October 27, 2013

Tu na jaane aaspaas hai khuda...

I was traveling back home the other day, when a familiar sight passed by my line of vision. There were a bunch of people gathered near a small shrine around the corner. Most were lighting votive candles, offering fragrant agarbathies, fresh flowers and fruit to the deity, while some others were bowing their heads and silently praying. Passing cars slowed down as they approached the spot and the occupants would either descend from the commute or offer their respect by folding palms. It was just then that my cell phone beeped indicating I had received one new e-mail. When I distractedly checked my inbox, I saw that the mail was about the Pure Pray contest run by Cycle Pure Agarbathies. Smiling at the bizarre coincidence, I decided there and then that I would participate and submit my entry before the mentioned deadline.

Back home, the incident had got me started thinking along the same lines. They say that prayers offered at this particular shrine (the one I had mentioned earlier) are surely answered, and it is for this very reason that this roadside temple is always inhabited by tourists and locals, alike. I remember, during my student days in Medical College, I would always halt there and say a special prayer to either postpone the exam or make me fare well in them. 99% of the times, either one of the two would happen thereby reinforcing my faith in the popular belief associated with the temple and the positive power of prayer.

I remember how my mom had first explained to me the meaning of prayer. I was six then, a hyperactive brat and to top it, one who was highly inquisitive..
"How do I pray?" I had asked, wondering if there were any specific instructions to be followed for God to answer my prayers. I had seen my mother have a fresh bath early in the morning, drape her self in a crisp cotton saree, tie a towel around her freshly washed hair, and enter the puja roon, chanting the names of what seemed to my young ears, a million different Gods. Afraid that God would not grant me the dream doll-house I'd so badly wanted as a birthday gift if I did not pray right,  I sullenly complained to my mother that I did not know any chant or 'shloka' to appease the Gods with.
"There is no correct or wrong way to pray, dear. These are all but different names of the same God. Don't you worry----speak to him like you would speak to a friend. A friend who will protect you and guide you through every phase of life. Just remember him and he will be there," she patiently explained.
I liked that, a new friend for life. One that everyone prayed to, one whom all evil was afraid of, one that obstacles and hurdles fled from...I could speak to him like I spoke to my best friend from school. What fun!! So off I went, with a smile on my lips and a spring in my step, convinced that I now possessed the sacrosanct secret that would simply the complicated versions of all the mighty shloka and chants in the world...and it actually did...

I now started pestering God with all the nitty gritty details of my life. What happened at school, who snatched my compass box, which teacher treated me well and who didn't, what I wanted for my upcoming birthday, everything was discussed and debated upon with great gusto.
As I grew up, topics of conversation varied. My demands turned more complex. My complaints got more adamant. My tantrums more unpredictable. But HE listened. HE always listened.
Each time I had something to tell him, I would simply close my eyes and call out to him. A strange sense of calmness has never ceased to fill me when I do that.  Even today, all I have to do is close my eyes and believe he is right in front of me. That is the beauty of prayer. It forms an instant connection with the almighty by helping you peep into the deepest corner of your soul, because that is where God truly resides.

