Befriending procrastination

Surely, all of us are familiar with this famous black hole – the only one with a name that I can actually remember.

Procrastination is blamed for reducing productivity, negatively impacting mental health and for the one cardinal sin we should never commit – wasting time.

Unless you’re a master of your own mind and time (if you are, please, teach us all), there is at least one event concerning procrastination in everyone’s life that is either a funny anecdote or a story with a moral.

If you are familiar with my blog, you would know that I firmly believe in using all our traits – and I mean all of them. We are not one-dimensional beings made to forever laugh and smile and please those around us. We are human, and so-called negative impulses might be here to stay.

But perhaps procrastination is not such a bad thing after all.

Read more

Why we shouldn’t let our ancestors dictate what we should believe

“The older generations believed that shouldn’t be done. They say it’s not appropriate.”

No matter where you come from, you must have heard these words – often from well meaning elders or even your more conservative friends.

I heard that recently from one of the most open- minded, forward-thinking people in my life.

We were talking about how the wooden prayer cabinet in our home that housed our sculptures, texts and other prayer articles, was often referred to by my friends as a temple inside my home. He must have heard someone in the older generation say it shouldn’t have been so, and he shared that with me.

Read more

Where it starts

Farewell to anger — Palette Knife oil painting on canvas by Leonid Afremov

Anger is a constant and sometimes well-deserved companion in many of our lives, though it often serves as a double edged sword. Most often, we – the ones who unleashed said anger – end up being unhappy over that, which doesn’t help anyone.

While I have made many unsuccessful attempts to conquer this particular behavioral pattern, I’m now able to understand it better thanks to those failed undertakings.

Read more

Overhauls

Memes abound regarding how 2020 should never have happened, of how nice it would be if we could just rewind back to earlier days – simpler days, many would say.

There was quite a lot of sad news doing the rounds in the media in the past few days, and I don’t even have to brief anyone about it. The last sad news I saw was from my own country – the suicide of a young, promising movie star.

I’m not sure if I’m feeling the saddening news hit me harder now that I’ve lesser (but not more important) things to be busy with. All the same, the feeling is authentic, and as far as I know, it’s collective.

Lawful isn’t always right. Order isn’t always ideal. And complacency over our security isn’t always going to give true meaning to our lives.

The fact that this year has shaken up things and opened our eyes to things that matter is proof that it’s a year that we need to learn from.

Implicit racism, the total disdain for mental health, poor spending on medical infrastructure and the resultant breakdown of many pre-conceived notions – how else would we have spoken of these things, given we were comfortably ensconced in our own little bubbles?

Thank you, 2020.

May all of us learn well the lesson that you taught us and be better for it.

Breathe, and let it take time

Whatever our goals maybe, we have a tendency to urge it to speed up. To get there no matter what, and as quickly as possible.

That feeling of exultation, that freedom, it’s just something we want to experience as soon as we can. But when I look back, I see that each step of the journey has been a learning experience.

Like the petals of a flower unfolding slowly, this journey had to be undertaken one step at a time. Any faster, would have been an insult to the process of growth.

Some days weren’t pretty, but the dark days teach the important lessons. Difficult, but important. And when you go through them, you’re able to one day look back and smile at what it taught you, and how it made you stronger.

In this journey of life, you might change your destination sometimes. It needs not always be because you lost hope – but sometimes because your heart wishes to steer elsewhere.

But know that no matter what you choose and where you go, as long as you have faith in you, you will bloom. It may not happen overnight, but you certainly will.

And when you do, it will all be worth it.

Scent of Childhood

This is in response to the daily Discover Prompts. Go here to participate in today’s prompt – Scent.

There are many scents, flavors and sights that remind you of a certain time, place, person or thing and they just fill you with joy for the memory of that moment.

While I can point out a number of things that I hold close to my heart, that remind me of my relaxed, beautiful and secure childhood, I can certainly say the smell of books claims a very important place in that list.

Back then, we had no e-books, at least in my part of the world. The smell of books – whether it be the fresh scent of brand new pages or the comforting aroma of a book that has seen many heartened, emotional readers – is a distinct memory that I hold on to, many years later.

The current situation, while in no means pleasant, gave me the time to do the leisure reading I had wanted to do.

Read more

Orchestrating Life

In response to Discover Prompts. Go here to participate in today’s prompt, which is ‘Orchestrate’. 

My Mother’s love for plants translates into a plant presence wherever she can manage to place them without interfering with the aesthetics of a clean room (which is essential for Father). I was in the kitchen today, and as my gaze fell on this trio, I felt an urge to photograph them.

It must be the fact that they are so close together – yet so different, each with their own unique identity yet co-existing and adding on to their collective beauty. Very much like how tunes which are different from each other, come together to form one soothing melody.

Read more

A Culture of Gratitude

ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविः ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम् ।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ॥

Brahmarpanam brahma havir
Brahmagnau brahmana hutam
Brahmaiva tena gantavyam
Brahma-karma-samadhina

Many a time during my school days, this mantra (chant) used to sound in the background as we prepared to have lunch. It seemed especially long on the days when I knew my mother had packed something special – for there was not just the joy of having it, but also of sharing it with my friends. The true meaning of the chant – though it was duly provided in our school diary – was lost on me.

Read more

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Many thanks to Kim at Writer Side Of Life for nominating me. Do drop by, not just for her comprehensive book reviews but also for the simple, soothing style of expression. The love for books she has is so palpable, so fair warning – you may find yourself inundated by the desire to read endlessly. 🙂

The rules/guidelines:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.

2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.

3. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

4. Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

5. List the rules on your post and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Answers:

What is your favorite place in the world? 

