’t enjoy being on instant-connect with either family or friends. I feel communication has to happen in its own time, and not forced. Whether on email or Facebook or any of the networks that I patronize, my chat option is always on switched-off mode. It’s more as a respect to the other person also; I don’t want to feel an urge to disturb the other person by initiating a communication when they may be in a mood to do something else in their own time.

Recently I downloaded the much popular Whatsapp on my phone on the insistence of a friend. More out of academic curiosity, than interest.

It has it pros & cons. It has opened up group family communication; it has honed my parents’ technological abilities & got them to upgrade to high end smart phones; it saves time & energy communicating the same piece of information to mom, dad & sibling in 3 separate sittings; reactions & cross-reactions are also instantaneous. And given the highly volatile temper DNA that runs in my birth family, it allows mass appeasement at oddest hours & spontaneous humor to flow through quickly. It has also cross connected me with myriad cousins & inlaws. So yes, in that sense this experiment has worked for me.

What has also worked for me is that erstwhile distant friends have been looped into a radar. A simple good-morning or a quote or a joke keeps communication alive without being too intrusive or personal. So technically, in a distant way, you’re practically connected to everyone.

The flip side is it becomes a substitute for personal connect. It’s a guilt free excuse for not making an extra effort. After a while, the emotions go missing. You’re talking to a machine. The person hates your joke yet a smiley comes. The person wants to contradict you yet sends a thumbs-up sign. People type you a happy-birthday message while simultaneously chatting with 10 others in a different group.

You take a conversation forward by choosing from a set of Whatsapp smileys – rather than listening to the tone of someone’s voice or their choice of spoken words or the tremors in their voice that tell you whether they are happy or angry or sad or suspicious.

It’s an option that seems ok with many – but I draw a line. It’s fantastic to share impersonal information that is fun to receive & send but where personal is concerned I’m rigid – I call mom & dad everyday; I call my sibling every 3rd day; I call friends who matter, according to mutual convenience. I want to hear them & I want to be heard. And I never forget that extra mile with closest friends – there’s always time for a face-2-face.

Whatsapp has its humor quotient too – it’s like passing the parcel. As one would say in our national language – iski topi uske sar. It doesn’t require much creativity to stay connected. Never keep what you receive – just pass it on to someone else – and yippee you’re in the loop… Improves mental reflexes too – we have to keep remembering who sent us what – and who we have sent what to, so there is no replication or confusion… The App has its share of quirky users too – those who never contribute to a group will dictate who you should add to & who you should delete from a group.

Well… Don’t resist change & go with the flow. After all, we are a blessed generation of multiple technological innovations. We shouldn’t ever forget that… As long we don’t lose what’s important to us in the process.

My final take: those who didn’t matter much, will come closer on your radar – and those who mattered will move farther to the periphery. By law of averages, it kind of just evens out – you won’t have friends or enemies – just an average group of people with whom you share an average connect with.

On the minus side: For someone like me, love is truly blind. I love a voice first, and then the person who comes with it. I cannot accord a smiley the status I do to a human voice.

And rest assured it’s not a gender specific remark. I truly believe that you can sum a person up from their voice. A voice is a person’s outward flow of energy that is created from a unique mixture of their innermost thoughts & emotions.

On the plus side: You won’t have to polish that sexy, baritone or husky voice that lets out a well-intonated, well-modulated “Hey wassup?”. Just an “Eh? Whatsapp?” in smileys will suffice.

Nice eh? What say? Sorry… Whatsapp??