My Beloved Daughter….

My two elder children celebrate what we now call ‘milestone’ birthdays this year…my lovely daughter today! A very dear fellow blogger, after reading the post dedicated to my son’s milestone celebration, asked what constitutes a ‘milestone’ age….a very valid and relevant question in this age of quantifying days, events and emotions into Hallmark occasions…often relegating to the back burner the true essence of such celebrations…

For a mother, birthdays are special days of the heart…purely because looking out from the eyes and heart of a mother, whilst Traveling down memory lane…every child of hers’ birthday is a ‘milestone’ celebration! A celebration of awe…honor…joy…fun…comfort…strength…support…care…pride…consideration…above all, Love! A celebration of the varied and rich tapestry of life and living…of rich and joy filled moments shared together…culminating in a day such as this…as an appreciation of the fullness of human happiness in the security of our love! The journey of motherhood, with all it’s ups and downs…it’s highs and lows…the magic…the angst…the fun…the fears…the love…the laughter…all comes together with the peace of looking out and seeing them exactly where they are supposed to be…firmly ensconced in the space they have carved out for themselves! This is the ultimate joy and pride…the humility and thankfulness…yes…birthdays are poignant reminders of this…milestone birthdays perhaps a little more…

My daughter…my eldest…celebrates one such milestone age today…blessedly happy in the circle of love of her parents and  siblings…her own beautiful family….her extended family and her family of friends! In my  mind’s eye I can still vividly picture my serious little girl…she who has now blossomed into a  young woman of substance…her gentle vulnerability, humaneness and compassion being the cornerstone of this beauty, strength and independence…surrounded by the Good Lord’s blessings and grace…her gentle and winning ways…the strength and support of a loving life partner…understanding and giving due deference and balance to the blessings and power of the Divine has all helped her on this journey of hers…all of this whilst keeping pace with her own young ones on the threshold of adulthood…doing it all with an ease, energy and grace that leaves me in awe…

The pride at seeing you fulfill all your roles to such loving excellence makes my heart sing Saamia! This comes with the prayer that God draw you near Him…richly bless you always…and shelter you at all times in His loving care…help you conquer the many horizons still out there…live your dreams and achieve all your milestones and more! With a special prayer that your beautiful self and smile will continue to bring love and sunshine to all who love and surround you…and help radiate your life always with it’s unaffected goodness and love…amen!

Happy Birthday Saamia…

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Bidding Farewell to a dear Aunt…

Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch rather than the things you acquire…we give significance to our lives by valuing the lives of others…kindness in giving creates love…the love we give away is the only love we keep…all these encapsulate my Aunt, however, one is still left feeling as if, it has not really all been said…she and another of her siblings, a dear late Uncle, were the family’s sweethearts…the ones that just always brought a smile to your lips when talked about…a gentle and rare breed…

Aunts are a double blessing…they love like mothers and act like friends…I feel specially blessed to have been touched by this double dose of blessings, her beautiful spirit and the positive meaning she gave to goodness…things often just felt nicer when shared with her…love is a gift whose worth cannot be measured except by the heart and she had her own very special and unique way of making you feel extra special…our large family, often spanning four generations at a time, all have their own precious memories of her…some so uniquely hers, that we all chuckle whenever one of us brings them up, because we can all so relate to them on our own personal wavelengths…

To lovingly reminiscence about her kindness…humaneness…naïveté…her artless comments…her ingenuous wonder…her definitive quality of giving love has been easy and comforting…sharing an onslaught of remembrances has been heartwarming whilst Celebrating Memories and lives no longer with us…it is said that every exit has an entry somewhere…the prayer is for the Good Lord to be her help and guide in this last journey, as in her life…

Celebrating Memories…

Acts of commission and omission…

An act of Commission, is the doing of an act that causes harm, an action by a person that perpetrates an offence. Commission is performing an act that results in some harm. Omission is not performing an act that is usually done or expected to be performed .

Think of it as omit vs commit. It is often thought, that one is more liable for omission. However, is doing something, unless it is blatantly wrong, not as answerable when it results from acts of commission rather than acts of omission? This is pure pedantic and there is no denying that both are equally damaging and hurtful…specially so in our personal lives, choices and decisions…since they involve issues dealing with responsibility …care…integrity…liability…sensitivity…honesty…conscientiousness…concern…love…family…

Social and personal choices of commission, involve words or actions that actually affect other people…personal choices in matters of family…disclosure of personal data or information…acts that move consciences…moral acts based on intentions and volition…cynicism and anger posturing as virtue and religiosity…

Similarly, acts of omission, involve actions or words affecting others on a physical level too, such as withholding a loving word…the pat on the back…that vital word of encouragement…a desperately needed hug of reassurance…acts, words, withheld, not just by outwards deeds, but by an inner activity of the mind…refusal to say the right thing…the lack of grace and humility to accept an inner cacophony of self righteous posturing…

It is the rising above this…in spite of oneself, that is true virtue and devotion…leaving the ego on the back seat…which is one of the Good Lord’s cardinal laws…the most arduous battle of them all…understanding of these acts as conscious and voluntary…ownership of one’s actions…acceptance of some higher law that we must submit to… As always, the prayer for His grace, is the answer…

A train journey through the desert…

An unlikely journey through a desert of Arabia…by train…alone…got many of my loved ones really rattled! For me…it was an adventurous journey in a land where I find the need for personal definition at it’s peak…I struggle to find myself in a land, where contrary to perception and all expectations…and in spite of my apprehensions, I have never encountered any disrespect or lack  of courtesy…

Whilst realizing that this bias I carry, is one that is ingrained into my physche through various mediums…mediums through which there is no denying, the truth often gets royally mangled out of shape! I am also well aware, that my good experience is not always the norm…it has been my good fortune…or is that only my bias showing up again? I am a frequent visitor to this part of the world…I have no untoward “stories” to tell…hence, it was almost as if I was pushing the ante by this solo train journey…

