It was a Sunday. I, my mother and my brother left our hotel in Bangalore( Bengaluru) early morning at about 6 a.m. for Mysore(Mysuru). It would be a three hour drive to the city of Mysore. We drove through the highway witnessing the almost barren hills dotted with huge stones jutting out from them. Though it was the month of October, it was quite warm. The weather was clear and the sky was an azure blue. After about a drive of about one and half hours we stopped to have breakfast at a roadside dhaba. We had hot puris and potato curry along with tea. After having breakfast we again started on our onward journey to Mysore. We spotted the Srirangapatna Fort and prayed at the Rangaswamy temple. We also stopped at the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan and feasted our eyes on the beautiful paintings and the other displays of weapons of the days of yore.
For lunch, we had sumptuous chicken biryani and Mysore pak( a sweet dessert). We visited the magnificent Mysore Palace. We then went shopping and bought several silk sarees and picked up some sandalwood mementos for our friends and relatives back home. It was evening when we started our journey back to the city of Bangalore. We were tired when we reached our hotel but the journey was an enjoyable one.
I make a beautiful, peaceful transition from Saturday night to a Sunday morning. For I know that come Sunday and the day is mine to keep. I have perfect and complete hold over the day. It’s me time. I get up late in the morning and lazily pour out my cup of tea. Sipping the tea I lounge about the garden. I do a bit of pruning in the garden which a busy week do not allow me to do. The plants and the shrubs have been crying for my attention all week to keep them in shape. I oblige them this Sunday. They seem to be happy with my efforts. I prepare my favourite dishes for lunch. They taste great and makes me happy. I tidy up the mess in the house and take bath. I spend a quiet afternoon; reading with some soothing music playing in the background. It feels like I am in an other world, away from the din and bustle of everyday life. I wish I was so relaxed everyday of my life. Evening comes and I dress up to go shopping with my friends. We buy the clothes and ornaments for a wedding to be solemnized in the near future. We had decided to look beautiful and trendy for the wedding. I end the night dining with my friends in a restaurant; chattering on without a care in the world.
A man is the provider. A woman is the homemaker. These roles have changed dramatically through the years. Women have forayed into the traditionally held male bastion. And she has been successful at that. Nowadays she is the provider as also the nurturer. But do the change in roles bring about a change in the essential characteristics of a woman?
Men and women are two completely different creatures. They have the same emotions and characteristics but to a varying degree. A man acts tough. He is at times dominant. A woman is strong but lovingly so. She is fragile and vulnerable at times. This does not take away from her beauty but adds to her essence. A woman decorates, takes care of her children and her home. In the new age women have stepped out of her house to earn a living but she has maintained her basic traits of being caring and loving. A woman looks best when she retains her original character in spite of going out into a man’s world. It is best that way. After all men and women were created to be different. This difference adds to the beauty of this world.
A feeling of weariness has overcome me these last few days. I seem to stumble upon ideas and feelings which do not take me to a place of light but rather pushes me into an area of darkness. But darkness is not where I want to dwell. I do not want to be shackled by it. I want to be free and soar into the kingdom where the divine resides. I want to experience heavenly bliss. I would then surely get out of this paralysis which has set in my mind and my heart. Numbed thoughts and listless feelings would then be replaced by a season of the most uplifting sensations. I would feel alive and well once again.
I would endure this lassitude for once and no more. This stillness would very soon give way to inspiration and merriment.
I waded through this morning dreaming glorious dreams. I sleepily open my eyes as streaks of light announces a new day. I see fairies in the slowly brightening morning light. I see their fleeting images as they fly about the room and then vanish with the rising day. I get up and dip my feet in the wet grass ridden with dew. I witness the blooming trees and the nectar hungry butterflies. I smell a few flowers. What freshness! What a feeling of calm!
The day brightens. I walk through the woods looking for adventure. I see one or two rabbits scurrying about the bushes. Would I stumble upon some ” Alice in Wonderland ” sort of adventure if I follow one of the rabbits? I walk on. The woods are bathed in light and darkness as the sun rays seep in through the trees and the trees cast shadows on the woods. I hear the hum of bees. I hear the birds chirping. I hear the singing of angels.
It is evening. I lie on the grass and look up to the sky. The sky is reddened with the last rays of the dying sun. Stars peep out in the sky. Suddenly a shooting star appears and it dies. I make a wish. I lie on the grass for some more time. I try to discern the different shapes the clusters of stars make. I breath in the cool night air. I am fascinated. I get up and take the long walk to my home.
