The past 3- 4 months, it has been the trend of getting re-acquainted with old friends. Since college, life has been happening and in the midst of it all, I seem to have lost touch with most of my good friends…  all scattered in different corners of the country or even world..

When a moment of pause occurred  during the making of life’s lemonades and other cocktails… it was with lot of fondness and nostalgia, that I went back and soaked in the memories. Missing their company, the laughter but taking solace in the remembered warmth. Moments of joy spent with friends have always strengthened me to be a better person…

There is something about the company of like minded souls… who come together and boost each other up. I  keep wishing to meet souls like this always… and when I find them I know I have received a gift.

Laughter is something I found from a very young age that breaks all barriers.. shared laughter of the good kind… of the pure joy kind… of the pure understanding kind… without words…

So thanks to the digital media I have reconnected with many of those souls who have made a positive impact in my life… and last couple of months its been a deluge … of reconnect…

School friends, college friends… and friends who just remembered me… for whatever reason..

And yes meeting them offline… has been so soul warming… even though I know its transitory.. I cherished each moment… Offline life matters… its so real… 🙂 Sharing our scars, our battle weary stories, laughing at our innocence with a sigh… the unconditional empathy… its all real and we need this to thrive..

Its difficult to find good friends after a certain age… I might be biased but I have found that.. to be true in my case… lots of suppositions, judgements and comparisons.. social elements at work… spouse, working, not working, marriage, baby, what you do, where you live, what you wear… what use you can be, how you can be used is what the souls are looking for… its very rare to find someone who bothers to ask you how YOU are… for the genuineness of wanting to connect with you… irrespective of what you have or dont have..

And I dont blame them… I just feel sad that the importance of unconditional human connections are slowly dying..

I remember back home, in the eighties and nineties, where there was no media interfering much… when people used to genuinely care for each other.. and their neighbors… yes we had them odd ones , but I know when that odd family was in trouble the whole neighbourhood would come together to help them.  I grew up like that.. as I am sure many did during that time..

If someone was alone, the neighbors would go and have a chat just to make sure he is not alone..

If that person was a recluse, neighbors would avoid him, but still keep a watchful eye.. to ensure that he was not sick or anything.. I know but they did it..

Neighbors dropped in to share good news or bad news and come together in joy or support of each other… without pulling each other down.. oh yes, we had them jealous ones, but it was avoidable…

It was common… this way of living… No Longer so….  !!!

Today, the very art of interpersonal interaction seems to have been erased. Being replaced by only the art of taking, the art of subterfuge, the art of harsh judging, the art of violence, the art of insult, the art of not living and not letting others live.. is more prevalent.. , the art of not caring, the art of sense lacking in common sense.

I accept the sad evolution… but I cannot help but compare… since I saw a different phase in our human society in the small town where I grew up… and I miss that…

In this time, when I met my old friends and when we connected, I was transported to the sheer joy of just hanging out with someone without any prejudices and just being…

It is important to have these souls around me… as it nourishes me… it rejuvenates me, it gives me hope, and it gives me a sense of belonging in its own unique way…

Friendship though a very simple aspect, for me, its very impactful and this post is dedicated to all my good friends… who have been responsible for wanting to keep on thriving… rather than just surviving…

just at the point, when I was losing the whole faith in simple friendship, the universe sent the beautiful souls to me reminding me of the fact that if you seek, that uniqueness is always there…  its always good to know that its there… and people are there… goodness exists without condition.. 🙂 and I love the gentle nudges of their faith in me… makes my faith in myself become stronger…  ( not that I am dependent but I always feel nice to be part of a warm circle of acceptance… who does not ?? 🙂 )

I am grateful…. thats all…

 

Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Karma-Sannyasa Yoga
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 1
Arjuna said: O Krishna, You talk of the renunciation of action (sannyasa) but then again, You also speak of karma-yoga (the way of selfless action). Please tell me clearly, which of the two is best?
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 2
Bhagavan Shri Krishna replied: Both renunciation of action (sannyasa) and the performance of selfless action (karmayoga) give the highest benefit. Yet, of the two, the path of selfless action is higher than the renunciation of action.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 3
O mighty-armed one, you should understand that one who is free of hatred and material desires is a true renunciate (sannyasi). He is beyond duality and is easily liberated from material bondage.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 4
Those who are immature and devoid of knowledge state that the path of renunciation and the path of karma-yoga are different. However, one who follows either of these paths perfectly achieves the results of both.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 5
That state which is achieved by renunciation is also attained by karma-yoga. One who sees these two systems as one and the same actually sees things as they are.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 6
O mighty-armed one, without karma-yoga, renunciation is a cause for misery. However, that wise man that performs karma-yoga quickly attains the Absolute Truth.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 7
One who is pure engages in karma-yoga and controls the mind and senses. Although he engages in action, he is never contaminated and he is filled with love for all living beings.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 8-9
One who is a knower of the truth, although he is engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, talking, evacuating, accepting objects and blinking the eyes, realizes that all his sense-functions are interacting with the respective sense-objects. Therefore, he thinks, “I am not doing anything.”
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 10
One who gives up all attachments and acts by offering all his actions unto the Supreme is never contaminated by any impiety, just as a lotus leaf is never touched by water.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 11
By giving up all attachments, the karma-yogi performs actions though the medium of the body, mind, intelligence and senses simply for the purpose of self-purification.
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 12
The karma-yogi, giving up the results of his actions, attains everlasting peace. However, the selfish worker being attached, desires the results of his actions and therefore becomes ensnared.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 13
By mentally renouncing all actions, a sense-controlled living being can happily reside within the material body, neither acting nor causing others to act.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 14
The Absolute Truth does not create anyone’s sense of proprietorship, one’s actions or the result of those actions. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 15
The Super Consciousness does not accept anyone’s pious deeds or their impious deeds. Living beings are bewildered because their knowledge is covered by ignorance.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 16
Yet for those whose ignorance has been destroyed by knowledge of the self, their knowledge, like the rising sun, reveals the Supreme Truth.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 17
Those whose ignorance has been removed by knowledge, whose intelligence is absorbed in the Supreme, who contemplate the Supreme, who are fixed in Him alone and who sing His glories, never take birth again.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 19
The cycle of birth and death has been conquered by those whose minds are fixed in meditating on the Absolute Truth, even while living in this world. Being faultless and possessing divine equanimity, they are situated in the Supreme.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 20
Being situated in the Absolute Truth, having fixed intelligence and being devoid of ignorance, one who knows the Supreme never rejoices when he attains pleasant things, nor laments upon obtaining unpleasant things.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 21
One whose mind is detached from external pleasures experiences the happiness found in the self. Connecting himself with the Absolute, he attains unlimited bliss.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 22
Those pleasures that are born in connection with the sense-objects give rise to misery. They have a beginning and an end. Therefore, O son of Kunti, a wise man finds no satisfaction in the senses and sense-objects.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 23
Before giving up this present body, if one is able to control the senses and the impulses that arise from lust and anger, one becomes self-satisfied. Such a person is a true yogi.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 24
One who finds happiness and bliss within and who is enlightened within is a perfect yogi. He attains the transcendental platform and achieves liberation.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 25
Yogis who are free from vice, self-controlled, whose doubts have been removed and who are engaged in welfare work for all living beings, attain liberation in the Supreme.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 26
Those sannyasis who constantly endeavor for perfection, who have controlled their minds, who are self-realized and who are free from lust and anger, soon achieve liberation in the Supreme.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 27-28
The yogi who shuts out the external sense-objects and fixes his concentration between the eyebrows, stabilizing the inward and outward breaths that flow through the nostrils and thus controls the senses, the mind and intelligence, is dedicated to the attainment of liberation. He is never bound by desires stemming from lust, fear and anger and is certainly always liberated.
 
Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 5 – Verse 29
One attains peace by knowing Me to be the original enjoyer of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Controller of all the planets, and the benefactor and friend of all living beings.
 
 
 
That moment coming back from my Yoga classes, when you get ***toinked*** by a taxi and he wants to push off his other damages as well by my head.
 
