|Japi - Assamese headgear|
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
“I want to stand with you on a mountain, I want to bathe with you in the sea”, then it continues in my mind, just like a train of thoughts… “I want to lay like this forever, until the sky falls down on me…” Wondering what happened to me here? Well, for last few days, I have been noticing that I always wake up to a song, playing in my mind. Yes, this was the song that was playing in my mind when I got up in the morning a few days back and I was wondering why this song!
Getting in touch with my thoughts, I decided to notice if I get up with a song the next day too! And guess what? I did. A song was playing in my mind the next morning as well! It was an old Assamese song. “Ei phool phoolibor botore ahil, ei baa rib rib botah bolil” is not a very common song. But, the song kept playing in my head on and off throughout the day. Thankfully, it didn’t disturb in my daily work, chores or any normal functioning. I kind of liked it! So, I waited for the next morning’s song. Just to check, if I have one fresh song playing there again. I didn’t! Oh! I panicked! I don’t know why! It shouldn’t bother me, as it had happened just two days and it wasn’t like a habit or something that I can’t do without. It was a Sunday morning. Did I do anything different that had made me miss my song? I assumed it was because I had a late Saturday
night and went to sleep way past midnight.
Monday morning! It returns! The song? Arghhh!!!! It’s a Bollywood dance number - “Life ki naughty kahani, ye halkat jawani…” Gosh! Where that came from on a Monday morning? But secretly, I liked it. At least some song is better than no song. The day continued as a productive one. Today, I woke up to “Mujhe to teri lat lag gayi, lag gayi, Zamaana kahe lat yeh ghalat lag gayi” and the portion with “Mujhe to teri aa aa aa aah yeah, aaa aa aa aah yeah, Aahh aah aa aa Lat lag gayi” was particularly annoying. I think I have to stop watching music channels for a while. I don’t know why I always get stuck with these numbers! I even try to imitate the dance steps when nobody’s watching.
I hope tomorrow, some chanting plays in my mind! After all, that’s the kind of thing that should be playing in the mornings.
What song is playing in your mind now? Think and note the first song that comes to your mind. You are most welcome to share your song in the comments.
I was about to make a "to do" list for today. I have so much to do for my websites, magazines, household chores and so on…. I thought of doing the chores first so that I can focus on my real work (read: websites, magazines) more. Then this realization struck hard. The first to do in the chores list was to clean the dining table sparkling clean. It has a few spots on the glass and it bugs me. But then I thought, it will soon be time for lunch and one of us will drop something on the “just cleaned” table without paying any respect to the fact that it was cleaned just a few minutes back. Then I will have to clean it again and again and again and this will continue till the last moment of my life. Suddenly I realized that household chores are the most thankless, tiresome, boring things to do and the women folk have been doing it since - forever. Why? And why don’t we respect the fact that the nasty work gets done by somebody in the house and we are least bothered to even recognize it?
I hate doing those nasty chores. I even don't like to cook. For me, cooking is another most thankless job. You prepare, cook, serve, eat and then it's over. Then you do the winding up of the kitchen, dining table, do the dishes and there comes another meal time! Then you do that all over again! There is no evidence of your hard work, proof of your creativity or sincerity etc. that you put in while cooking.
Chores, I still do. Why? Simply because I am a woman and an Indian woman at that! Given a chance, I will not litter my house to begin with and whoever does, he or she gets to clean it too! Well, that must be possible in a dream world! If I happen to meet those people who made this rule that Indian women should do all the household chores and Indian men shouldn’t even bother themselves thinking if they should help, all I would want to tell them is: $#@% you!
Okay, going back to finish my "to do" list and then to actually do those…
Every day is different and that’s how it should be, at least I think so. That way we will always be excited to live every new day anticipating the new! But in reality, this is not the case and we human beings are responsible for that. In our quest to live a safe and organised life, we make routines for ourselves and we make rules, even if those are just to be broken later with some amount of guilt. We made religions, which, in my opinion, is nothing but a way of regulating life again. But in the quest of making human beings organised, scheduled and more rule-bound, we forget to live life as it is.
This realisation is not a moment of thought for me, but a repeated thought over several factors. Yes, the fact that I picked up my iPad to jot my feelings down was influenced by a certain thought at this point of time. My partner, a Hindu Tamil Brahmin, is a cool guy having no such rules (religious) binding him to act in certain way every moment of his daily life. (Whereas, according to rule, Brahmins are supposed to be following certain rituals every single day.) But my upbringing though non-Brahmin was under a strict what a “girl” (read: Hindu Indian girl) should do and shouldn’t do routine. Being an innocent obedient daughter I followed it perfectly. But moving on in life, it has become like a constant feeling of discomfort and guilt, if I don’t follow it for some reason. A small example is - everyday, I light agarbatti (incense sticks), pray to the Gods while switching on the lights in the evening. It’s a habit. But the worst part is, now, if any day I am home and feeling tired, lazy or sick and unable to do this evening routine, I feel guilty. I feel goddess Lakshmi will hate me or be angry with me and so on. But my logical brain says I am nuts to think like that and till the evening progresses to night, the feeling of guilt continues. Why do I feel like that? The fight between logic and routine continues and my peace becomes the casualty.