I’m not sure I’m qualified to call any place in the world a favorite, primarily because I’ve seen so little of it.

At this point, I’ve a great many places I’d like to name, and I can’t really say that one of those is my favorite. Each of them fulfilled a need, answered a question or simply provided solace when I really needed it.

From a small wayside eatery to a temple on a mountaintop, they all have my love.

What do you want people to get out of your blog?

The Quill is an extension of the endless chatter inside my head. Filtered, but still, an extension of myself.

I want my blog to do the same thing to people as I hope to do for those around me. I want it to be something that brings a smile after a long day, an answer to a question or even something that has the power to inspire.

Cat person or dog person?

I don’t really have a preference. Both animals are intriguing and worthy of love, in their own ways.

I love the way cats do their ‘I’m the god, not you’ thing. I’ve never had a cat around for long (I’ve never had many pets, for that matter) but they always project an independence, a certain detachment, a callback to the fact that they are inherently wild and free.

But in the event that I’m dejected or depressed or just back home after a long day, I’d rather be welcomed by a dog. Somewhere, we all wish for a little heart-breaking loyalty in our lives, and dogs are perfect recipients because they give the same back to you.

Who is your best author?

Oh, I could name so many (I know, I’m so bad at favorites questions) but here are those who have almost defined the different stages of my life so far.

Enid Blyton, J K Rowling and C S Lewis – for giving me the most imaginative childhood. So many of my summer days were spent leafing through their books in the living room while my thoughts wandered about in Hogwarts and Narnia while munching on fresh scones.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – for that gentle transition from believing that our heroes can solve everything (even pre-teen heroes who have holiday homework) to the reality that even the sharpest and smartest have been slapped by failures.

Harper Lee – for ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Something based off real place and events and people, yet somehow it felt so absolutely magical.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – for a retelling of the epic Mahabharata through the eyes of its fiery female protagonist Panchaali. Even though I enjoyed the rest of her books, this particular work retains a special place. I can never pass it by without picking it up and going through a few pages here and there.

George R R Martin – for his complex characters, complex and intertwined plots that are a joy to trace, exquisite yet subtle symbolism and realistic fantasy. Oh, and dragons!

Mitch Albom and Paulo Coelho – for helping me find my way back to magic, because in the end, reality is just magic that we forgot how to behold.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Anything edible that is also within arm’s length.

As a child, what did you dream of doing for a living?

I always wanted to explore, go beyond, see and experience everything there was in the known world and even the unknown. I dreamed of being an astronaut, a journalist, a politician, a travel enthusiast. Oh, so many.

Most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?

Was also the most stupid thing I did, so I do hope you understand when I say I don’t really want it posted on a public platform, haha. ^^’

Would you trust a self-driving car?

As much as I would trust a personal computer or a mobile phone to keep my secrets. We are progressing towards a future that may well be dominated by artificial intelligence. Being comfortable with that might just become a need rather than a choice.

What’s the best thing about your own country?

That it teaches a person so much. Sometimes, being here is soothing. There are isolated spots where the past is so perfectly crystallized. And at other times, it’s like being scrubbed. The deafening sounds, the crowds and the heat.

India can teach a person so much – about adapting to circumstances, living in diversity and also about that fine balance between being guarded and being friendly.

Which 3 famous people would you invite for dinner? (Dead or alive)

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, whose words and deeds were talk of the town when I was a child. We often say greatness comes with simplicity, and here was someone who personified that.

Newt Scamander ( real enough to me ), because who wouldn’t love to hear about Nifflers and Thunderbirds over dessert?

Marilyn Monroe, so well known and yet so misunderstood.

What is your favorite quote?

The most recent favorite (the one I wrote an entire blog post about) would be : “Is it far from madness to wisdom?”

Nominations:

Ket Cage at Cynical Souls

Devoted and Divorced

Angel at Watch Your Life in Pictures

Thought After Thought

Perceptions Unplugged

themoonlightreverie

Objects, and the Distance Between Them

mamaasaladd

Symmetric Resonance

The Mind Connectory

50 first dates with myself

My questions to you: 

  1. If you could shuttle between now and at some point in the past or future, which event / historical period would you choose?
  2. White or black? And why?
  3. Do you think morality is relative, or is it absolute?
  4. Name one work of art that changed your life.
  5. A crazy monster is about to charge at you. Describe the funniest, most creative way you’re going to fight it and hold your ground (You can describe the monster too).
  6. Depict your blog in five numbers and explain why you chose them.
  7. Expand the following acronym so as to closely describe the most dominant side of your personality: ALACKRE
  8. You need to choose between a single page of wisdom and a whole blank book of a thousand pages. Which do you pick and why?
  9. What’s the best thing you love about yourself?
  10. You have the authority to declare that one day in the year be devoted to some special person/cause. What do you devote it to?
  11. You get one minute to talk to a powerful person/ entity. The entity will change whatever you want it to change, but you only get one minute to talk and no more. You only have one chance. What do you talk of?

You’ve got mail

Have you experienced that?

You would be going about your day’s work, sometimes absentmindedly worrying about everything that’s left to do, or about some problem that has been haggling at you for long.

Perhaps, and often it happens this way, you may not be thinking of these at all.

You were simply immersed in the moment, doing what you wanted, thinking of nothing else. Or maybe an innocent question popped up, that might have answered every question you ever had.

And then, somehow, you saw or read or heard something that did precisely that.

It’s so magical, and it fills me with so much wonder when that happens. Just a moment in a multitude of moments – yet it held a beautiful rapture that showed everything in a different light.

Read more