Nope I did not do anything.. just was waiting there as usual waiting to turn left.. listening to my favorite Geetmala and Vividbharati… on the radio…. Chanda o Chanda ( one of my favorite songs )
 
Over the hummming and swinging to the beautiful beat …. suddenly I hear this CRUNCHSSHHH… I pause my heart dancing .. And then I hear another… CRACK And CRUNCH…
 
No no no no …. What the &*#*^# 😱😱😮😮😮😣😣😣😣😣
I peek out and realise that this ETIOS Cab had somehow inserted his left wheel against my back right Wheel and then while reversing.. his car’s front fender was damaged… SHIT… 😣😣😣
 
Timing – Bad 😤 7:00 PM
Area – Fraught with Cabbie Unions😭😢😢😰😰
Traffic Police on Duty – Waiting to take the weak one’s trip…
Cop Car on Duty – Just near me… 😕😟😟😟😨😨
 
I take deep breaths… Inhale — Exhale..
Channeling the YOGINI in me… I calm my sense of hopelessness and wait…
 
I slowly open the door to assess damages and work on a smooth exit strategy…
 
The traffic police all excited… : Take to the Left side Please
I do so..
The cab also comes by and blocks my exit from behind so that I cannot escape… Well… 🤭🤭🤭🤭 I have plans..
 
So I slowly go and talk to him..
Start with a “tumba sorry line”… he is befuddled with my “sorry face”… and I request him take 500 INR and fix it.
 
He is like : I have to talk to the owner..
He yaps on the phone with the owner… ( its 8:00 PM)
And he gets back saying, I have to fix the car ASAP… he does not know… anything..
 
I say well where do I fix it.. he does not know…
then he starts pulling the fender… I was like DUDE why are pulling it … 😟😤😟
 
He is like… no this damaged… this fender is worth 9000 INR and you are giving me 500 INR..
I am like… its just a nudge and not a scratch…
 
I then take him through my Bolero,… buying some time telling him how easily it can be fixed.. I mean… DUH..
I give him some gyan about crumple zones… and shit… tell him stories about how we fix our own car when we have small problems… and blah blah… 
 
NOPE… he wants the car fixed…
 
The police… starts talking to him in Kannada…
I interrupt him… then in Telegu, I interrupt him in Telegu…
 
He was basically trying to cut a side deal with that cabbie.. I was not having it… NO SIR… you messin’ with the wrong woman… I may be puny and look like
“Puss in Boots” with tiny arms and legs… but no no no… 😠😠😠 no you don’t get to take one on me…
 
He looks “down” at me… and says.. : MADAM(aaa) – aapko kya bhasah aata… ( in a very heavy South Indian Accent)
 
Me very sweetly : Ella Bhasha baratte… neevu heli… Kannada Gottu… ?? With a typical hand gesture we do here in kannada 😛
 
Immediately… – he snapped up straight…
 
NOW the talk begins… Enter Police drama…
 
Go here, go there… I know mechanic… etc etc..
I listen… patiently.. then he says.. he has duty… blah blah.. the cabbie is a good guy.. help him… I am like yeah buddy… all good..
 
Cabbie : he keeps going and pulling the fender… I am like — SOmething is not right.. why is he doing that.. does he want to show that its more damaged than it is… 
 
Slowly while the police tries to “convince” me… i walk around and MY OH MY… His right side is totally crashed out… And he wants me to repair the whole damn thing… he thought I could not see in the dark…
 
GOTCHA…. 🧐🧐🧐 ( inhale and exhale – exit strategy planned) I clearly say I am not going to pay for the fender … he says – no madam… only left side…
 
I am like.. Yeah Macha… you go the the mechanic and he will fix only one side.. WAAAHHH ( I think I look like a looser by now hahahah if he thinks that I am buying that )
 
I again sincerely tell him that I will give him 500 INR.. Take it and go and we are both happy.. Cop is looking at both of us.. thinking… oh no… how will I earn my money…
 
Meanwhile the cop takes me aside and gives me philosophy of how everyone’s time is being wasted…
I am like… But i have lot of time…
What is time ? Time is nothing.. it slips..by just like that..
Today its bad time for me tomorrow bad time for you… and the ups and down… blah blah… till he was like 😵😵😵😵
I gently tell him to go do his duty.. while I fix it..
 
NOPE… he wants his “time” = “money” now both are making calls…
 
Enough is enough… : I need to give up the YOGINI… now..
 
BANG… — This Evirl me had it… since no solution and I was being had… with cheese in between…
 
I tell them OK I will fix it… or at least try… Let me call my “husband”
 
Both of them again look at me ” HUH” 
Oh and by now, the cabbie is speaking in very good English with me.. The cop and cabbie watching me expectantly..
 
