Monday, December 23, 2019

Haenim Sunim


"We should love people like the sun loves the earth. The sun loves the earth without choosing to. It nourishes trees and flowers, expecting nothing in return. It does not withhold its rays but brightens everything with its presence". Haenim Sunim

This weekend I decided to take a break from my phone. My usual pastime is reading and started with a novel, I gradually drifted on reading my favourite topic: Buddhist thoughts. I have a few feelgood books in my collection, what I would call soulfood, what invariably keeps on going on especially after facing heartbreaks, of various sorts.

It was a calming experience to read The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, though the touch and feel of a colourful feelgood book is something that you miss on the black and white screen of your kindle, it is good to shut yourself down at the weekend faraway from the temptation of whatsapp and take time to unwind after s hectic week. I remember that I had posted a few quotes after reading Love for Imperfect Things by Haenim Sunim, I am reposting a few of the quotes from the author.

I feel that though the anxiety over unfinished chores is a regular problem, the time spent on nurturing one's broken self is a fruitful episode in a comparatively uneventful life.

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad


When I was reading Twinkle Khanna's The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, what I found is that the writer shows an amazing perception of the character's needs without being so obvious about it. But googling about the work, what I saw is a kind of patronising attitude to a writer just because she is a celebrity daughter and wife apart from being an actress. However, the short stories are quite readable and the story that I loved tbe most in this collection is "The Sanitary Man from a Sacred Land".

The first among the four stories is "The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad" is about Lakshmi who wants ten jardalu trees planted for a girl child so that the child's future is secure right from her birth-"ten trees like the ten fingers which we women can hold our own destinies firmly in our hands". Thus begins the ritual of the jardalu, which is celebrated in her village with the birth of a girl child, when people from any caste, even those with no land of their own can plant trees for their daughters.

The second story "Salaam, Noni Appa" is about love that transcends all barriers. Noni Appa and Binny are two elderly women who live a life of seclusion. The elder sister Noni Appa is rather sweet on their yoga teacher Anandji. What starts as an eagerness to meet him, ends up as her sole reason to live. When Noni Appa is ill, Anandji leaves all his business aside, packs his luggage and comes to live with her. This story is very touching for one remembers the ambience of love that breaks all rules though the other stories are much more conventional.

"If the Weather Permits" begins in Kerala and is about Elisa Thomas, hailing from traditional Malayali Christian household. When forced to get narried, she marries a photographer friend of hers but is disappointed when the bridegroom turns suicidal. Divorced, she gets married to Chacko, from a wealthy Christian family and shocked into a sense of deja vu. All she wants to know is whether she has to return to her ancestral home that smells of fish moilee.

The fourth story, according to me, is the best story of the collection. Ms. Khanna has based this atory on Padma Shri Arunchalam Muruganantham who is a social worker who works hard to remove the taboos associated with menstruation. Bablu Kewat loves to bring surprises for his wife -"four bagles, a packet of orange bindis, a 5star chocolate". Saddened by the rag that she uses for her monthlies, he brings her pads and new kinds of experimental pads that are made of absorbent material. He questions the women of his acquaintance about their monthlies and this earns him the name pervert. His friends tease him that he should have been born a woman so that "it would have been so much easier to just test the pads yourself". But his determination wins and he becomes the inventor of the low-cost sanitray pad making machine.

The stories are varied in their themes but very endearing to the reader. What I feel is that the last among them is the most touching, of a man who wants to bring happiness to his wife and ends up being a hero to many Indian women from the nearby villages.

dedication

solitude

Dreamer

Mehndi




Every time I put henna on my hands I hum that song
Where I write your name on the palm of my hand,
Hidden in the intricate shapes, curves and designs
The story of the day we met or the day we spoke.

We have walked countless times around the fire
We have uttered so many different sacred chants
Of holding a bond so close just by keeping it safe
Deeply tied to the sense of our sacred silences.

We have celebrated in rhymes, absences felt,
The emotions that run wild and the colours
We have sang of the endless days we wandered
Listlessly, aimlessly and perfectly in silence.

Yet when I put mehndi on these hands of mine,
You smell them, as if it’s our first time together.