Once again…I am blown away at the amazingly positive experience it turned out to be…in so many ways ! The train journey itself started with little to be desired in the speed…thoroughness…courtesy…ease…of the check-in procedure. The comfort and hospitality zone…service…attention to time schedules…were all exemplary! The impact of the terrain we travelled through…the desert…was dazzlingly powerful and starkly beautiful as it was severe in the raw intensity of it’s unending expanse…the fiery sunset lent multiple hues and speckled the sand dunes in a breathtaking picture….the total lack of life for a great part of the journey…interspersed with areas dotted with strange colored camels caught your breath…the Good Lord in keeping with the severe beauty of the landscape had these in…black and white too ! Incredible…quite awe-inspiring…

In parts of the journey, we often came close to the oil rich…ultra modern…signs of technology…in a state-of-the-art train…with other single Arab women also traveling alone like me ! A stark reminder of the dichotomy and reality that is the Arab world today…

 That is the dichotomy I struggle with, I realize! This concept of shadow worlds, so to speak, that run parallel…to the world I know…the world I take to be the real world…very egoistically…bringing personal convictions and ethics to the table of another’s culture and choices. The realization, that my personal sense of acknowledgement and confirmation has to take a back seat…irrespective of an almost strong sense of violation…comes home to me as powerfully as the impact of the terrain I travel through! A journey of learning…another learning curve…

A literary bonanza…

Poetry…prose…theater performances…discussions about literature…art…the meaning of life…manna for the spirit and soul! The last two days have been spent around this environment and it has been a truly uplifting experience. Great thoughts, beautifully articulated…inspiring dialogue, compassionately delivered…a barrage of wise and informed discourse, brilliantly presented. The download speeds for absorbing and assimilating it all had to work overtime…and did so with joy and enthusiasm…

What it has also helped to highlight and bring home more forcefully, is the inherent need to connect to these things in the comfort zone of the vernacular. I have had the opportunity and privilege to study languages and speak a few…but the joy of hearing the vernacular being spoken with the ease…fluency and beauty that some great writers and poets have spoken in, these past couple of days, has touched a core…a core we often do not even acknowledge in the “busyness” of our daily life, which has now become so…global and international in the practice and practical scheme of things.

Although this globalization of speech…manner…dress…execution…has now become a natural need and way of life…and perfectly acceptable on many levels…the sense…significance…understanding that is enriched by the core perception of our roots…traditions…language is a space entirely on its own…a most comforting, comfort zone…

The Lotus Eaters…

This mythical lore has held a fascinating hold on our imagination…it appears that the subject is rooted in lore and hence we don’t give it much traction in the real world. But…like all lores of myth, the basis of this too is rooted in reality…and as prevalent today as ever before…

This comes home to me with greater force when I visit certain parts of the world where half the population is literally…under wraps! I am the last person to criticize choice of dress or life style but…the key word here is…choice! Choices are, as we all know, based on family…cultural…educational…environmental influences. It is only much later when we understand the silent, often mind numbing influence of these on our lives that we decide whether to maintain them…out of choice…apathy…thought and reflection…ease…or change them, again, out of choice, and take the path less trodden by exploring paths and life choices that are not always easy to maintain or…acceptable in the main…

A fact we often find hard to accept is, that we all do, in the main, follow a herd mentality…be it in dress…behavior…life style…codes of conduct! Which brings me back to the Lotus Eaters mentality, more apparent in some societies, relatively less in others…but prevalent in all societies. It is often a silent, insidious part of life as a whole…and we can go through life without so much as acknowledging its pervasive influence and just swim with the flow. This is done naturally in the course of things…without much thought or reflection to the contrary, rather with a sense of unthinking and careless acceptance that I find hard to come to terms with. Is this just a sense of apathy…a sense of cultural brainwashing…a reaction to suppressed cultural desires…a sense or illusion of not having the strength…confidence…faith…guts…desire to rock the boat…or is it simply a mindless…numbing…apathetic…trance like easy way out of swimming against the current…

Friendships and Family…

Friendships are truly blessings par excellence…the joy and comfort of being with someone who fills up the space around you so effortlessly, without any imposition, understanding your moods in the light of shared experiences…and then…most importantly…not saying anything hurtful or careless! Therein I do believe lies the true comfort of friendship…this concern and…reluctance to say the mindless and not so kind word…something we do not always take care of in other relationships…specially family!

In other relationships…most specifically of kin…this is almost never a consideration. We blurt out mindless, inane , hurtful thoughts without a care in the world…this is sadly, said to those we should really be taking the most care of…knowing full well we would never say these things to a…friend.  We justify this by saying…we can choose our friends…but not family…and so with Family it is almost always ‘open house’ day…sad, but true.

It is only much later as we age…grow…evolve…understand…do we come to realize the significance of family! These irrefutable ties that we often spend the better part of our lives trying to forget, start to bring feelings…emotions…to a table we have stopped sharing. The comfort zone of their ‘being’ impacts our being in ways we never expected it to…these are often latent feelings we still try to suppress…the hype of not being able to choose kin as opposed to friends has done it’s work well…

The ideal becomes apparent often much later…friendship with family…there is little that compares with this combination…the ease of  joyous recollections…the happiness of shared memories and incidents…the comfort of being aware and in the know of the self through the years…of literally seeing and growing up together with all one’s ups and downs…the shared family expressions, nuances and changing and evolving alliances…the unspoken understanding and ease borne of a lifelong and undeniable relationship…the realization of the joy, comfort level and strength of Family is a powerful and perceptive realization…one that needs to be embraced sooner rather than later…

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