Yeah 10 mins… (Told Rocks to get another “expert” with cabbie language and culture)
 
The moment they come in, I am like.. smiling sweetly… and they now have to look up… BUAHAHHAAH it was fun… 
All the while they looked “down” at me… thinking… what a pest.. I am sure 😛
Rocks immediately checks our car…  Which by the way I had kept it for later… and then he also sees that the cabbie’s fender is badly damaged and he wanted to ride on us, by having us fix that…
Our dear friend who is well versed.. quickly takes charge… with the lingo and the authority to which the cabbies respond to…. and offers him 500 INR.. He assesses the damage to be 200 INR..
NOPE… the cabbie is adamant…
He and Rocky send me home : while they tell him to follow Rocks so that he can keep the car…
And WHOOSH after a while, they disappear…  not intentionally but well the cab could not keep up with the good old shop’s kinetic honda… The bike waits for the cab to appear but well……
Lost in Motion I guess… :P:P:P
BUhahahahahah …. EVIRL LAUGH
Lesson :
  • Be calm and speak their language and keep negotiating… and distracting if needed… 😛
  • Be genuine.. without giving away any weakness.. no shouting or crying…
  • its good if you understand the language…
  • Know your adversary : are you being *** toinked**** ?? double check…
  • Have a back up plan… my secret ammunition was our good old friend… who knew the ropes…
  • Go home and chill out…
 

Right from the time we know how to dream, we have these things that we want to do..

I remember as a child the first thing that I craved to do was the have a bite of chocolates.. more because my Dad had forbidden the consumption of chocolates till after I was five years.

The other yearning I would have was to be outdoors… just walking aimlessly, kinda getting lost without getting lost.. I was very young mind you and at that time, going out alone was out of the question… and I would look out of my hill house window at the pine trees and wonder how it would be to walk around like the adults too with that air of purpose…

Then I remember the urge to have a taste of the big hailstones that would gather during those heavy hailstorms…

As I grew up, my dreams increased, my wishes grew and one by one… with the help of some magical powers, the wishes were fulfilled….

Even through turbulent times, the wishes remained entrenched… doubts would not be allowed to enter that space of dreams..  🙂

In keeping with that context… food is an essential part of my life… just like creating, music, books, movies and so on… I use many mediums to keep inspiring myself.. .

One of the root path of my life is to keep learning.. and never stop… once I learn, I want to learn more…. it could be in any part of my life… learn from books, people, experience and my own self discovery…

Food and cooking is something like art to me.. it relaxes me and also helps me nourish myself.. Recently I have been on a journey to discover more and more homemade and saatvic food as part of including into my staple diet… something which i can do from scratch, have fresh and without any artificial add ons.

Hence my wishes grew…

At a very gross level, I had a couple  of things I want to do… in terms of food.

  • Learn how to bake like an expert – Make some specific items… I have in mind.. 🙂 .. – Work in progress.
  • Learn how to make Biryani like an expert muslim mother… feeding her family lovingly… nothing fancy but which nourishes the soul..  (Don’t ask me why… but I somehow pictured a loving mom preparing this amazingly awesome biryani and feeding her family with immense joy and satisfaction – love shining out forth while her family enjoys the feast… – And I wanted to cook like that… and learn from someone like that … directly or indirectly – Somehow I knew that if i modelled the whole process, the biryani would turn out magic…  and the search was on… and EUREKA… I did finally find that elusive picture and recipe which just FIT in my being )  – BANG I had a biryani which I wanted to make anytime.. and I ticked that off my list..
  • Make a Burger like the way I like it but with millet – Work in progress
  • Make crepes the way I like it…  – Am exploring this as well…  the Indian… Work in progress.
  • And many more – the points keep adding.. ….

When I was a child, I would always wonder at my friends mother making such amazing pickles. My family did not make pickles. Mom was a working woman and did not have the time or the patience to do that and neither did my aunts..  I learnt other ways of cooking from them later…  but pickles… was like store bought…  And our house was not big on pickles either..

When I would go visiting my ancestral village, there would be lines and lines of pickle jars which my father’s sister would put in the sun. I would love tasting them when she would let us have it.

Sour Lemon Pickle - Made with only Salt, Chilli powder and lemon juice... Zero oil. Can be eaten after 3-4 days of resting..

Sour Lemon Pickle – Made with only Salt, Chilli powder and lemon juice… Zero oil. Can be eaten after 3-4 days of resting..