The Best

New Year Wish

understanding

Have a healthy period!😊



"When a little gets her first period, the last thing she is thinking is- let me eat right" says Rujuta Diwekar in her latest book Women and the Weightloss Tamasha. I still remember the day when I got my first periods. I was in the eighth standard and school had just started that week. I overheard a conversation that happened between my mother and my grandmother. my grandmother said, "Don't we have to give her some special food?" and my mother answering in the negative that I might not like the traditional recipe. The result was that I stayed undernourished till the age of 28 when I started putting on weight after childbirth.

Story apart, I was just wondering about the role of comfort foods during periods. We all know a lot about comfort foods during pregnancy as this is something that the popular culture celebrates with special credits to raw mango. Cravings are caused by deficiencies and you can stay healthy if you literally listen to your gut feeling. At this age, I find that I lack that traditional knowledge needed because I was brought up different but at the same time I have grown curious about foods that bring monthlies right on time to foods that keep you happy during that time of the month.

However, from what I have read I am attempting to list out a set of food items that can relieve menstrual pain and give you a healthy period:
Chocolate preferabky dark
Fresh fruits
Dry fruits and nuts
Fatty fish
Red meat or iron rich foods
Bananas
Leafy greens
Sweets
These comfort foods help in the production of endorphins also known as happy hormones. Though not in the list of healthy food, it is advisable for women to eat fancy food that they crave during your monthlies.So whatever catches your fancy this month, satisfy your food cravings  and have a healthy period!

Sprout

You are the sprout that demands my pelting rain of affection, my tiny green whose footsteps fill me with pride with words that come right from the heart.

You are my sprout that loves everything green and creeps over all these broken walls of old houses and old loves and broken dreams.

You are my sprout that cuts through words, flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, born out of a green dream of having a name to leave behind.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Life

Happiness

Forgiveness

Blogger on a break

This blog is temporarily unavailable as the blogger wants to update the content as per her present standards of writing and for spending more time reading and learning about writing.


Beginner's Mind


You have taught me the art of the beginner’s mind, taking small steps, internalizing the rules and learning day by day. Though this art of being completely aware in the present moment has brought in its turn, both happiness and sorrow.

This mind was often like a cup ready to be filled in, with nothing to boast of or previous knowledge to fall back upon. It often stood still in silence and dreamt of a peaceful future with its soul mate and at times set on its own charting out territories to explore.

Yet it knows how to balance its trust in the infinite gifts of Providence yet to keep its eyes open for the wonderful gifts that each brand new day brings.

simplicity

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Have an ecofriendly period!




Have a happy period says the Whisper  advertisement. In the olden days, "those days" meant that you could hardly get out of your room or do what you want. Going out of the house was forbidden in the case of most women. But with changing times, there has been a sea-change in the general attitude to the monthlies. Sanitary pads and their focus on comfort have liberated women from much of the taboo associated with menstruation.

With studies that show that the disposal of sanitary pads can be hazardous to the environment, there is a need to shift to ecofriendly and healthier versions such as reusable cloth pads or menstrual cups. These are conscious choices that can be made part of the monthly schedule. ecofemme is a leading brand that sells products that implement sustainable menstruation. These products are available online . Join hands to reduce your ecological footprint!

love

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Purple Riot

Image result for hands holding
The purple riot began
And took root slowly.

Who would've thought
Who would've known

In the rear view mirror
It looks like spring again

It's snowing every morn
And melting by evening.

The beauty that returned
The songs that don't cease

One day sitting nearby
Feeling the full purple riot

The deep desire in your eyes
That sang to me whole night

The hand that almost reached
The purple riot in your heart.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Wind of Change: Menstrual Leave for Women Employees





Happy to read that two companies Culture Machine in Mumbai and Mathrubhumi in Kerala have announced period leave for women. What I felt is that after hearing so much about the kind of inhibitions associated with pregnancy and periods, one is lucky to have a non-compartmentalised and holistic view regarding women's health concerns.


