Being Broken-Hearted

Being heartbroken. Sounds familiar, right?

A life situation : She loves him, with every essence of her being. She believes he loves her the same.

“I’d never leave you.” He promised her. “I’d rather die.” He said.

He left – but did not die. 

Since then, she died a different death. 

A different life situation:

He had kept his promise to wait for her when she moves to his country. She said yes and married him. 65 years later, he died before her. 

She looked me in the eyes and said, “You know, I loved him with everything I am. Do you mind if I cry? I am so heart-broken right now.” 

My personal grief story : A heart-break that threw me into the deepest end of darkness I have ever known in my life. Being dumped, especially in a way that I was, has had major repercussions for me.

There was now suffering. A suffering that reflects a loss of meaning, a loss of purpose, a loss of hope and a loss of love.

A suffering that is so profound that it inhibits one’s ability to think clearly and to care for oneself. A suffering which questions why are you even alive without your loved one.

Thus, begins the journey through grief.

Until next time,

Namaste

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.  ~William Shakespeare

Merry Christmas!

With so many atrocities going on around the world, it’s difficult to remain unaffected. There’s only so much one can avoid listening to the news or reading something on the internet that will not refer somehow to the ongoing events around the world.

The challenge then becomes to not become angry or upset or worse, hopeless.

It’s so hard to not get upset when a 20-year old man kills 27 people out of which 20 are 6 or 7 year old children. Details here. How can I not be upset?

It’s so hard to not be angry when a young medical student is gang-raped ruthlessly, in the most monstrous manner and thrown out of a moving bus in the capital city of the world’s largest democracy. Details here. How can I not be angry?

I realize a single person cannot change the whole world. The only world I can change is the one I create for myself and everyone around me. It took a lot of talking, and arguing whenever any of these topics came up. It’s personal. How can it not be personal? Am I not human? Are these people not human?

What did I do to remain hopeful and to not lose faith? Something absolutely ridiculously obvious. I went out to the mall on the last Sunday before Christmas. Yes, there was absolutely no place to park and the mall was uber packed with people. People rushing last minute to get their shopping done, kids playing in the small play area carelessly, and some more kids and adults waited in line to take pictures with mall Santa Claus.

As I stood there observing, I felt joy within myself. The smiles that the mall Santa Claus brought on the children’s faces was overwhelming. I let myself get drenched in the excitement that resonated throughout the mall. It was necessary for my own sake.

I walked out from the mall (yes, I did cave in and shopped a bit) with a much lighter heart.

It’s Christmas time. One of the best times of the year in North America.

I will pray. I will hope for a miracle. I will keep the faith. And I urge you to do the same.

Merry Christmas!

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. ~ Luke 17:21

Join us – A R Rahman Invitation

So anyone who knows me at all will know that I am a huge A R Rahman fan. It began with his music and the more he grew with music, the more I realized how certain things come together to guide us on our path. More on that later.

For now, I want to share my thoughts on his latest initiative: An invitation from A R Rahman. It’s amazing to me how much I can relate to this man. Going through this video, I kept saying: exactly! exactly! exactly! so many times in my mind.

And then the second part to this video here: Join hands with me.

I watched this video in awe as A R Rahman goes on to pose such big questions. Each one I feel so strongly about. I think everyone should feel strongly about it. These are the basic questions of survival, of defining humanity as a whole.

I will attempt to answer these questions. I may even end up posting a video response to one of the questions. Who knows? I definitely will be blogging my answers to each questions.

In the process of answering these questions, I hope to bring together my work, my personal life experiences, my voluntary initiative to grow and become a better person with every passing day. As a dear friend always tells me: One day at a time, my friend. One day at a time!

The journey has begun…

Sometimes I want to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I am afraid He might just ask me the same question ~ Author Unknown but Appreciated

Return of Bougainvillea

So much has happened since the last blog post: A resurrection of sorts, a lost love, a messy fight, a weekend-long crying session, a missed trip, a lovely wedding, a mind-blowing concert, a new direction, a new passion, a new love…

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you’ve learned or not learned or even unlearned in the days that go by. Sometimes it takes an argument or an intimate conversation or just some heart-to-heart with a dear friend. Recently in a reply to a friend’s email, I realized how much the way I live my life has changed. After sending the email, I re-read my reply a number of times to convince myself that it was really me who had written all that.

I remembered where I needed to go every time I need refuge. No one will be able to take it away from me. No one will possibly understand it and to be honest, I think I’d rather have it that way.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be with My Bougainvillea.

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. ~Henry David Thoreau

There! I said it!!

“Communication is the hardest thing we do every day.” My professor says it all the time. Every single time I wonder why is it so? Something that is so essential to us getting by every day is the hardest thing to do. Ironic, isn’t it?

Like I’ve written in my previous posts, I’ve learned to say what I feel. It is not the easiest thing to do. I realized it a long time ago. But then I also turned to introspection as why it was difficult to come out with words when we needed to say it the most. Why is it so easy to express anger in words than love? Why is it easier to push someone away than say that I really want you to stay?