My curiosity was piqued from those days and I had this deep desire to learn how to make them.  And I waited for an opportunity.. It had to be right time. After marriage, I had my in-laws side gifting me with homemade pickles and they taught me some as well since it was so simple.. They knew my love for the sweet and sour and hot homemade pickles…

I knew it took time and season and it was a different space of creating altogether… So I kept collecting pickles from sources around.. searching for them in my travels and digging out women who made them by hand and bought from them at the farmer’s markets and so on. North, South, East and West, a tiny part of my journey was to always taste their unique pickles unobtrusively whenever I got the chance… and that journey continues..

Rocky having the art of creating in food in common with me also dabbled in a few pickles with success… He knew I loved them… so well… And I waited… to make the one that I liked most..

Fast Forward to now.. – While doing yoga teacher’s course, I had this wonderful yogi colleague who was selling pickles made by her mom.

And the ones that I loved… Sweet and Sour Lemon, Sweet Chilli Pickle and so on. WHAM…

 

My urge to master this was reborn again…. and this time… I thought I will do it…

Thanks to technology and many videos, I chose the one that suited me best… and worked on 4 different pickles.

  1. Raw Mango Instant pickle – easy to make and consume – remains fresh and has very few ingredients.
  2. Lemon Salt and sour Pickle – one we have with curd rice… this is without adding any hot oil and again extremely simple..
  3. Lemon Sweet and sour Pickle – this was my main item – I loved it and it gets better with age… I went the natural way rather then using the shortcuts. It will take 20 to 25 days…  And its looking good now..
  4. Sweet and hot chilli pickle –  I loved it but this was a big failure… will try again.. 🙂  ( the weather was not conducive to the process )

 

I have to try the instant sweet and sour pickle.. which does not need the resting time… anyways, next time..

And Viola….  there you have it dear blog, another point off my bucket list..  🙂

Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened. – Billy Graham

As we grow older into our years.. there are lots of events that we as humans tend to go through.  Every event does a take away or adds a little to make you into a better you or a worse you.

My objective has been always to live with intention and not out of habit and everytime, I come across events in my life… the first thought before any action I undertake is consciously examine the intention…

So cancer has been kind of a common friend the past few years where I have lost may souls and sometimes, I just shunned the whole process of pain which my friends went through it. Even when they discussed with me, the focus for me was to ease them out of their state and have them focus on something light other than the whole process…

As my roommate went from one step to the next, my heart would beat faster and faster till I wanted to shut down the whole thing and I knew she was slipping away and yet… I held on …. for some fragments of the gross body I knew of her… till I lost her completely…. it was exhausting, went on a fine guilt trip after that… for not being more kinder… or more understanding… .sigh…

And slowly the counts of cancer increased in the space of friends and relatives I knew… and I intended that I will have to be just there…. for the ones that wanted me… it was a learning phase… some lived, some passed on.. I desperately held on to compassion through joy and tears…

And just when I thought I was getting there… I had another close friend go through a very advanced stage and this time the lesson was staring me at my face…  everything that I was telling myself.. went for a toss.. and I started the whole process of anger… ( knowing that there was no reason and yet… ) Denial… being fatalistic… and even rebellion… life not just being fair and all that … feeling of helplessness, a strange chaos growing inside me… and I can only express in copious tears… which just does not end… how long.. and what is the intention I need to keep to face this again… coz compassion was not helping me… this time…

But I must tell you, my courageous and very strong friend taught me new lessons of resilience, strength, and quiet courage… and how we can flow continuously despite the obstacles… and I took courage from her… everytime now I think of anything… impossible,  this soul lights the way.. in her own way…

Sometimes, one thinks one has cracked it and when we feel comfortable.. BANG comes something to test all that we think that we have learnt and “know”

Wanted to put this down as a reminder… to myself that courage enhances wisdom.

From standing far, I stand with bowed head, admiring the courage of the souls who are going through similar process of living and coming out a winner… and raring to live joyfully despite all… and I pray that I have that courage to continue… to live…

When my will fades, its from these souls, I take the strength to move on and go forth…

Again, putting this down as part of my thoughts…my steps to live.. the days when there are no steps…

And my friend continues to fight… bravely…. and is recovering so fast and so well that I can only dance with thanks and joy for this blessing… prayers for the continuance of strength, courage, life and joy…

And as I hear of another friend just in the beginning of the battle… I stand still and imbibe a lot of courage from inside thanks to that beautiful soul… who taught me to swim through the tough waters through her own experience…. I just send her warmth and loads of love and prayers… that yes it will be alright… it will be alright….  Hold on.. and keep walking…

My thoughts are with you both and with all the souls who are going through similar experience…