Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Walk the talk

Oh, how I love walking! I have been told by all and sundry that I am thin and bony and that I shouldn't love walking too much. I always chose to ignore when people tell me that. With an excellent, well planned locality near by (Anupuram township) and the beautiful sunrise and sunset near the coastline to take in, walking acquires a whole new adventurous and enjoyable clout.

Here, in Great Lakes, over the last few months, walking has become almost everyone's routine. I obviously don't walk for the sake of burning excess calories though most people here walk precisely to achieve that. 

There are some simple pleasures in life that one should enjoy when one can, and walking with a like minded person or rather, with somebody who takes an interest in what you talk about and contributes too, is an irresistible proposition to me.

I would always remember, years down the line -

  • The manner in which the round orange sun suddenly fell sharply down and disappeared into the west, beyond the gaps between thickly grown trees
  • The awesome taste of ginger tea we sometimes had on the way back from one of our walks
  • How, the mist slowly cleared on lazy mornings, only to reveal tree leaves with dew drops on them
  • The chirping of the birds as they woke up and looked around in all curiosity
  • The myriad expressions on my friend's face as we discussed some sundry topic that suddenly interested both of us
  • The manner in which conversation easily flowed between us, jumping from one topic to the next, almost akin to a clear flowing stream with nothing hindering its way
  • The ease with which we exchanged views, agreeing here, slightly disagreeing there, assimilating here, rejecting there...
  • The pervasive innocence of the whole experience that cannot be easily explained - the locality, the quietness, the topics we discussed, the weather all combining to give a poetic touch overall...
 I wish I can go on and on talking about this...such are the simple pleasures of life. They are so simple, that, we rarely bother about them, but their space in our subconscious is so significant that, once we make an effort to recollect/relive them, they make for some of the most vivid remembrances!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What is beauty?

14-03-2011, 10.45 PM, a group of 8 young men and women after a sumptuous dinner at Radisson temple bay, Mahabalipuram, walk to the beach. There is no sound except that of the waves. Pure foamy white in parts and colorless otherwise, like a beautiful slithering animal, the waves ceaselessly and with a certain ferocity, grace the coastline. The sight in the half moon light is breathtakingly beautiful. 

A feast for the eyes - the unending waves ahead and heavenward, clouds billowing, revealing the moon, every now and then.

A constant roar to the ears, at once soothing and a little frightening, as if, a gentle domesticated monster is singing a lullaby.

The smell, taste and feeling, all, a little salty, with the wind carrying the salt from the sea and spraying it all along the shore. 

This is the very definition of beauty. If someone asks me now, I can say, I experienced beauty for a whole 15 minutes, albeit very briefly, but highly intoxicating.

What is beauty?

An exaltation of the spirit when it is in communion with nature...
A priceless experience when all the senses are heightened in a sweet anticipation...

An enormous void, just lying beyond a high precipice, falling into which, one experiences nothingness!

A brief period when every thought gets clouded out, when the mind forgets to think and enters a suspended state, just observing, without any judgment!
A poetic interlude when art reaches its zenith before it regains its pitiful ordinariness...

A short time, when happiness reigns supreme and the soul rejoices and dances to an internal rhythm...

Beauty begins to fade the moment, we try to hold on to it, for, precisely, at that very moment, it eludes us. It is not something that can be possessed; rather, it is the one that possesses us. Instead of enjoying and reveling in each of those brief encounters, we commit the mistake of trying to latch on to them. In our eagerness to possess, we dread its loss. We don't want to let it go and hence, enter a cycle that frustrates us. 

Why is it that, we just cannot let beauty be? We want to lord over it, be its master and intend holding its reins...when we develop the capacity to appreciate it without trying to hold on to it, we can experience it in every moment. This, to me, is a huge learning, made possible by one of the most wonderful evenings in my life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An appeal to Women on International Woman's day

Over the last few days, dailies have been abuzz with articles on International Woman's day. Quoting a psychologist and relationship therapist, one of the articles in Times Life, said, "I think Women have to fight an internal battle to ensure that they gain victory over their own tendency to misuse and abuse the concept of feminism. We need to fight against gender inequality and that includes women's reservations too. To ask for special privileges is to concede that we are a weaker gender. This is against the very spirit of feminism." 

There can be a debate on what feminism exactly is and whether men can be labeled feminists at all! Well, any movement that promotes rights for women and gender equality needs to involve men too as stakeholders and participants. However, the key lies in achieving a balance where men feel comfortable espousing equal rights for women and the concept of equality, per se, is defined correctly. Men of today are for the most part, used to the fact that a woman can be independent and professionally, achieve the laurels that they truly deserve. 

However, here is an appeal to women to introspect -
  • If a guy says, "I am a guy, hence I deserve it/I have a right to it", he is termed a MCP. (I don't need to expand this, it is apparently quite a popular abbreviation) So, please think before saying, "I am a girl, hence I need it/deserve it/am entitled to it" It doesn't harbor pleasant feelings in Men.
  • Don't stereotype Men. While men can be lechers, molesters, rapists, please understand that not all men are. By perpetuating a narrow stereotype of men, women don't do any good either to fellow women or to the larger society of which men are also a part of! If men are getting used to the fact that women can perform certain tasks equally well, women should not, depending on convenience, get away by saying, "You are a man, hence please take more responsibility/plan/arrange etc" That is so old fashioned and believe me, can get some guys, incensed! 
  • Don't support gender reservations of any color. Unless it is a contest for "The most beautiful person" or "The most strongest person", most contests in life can be won by either gender.  (Here, we mean physical beauty and physical strength alone, not beauty of the soul or emotional strength, though there can be exceptions here too!) Unless women themselves are confident about this fact, it is difficult to proceed far. 
  • Get used to less chivalry from men - don't expect them to open the door, pull the chair and the like. A man can do it occasionally to bring a smile to a woman's face, but expecting it as a norm is simply not in! I am not trying to say, all women expect either!
 Wishing all women, a happy international woman's day!! Comments are most welcome.