I got my answers. Like always, in time. It is easier to be angry because you do not have to back it up. It is easier to push someone away because you do not want to deal with the implications. It is easier to say I hate you because saying I love you will mean you will need to stay. Unconditionally. I say I love you all the time to people who I know I must tell. I just do. Because I have the strength to back it up.

This past weekend has been a roller-coaster ride. Something as simple as a song on the radio made me break down and cry. A startling thought crossed my mind: I was not loved. It sent shudders through me and I decided to go out for a walk. Alone. I remembered to pick up something so I stepped into a store. I was looking through some things when I saw the person working there wearing a badge that said : Remember to smile. It made me smile and I complimented the associate. In return, the associate gave me a card saying, “Hallmark is giving out a free card for customers and this one is for you.” I opened it. Behold! It said: Always, always, always, always remember you are loved. My smile turned into a grin. I thanked the person and walked home.

And then I found this quote that sums up everything so aptly:
True communication is communion―the realization of oneness, which is love. ~ Eckhart Tolle

Affinity

Affinity is a word that has a definite meaning in the world of natural sciences. But take it a step further and apply it to your own self. For the longest time, I’ve been looking for explanations about how certain people or things make me feel. When I say things, I do not mean only materialistic, tangible objects. I am also referring to the intangible entities such as music, languages and so on.

For example, I have noticed that I feel strong positive emotions towards Sanskrit. I feel strong affinity towards the language irrespective of the fact that I do not know how to speak it, let alone understand. I feel a strong connection to the shehnai, irrespective of the fact that I do not know how to play it. I know exactly how the Vedic chants make me feel. I know exactly how I feel when I look at a certain picture. And the hardest part of knowing all this is the inability to express the feelings in words. No matter how hard I try, I will not be able to do justice about how ethereal I feel when I listen to Latika’s Theme by A R Rahman or how absolutely divine it feels to listen to Ustad Bismillah Khan’s playing Raag Malkauns on the shehnai.

I am off for some more music. Cheerios for now!

Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, a touch that never hurts. ~Charles Dickens

‘Cos life is…

B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. Beautiful.

Totally random, right? I think so too. But how many things in our lives happen with a prior announcement? So this is an ode to the randomness that has become an important part of my life now.

A few years ago, on this particular date (February 18), I took a walk down the street with a friend. It was a fine Friday and we decided to pay a visit to the local theater where they were featuring different facets of Tibetan Buddhism.

When we walked in, the air around was calming. There were a couple of monks with a display table of Buddhist artifacts and I noticed a bracelet of wooden beads that I was instantly attracted to. I knew I was going to come back for it.

We went into the main hall where the other monks were making a mandala. It was one of the most amazing things I had seen materialize. The outline of the design itself was so detailed that the idea of filling the parts with colored sand was mind-boggling. To the untrained eye, this was going to be super hard. But watching the monks do it so swiftly and effortlessly was a sign how much concentration and patience they have inculcated within themselves to accomplish this.The mandala that they made was a representation of the city. The next day they would be chanting and at the end of it all they would brush away the mandala and disperse the sand into flowing water. (a symbolism of sending out good vibes, we were told)

I ended up being a translator for the oldest monk (who could not speak English) present as they were from Himachal Pradesh and spoke little Hindi. The people reporting had a lot of questions.

‘Cos I want to…

I realize I haven’t posted here in a while but that does not mean that I have not been writing. There are posts that are written but not published. Just ‘cos.

Things have been crazy. But then again, these are my life situations. Obviously they are going to be crazy. The dominating part of the change is the constantly changing dynamics of relationships in my life. I’ve had to do a lot of reshuffling in my mind to come to terms with the events that were transpiring in my life.

The biggest challenges have been emotional because as life would have it, I was not given a say in where a particular relationship is going. Let alone decide whether there was a relationship at all or not.

There are tears. Lots of them. Some are happy, most not and some chalta-hai types. Sometimes it feels like I am stuck in a rut where I will just have to crawl my way through. Going back to the decision-making process, apparently no one seems to trust my ability in it.

Do I have an answer for why this is the case? No. I do not know. Am I trying to figure it out? Yes. With all my heart. The funny thing is I know this feeling like I’ve been there before, only this time the intensity is lower.

Having said that, I refuse to be told how I should be feeling about something or someone. That is, and should be, completely up to my discretion. For with every passing moment, I am learning to be, to perfect my love…

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is sadness, joy;
where there is darkness, light. ~ St Francis of Assisi

Of love and loss…

There were other things on my mind as this year started off. There were posts I planned on writing for the start of 2010, the memories I want to relive as we enter a new year. Then again, I did say I do not believe too much in the whole new year deal. But again, I also know that 2010 is not like other years.

Things are different. Are they as I wanted them to be? Maybe. Maybe not. So much has changed and I do not even know how to put words to them. Some things just are not meant to be made public and some things just deserve all the light that one can shed on them.