It was only recently that I did a write-up on ecofemme and my perspective was that of a surprised consumer who is happy to discover new ecofriendly options. However, a female colleague was of the opinion that one shouldn't post these in groups where there are men. My perspective was that it was a general post (more an armchair philosopher post too) about reducing your carbon footprint. Hope the ladies will also become broadminded to understand that there are men too among activists and that women are not to be bound up in cultural taboos any longer especially if you have no fear talking about your periods or pregnancy or desires.







Monday, December 16, 2019

Words

Beannacht


On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.



[Note: "Beannacht" is the Gaelic word for "blessing." A "currach" is a large boat used on the west coast of Ireland.]

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thoughts

Epitaph for love

Here lies the dreams
Of a long lost love,
Better not touch,
You might wound
The heart or even
Release old ghosts.

Songs of the Yellow Moon














When I was growing up,  I used to get so irrirated with my grandmother who will come up with aa song for every random word that I said. Being a language teacher, she was a storehouse of poems and songs and rhymes that would make me cringe, so much that my message will be completely lost in the process of communication. Growing older, I have understood that I have got at least fifty percent of her riddlesome nature, of singing songs about random words and people.

There were other legends about her. One was that she had the ability to make a very fiery husband crack up in laughter (I don’t think I share this trait) whose way of self-expression was flying plates at the dinner table if he wasn’t happy with the food that she prepared. Then on sleepless nights, they would tell each other how they had met each other when they were both eighteen and he will say with a smile that even then he knew she will be the one whom he would marry. With my late reading hours, I might drop in to their room listening to them argue about the hardships and obstacles they faced from her family (sixty five years ago) and their beautiful love story that I don’t think even their children  know much about.

I am no different I guess, at least about the song part. I don’t think I have witnessed anything as thrilling as the sight of the supermoon in the recent times, life being so uneventful. I guess the best part was the feeling to go on gazing at it as if its magic is enough to lighten up your entire being. I think that's when my I remembered my all time favourite "Yellow Moon" and needless to say as with old favourites, these play in the head from beginning to end, with each word, right in its place. 

About the lovebirds, she doesn't sing anymore as she lost him some years back and her favourite way of spending sleepless nights is her constant prayers for death and asking for the priest to give the holy sacrement. Recently, when I was giving her food, she noticed the newspaper and asked me "Has my name come in the obituary today?" 


The Wanderer





 

This heart has been a wanderer who loves to ramble and find ways where none existed before. It never understands the wisdom of other’s words nor can it choose anything other than what it wants for itself. Sometimes, it creates raging fires in places where a soft little word would have done.

Not that there were no mazes in the olden days. There were many that it burnt down or flew past, though not with a victorious smile or swelling pride but with quiet equanimity; it didn’t have much left behind to boast of.

For years, it has searched for beauty in all places- in the serenity of nature, in the spontaneity of a child’s smile, or in the most beautiful thoughts where it has always dwelt. It has often wandered in the serenest places on earth, where it took in with amazement, the feeling of being so minute in a huge beautiful world. Sometimes, it has wandered alone, partly to its dismay and partly to create a pride in solitude. There were also times, when in another wanderer’s eyes, it read solace, warmth and strange delight.

A new strength came from a kindred spirit in whose eyes, the world was made anew or paths made merrier with zesty songs and bright sunshine. With a soulmate, an anam cara, it has often dreamt of wandering again through the same mazes differently.Though there might be new invites from around, the cascading waterfalls, the beautiful mountain-tops, the endless beaches or beautiful fields of green delight, it needs a soul friend to listen to its endless amazement.

Though there might not be many words and many hurdles to jump over, this heart still wants to watch the stars fade away all along with its soul companion.Often it dreams of flights across all its mazes just to find solace in the comfort of a friend and at times, it feels that the time has passed and the magic gone. Despite of constant mistakes while wandering, it seeks within itself an answer, to wait patiently for its dream to come back again.

May be this heart would hum a new song or dance a new dance, a never-seen wonder of rejoice when it comes home, all safe in the arms of its soul friend. Till that day, this wanderer searches on weary faces a semblance of its dream, feels down when it finds nothing common and ends every journey with heavy feet and grim thoughts. Yet, with a spring of delight it waits on every corner just to see what surprise life holds in its sudden trips and turns, turning a deaf ear to the noises that are around it the whole time. 





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