Over the years so many things have made life livable and beautiful for me. Everyday the flowers in the garden beckon to me and put a smile on my face. I like flowers of all hues and varieties. Just as I like the spring and the rainy season. So many memories are attached to these seasons. Childhood memories of floating paper boats in puddles of rain water. Memories of the colourful burst of blossoms in the University campus. Books, music and movies have been my favorite companions. There is no any pleasurable thing for me than reading a good book and being immersed in it. Music fulfills my soul and movies are an escape from the real world. I like paintings and am fond of feasting my eyes on them.
I love travelling to different places. Spending my holidays in a new and unknown place is exciting and is a balm to my frayed nerves. I love good food. My love of food plays havoc with my weight. But then it’s alright. This is just one life. I like dressing up and I like jewelry. I feel a good dressing sense brings out the feminine qualities in a woman. It sharpens those qualities. I like decorating my house. I find a quiet satisfaction in the fact that my house looks gorgeous and welcoming.
I dislike uncouth and bad mouthed people. I dislike back bitters. I am not too fond of gossip mongers. I don’t trust them. I dislike persons who are too selfish and are opportunists to the hilt. I dislike untidiness and uncleanliness.
The readiness to belong is ingrained in us. It is natural for us to belong to a particular caste, community, religion. In office we belong to a particular group of colleagues. In college we belong to a certain group of our peers. In a group we chat, gossip, indulge in some form of entertainment together. One is not expected to act individually. One has to follow the group. It is sacrilegious to act outside of the group. If you do you do not belong to the group anymore. You will be treated like an outsider. You will be chided for betraying the group.
It is a wonderful feeling to have a sense of belonging to some group. It is very convenient. This itself is a somewhat narrow concept. Why remain confined in a particular group when you can embrace new people and new ideas. Why should we allow ourselves to be dictated upon by the members of a group. We are all free to choose whom we want to stay with and form a bond with. The act of belonging should not be so overpowering as to maraud our individual wishes. The act of belonging should not be so strong that it wipes away our courage not to belong and keeps us perpetually in fear of the consequences of not belonging.
Tomorrow India celebrate its Independence Day. Today I remember a time when as a child my father took me to the state function to witness the Independence Day parade. Years later, as a civil servant, I had the duty of organizing the function at the district in which I was posted. The preparations for the Independence Day function including the parade and the cultural programme that followed it would start one month before. I carried out my responsibility in the most mechanical manner seeing to it that there were no last minute glitches. On that particular day I would wake up at the break of dawn and rush to the parade ground to oversee the function. I do everything without much emotion and to the best of my abilities. It was only when the national anthem was played and the national flag was being hoisted that a strong feeling of patriotism enters my mind and touches my heart. I know then that the love for my country still resides in my heart.
It is difficult to let go of things we hold dear to our hearts. Whether it is animate or inanimate things, we hold them close to us. “Letting Go”is an emotion which is difficult to give in to for most of us, even if it is for the betterment of things at hand. Parents find it hard when they have to let go of their children as the children form minds of their own. We hold on to old and irrelevant ideas and fail to allow the new and relevant ideas to take their place. Lovers hold on to their loved ones, never wanting them to leave their sight whereas a more graceful, benign love would be more attractive. We clutter our houses with things which have gone unused for years together but we won’t part with them for they have become a part of us. In all cases, the important mantra is to let go of things a little bit in order to have a peaceful, more wholesome life.
Pondering on the aspect of relationships, I am most happy when I am transported to my childhood and its illusions of perfect relationships. When things were absurdly simple and not complicated enough. When one could enjoy a parent’s love as a feeling of love only and with no other feelings mixed with it. A brother’s love or for that matter a sister’s love was pure and unburdened by any other emotions. You could jump around and play with your friends, spitting laughter and glee without a care because it was unhindered friendship. Friendship, not eclipsed by any of the selfishnesses.
The entire burden of relationships starts when we become so called “grown ups”. Then relationships pull us in all directions and there is a flowering of resentment, jealousy and ill feelings amongst people. At times these relationships give us wondrous joy and in other times they give us stinging pain. This happens to everyone as we complicate our lives by and by and in and out. We become a bundle of contradictions.