New beginnings are always on people’s minds as was evident as a whole bunch of people went public (read: updated Facebook relationship status) with their personal life as of January 01, 2010. Some were super surprising. Some were expected. But all of them, for sure, are happy news.

The rough stuff. The loss of life in any form. I’ve noticed that one sad event is capable of throwing everyone into this vicious circle of uncertainty. We hope and pray with all our hearts when our hearts are sad and the mind just does not want to let go. Well, I hope we hope and pray.

But really, sad events do make you want to reach out. It makes you want to say your I love yous a lot more to people who exist in your life. I try to do that irrespective of a response. Some need to hear the exact words, for some a glance is enough. For some, a hug works wonders and for some, just the physical presence. I need all of the above. Well, ‘need’ would not be the correct word maybe but it does feel good. I would rather say I love it that way.

I love you.

The truth is that there is only one terminal dignity — love. And the story of a love is not important — what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity. ~ Helen Hayes

To love is not a passive thing. To love is active voice. When I love I do something, I function, I give. I do not love in order that I may be loved back again, but for the creative joy of loving. And every time I do so love I am freed, at least a little, by the outgoing of love, from enslavement to that most intolerable of master, myself. ~ Bernard Iddings Bell

Shaam se aankh mein nami si hai…

So I am listening to Marasim, a ghazal album with vocals by Jagjit Singh and lyrics by Gulzar. The very first time I heard about it was when the ghazal ‘Shaam se aankh mein nami si hai’ came out in 1999. Being brought up in a home where all genres of music are played, I’ve also developed a liking for ghazals and this one definitely caught my attention. We got out and bought the album and have been listening to it every now and then.

I just realized that its been a decade. And what a decade it has been!! Most people who know me know that I am not a big new year’s eve and new year’s person, so
I don’t normally do a glance-at-the-past-year blog post. Yes, I tag along with the celebrations and yes, I dress up for it but does it mean much to me? No. But then a decade is a decade. Not time-wise. Its more like an event-wise issue.

As I decided to sit down (literally!) to listen to it with a warm cup of tea, gazing out of the bedroom window at the snow-covered trees and rooftops, thoughts flooded my mind. Thoughts of events from the past decade, each with a line or two from the ghazal that was playing at the moment. Here are some snippets (mostly for the sake of my memory and rest for the sake of a life-story):

Aankhon Ke Ponchne Se Laga Aanch Ka Pata
Yoon Chehra Pher Lene Se Chupta Nahin Dhuaan

The moments of realization as to how much or how little something or someone means to oneself. In most cases, there is a pleasant surprise factor. And others, well, the least said the better.

Der Se Goonjte Hain Sannaate
Jaise Humko Pukaarta Hai Koi

The times when you know you are needed. No one tells you that, you just know. And how you actually go out of your way to make sure you are there. There is little, if any, expectation of appreciation from anyone but you still do it because you want to and doing so will let you be at peace with yourself.

Sirf Ik Safha Palat Kar Usne
Beeti Baaton Ki Safaayee Di Hai

Oh the innumerable times, you would expect (or even desperately desire) answers in word form and get ‘the look’. The look means different things to different people. And wanting answers not just from people but Life, God, The Universe (however you want to refer to It).

Khamoshi Ka Haasil Bhi Ik Lambi Si Khamoshi Hai

Unki Baat Suni Bhi Humne, Apni Baat Sunayi Bhi.
I can easily say these are the most difficult moments. Silence. So much said and done in it. It does not necessarily mean a negative thing. The silent knowing that some bonds exist without the need for an explanation is a high.

Shehed Jeene Ka Mila Karta Hai Thoda Thoda
Jaane Waalon Ke Liye Dil Nahin Thoda Karte

The people who walk out of your life irrespective of your tries to keep them. You try. You do the best you can in the situation to keep them. And it just falls short. Definitely times when you stop, gaze up to the stars and hope and pray that this better be a good part of the Divine Scheme.

Waqt Rehta Nahin Kahin Chupkar
Iski Aadat Bhi Aadmi Si Hai

The changes that one’s life-story goes through. The hard changes. The easy ones. Followed by the okay chalta-hai types. The I-swear-to-God-this-can’t-be-happenin’ types. Changes, the only permanent thing in life. (cliched, I know, but true!)

Ussi Ka Eemaan Badal Gaya Hai
Kabhi Jo Mera Khuda Raha Tha

This is the probably the least emotional one. The breaking of an idealistic image. Shocking but necessary.

Din Guzarta Nahin Hai Logon Mein
Raat Hothi Nahin Basar Tanha

The times when you think there’s no one who gets you. There’s just no one who understands what you’re trying to say, let alone understand why you’re saying what you’re saying. The feeling of melancholy that comes with it, the kind that lingers around and pushes for introspection.

Dil hai to phir dard hoga; Dard hai to dil bhi hoga… ~ Gulzar