This is just one example. Another thing that bugs me is the rituals related to celebration of festivals. Most Indian festival, actually almost all Indian (Hindu) festivals make (an age-old expectation) the women slog like a donkey doing the rituals, pujas, decoration, cooking, cleaning and so on. Why should festivals be only a women thing? Why can’t there be anything for the men to do or why can’t the men share the festival chores at home too? Though I do most of the religious to dos during festivals, honestly speaking, I do not like to do it. For example, cleaning the entire house of cobwebs, washing clothes including curtains, lighting the diyas, cooking sweetmeats during Diwali, I do all those, but I do those as compulsion, not by will. I do those because I should and have to, not because I love to or enjoy doing it. I would love to do it when I feel like doing it, not on a scheduled time of the year, month and day. Given a chance, I would love to enjoy the festival holiday at home doing nothing. At the most, I would just hang some fairy lights in the balcony of the house, light two diyas in the front door and one in my place of worship, order some sweets and/or pizzas and enjoy watching something good on TV.
It’s not that I hate festivals, nor I am a lazy girl or an atheist. In fact I am always busy doing things, be it the household chores, my office work, gardening or traveling. But I do not like to be weighed down by expectations of others on me, especially regarding religious activities. For me, religion is not important. Getting close to God is important. I do not visit many temples either. I never feel close to God in any such temples where I need to fight my way to see the idol. For me, the peaceful corner of my home’s worshipping area is the best place to be close to God, to talk to Him or Her. My only problem is I don’t like to follow rules, especially not the ones I don’t agree with.
So, finally, why am I ranting here? The time I took to write helped me cross that period of lighting evening agarbattis, lights etc. I did it unceremoniously today. I just switched on the light and thanked God for the same in my life. That’s it. I still feel guilty for not lighting agarbattis, but I want to stop feeling so and live normally. Sometimes I wonder if this evening ritual has become kind of an OCD for me. If it is that I don’t want to continue it. I want to listen to my heart, nothing else. I am sure God will understand.
|I did :D|
It was Sunday. I was about to have lunch. My boss called. He told me to write and send two news reports - one on the flood situation of the Kaziranga National Park and another on the Islamists’ attack on the Holy Tombs of Timbuktu in Mali, recently inscribed on UNESCO's List of Heritage in Danger. Well, postponing my lunch, I dialled a few numbers and filed the two reports and sent to my boss’s mail id.
He called again. Unhappy that I did not write “the largest national park in India” before Kaziranga.
I explained that it is NOT the largest national park in India.
His argument was, “Why not? India TV is saying so in their news.” (India TV? Seriously? Is it even a channel for decent people to watch?)
I said, “It doesn’t matter if India TV is saying so. Kaziranga is NOT the largest National Park in India.”
Boss said, “I see”.
I emphasized further that I did mention the real facts about Kaziranga in the news like the Kaziranga National Park hosts two-thirds of the world's one-horned Rhinoceroses and boasts the highest density of tigers among the protected areas in the world. The park was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. Moreover, Kaziranga was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 for its unique natural environment.
We both hung up.
The news went online. To my surprise, he actually did add the portion he wanted and wrote the headline as, “The Largest National Park in India, Kaziranga is submerged under water”.
I felt really bad. How could he do that? He cannot just create a fact based on his whims. Argh… I wish he googled once before freezing his decision!
Of late, I have been feeling intensely low due to several factors. No, I am not going to discuss any of those factors here. However, after analysing the major reasons of my being unhappy, feeling low and depressed, I found that I am attaching, connecting my happiness to some other people’s attitude, behaviour, treatment towards me and the likes. I wonder why! Suddenly an “aha-moment” struck me hard. Why am I doing this to myself? Again, why?!
In one of the movies of The Princess Diaries series, the butler in the movie, Joe, quotes Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and says, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” The quotation had great impact on me and I recalled it today, just in time.
Yes, it is true. I am letting some people make me unhappy. But, what if I stop doing that? What if I refuse to buy their nonsensical excuses on different issues? What if I simply refuse to be taken for granted? I know I can. Then why on earth I am being such a … wimp! I know I will not lose anything by doing that instead, I will feel much better eventually. I suddenly realised I am losing some invaluable time of my life being unhappy and low.
I remember a little brother of mine saying, “Happiness is an attitude.” I couldn’t agree more. “Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”, says Wikipedia. Moreover, there is evidence suggesting that people can improve their happiness. Now, I am running out of reasons why I shouldn’t improve mine! That said, from now on, I decide to be happy. :)