Over the years, I came to realise that God has another name...conscience. I learnt that I can stay in touch with that small muffled voice inside me, only if I try and listen to it. Praying taught me to recognise that voice, to lend a patient ear to it and comply. This made me far more patient and understanding, in that way prayer in itself is a meditative practice which works wonders for self improvement. As a matter of fact, prayer is far stronger than meditation, because in prayer, we seek comfort in an entity far stronger than our selves; that higher source of power becomes the support system that we lean on.
Prayer is a thought, a belief, a feeling that is born from the faith that grows within us, faith in a supreme force that will protect us, guard us and save us against all calamities.
I now pray because it helps me connect with this force. It reinforces my belief that there is someone who will always take care of me and my loved ones. It strengthens my faith in love and forgiveness. It provides me a venting board to admit all my weaknesses and hence improve upon them. It convinces me that words are not always needed to express what I feel, that my prayers are understood even through the silence.
Praying is simple. It does not require a particular time. During my school days, I would think that prayer had fixed timings; It was almost a ritual---the early morning assembly at school where we would start the day with a morning prayer, and  the 'night time prayer' before going to bed. But with age and maturity, I have come to understand that prayer does not have to be a compulsory ritual. I pray whenever I think of HIM. I say a quick prayer when I'm afraid...when I'm in any sort of threat or danger...when I want a little impromptu wish to be granted....and sometimes just to say 'Thankyou'.
When there is something weighing down my conscience I pray for forgiveness.Its the sure shot way of finding the much needed peace of mind that we strive so much to attain. When something good comes my way, I say a quick 'Thankyou' just to show how grateful I am. I must admit that I forget sometimes. Human as we are, we often forget to say 'Sorry' and 'Thankyou' but rest assured, he understands. That is the connection prayer creates--a cosmic relation with a much higher force that
helps us attain inner peace and tranquility, forgives us, heals us and gives us reasons to be grateful for.
In fact, that is the main reason why I pray. I pray because I know HE is listening...
We might not see HIM, but HE is always around...

Last but not the least, I pray for the well being of my fellow Indians, my country, my family, my loved ones and my own self. It is this well being that my future and the future of millions of interconnected lives depend upon.
I pray for each and every person who has helped me in any way, no matter how small. It is because of them that I have managed to take tiny steps towards achieving whatever I have today.
I pray for them whom I might have unknowingly wronged and those who have unknowingly wronged me. It is they who have helped me grow up in ways that they (or at times, even me) are not even aware of.
I pray for you. It is you who reminds me how much I could love...once.

Beckoning like rays of the morning sun,
as each dark night turns to a new day,
is the gratitude and hope we hold so dear,
                                               that makes us bow before HIM and pray...

In a country like ours where there reside people of diverse religions, castes, sub castes, there is no dearth of festivals to celebrate. No matter how diverse our culture and traditions may be, the basic essence of all religious festivals is the same---heart felt prayer. We are thus united by the same Almighty, the same Ganpati Bappa, the same Allah.
Ask any Indian and he will be willing to celebrate every festival as his own. Whether it is Diwali, Christmas or Eid, all occasions are thoroughly enjoyed and reverently regarded. These festivals form an integral part of our lives and give us reason to stay together.
But in today's busy world, we often find ourselves weighed down by the stress and strain of lives to indulge wholeheartedly in these festivities. We often find the responsible members of the family running to and fro, to buy all the essentials of the pooja---the flowers, the agarbathies and other paraphernalia. Something or the other gets left out at the last moment, as a result of which there is undue chaos, dampening the festive atmosphere.
For all those who are thinking of Diwali and already heaving a huge sigh on reading the above, fear not. There is good news for all us stress magnets. Cycle Pure Agarbathies presents Sampoorna Lakshmi Pooja Pack---a simple and tension-free pooja, brought together, complete and made-easy. This is a pack that includes everything you would need to perform the Lakshmi Pooja. This pack contains all basic materials required for the pooja as mentioned in the Skanda Purana. The booklet (scripted in 6 languages) and audio CD have the procedure, necessary shlokas and Shree Vinayak Ashtottarashata Naamaavali for performing the pooja. This pack comes with instruction booklet & CD, so that you can recite the shloka along with the CD.
This Lakshmi Pooja Pack would also serve as a very good gift for someone who is recently married or someone living away from home or abroad. Your friends and near ones would bless you for this convenient and perfectly organized idea.
As for me, I plan to make this Diwali a stress free one, one that is perfectly coordinated, easily arranged, filled with oodles of fun, lots of prayers, tons of blessings and loads of love.

Wish You All A Very Happy, Healthy And Prosperous Diwali! :)

May all our prayers be answered,
and may we never run out of reasons to say 'Thankyou'...

October 07, 2013

Dr Pri and Ms Hide (a repost)

Recently, there were some jabs directed towards me, subtly hinting at the 'enigma' status I have been designated by some highly esteemed writers around here.
There was this one comment which particularly stayed with me for a long time, more since it was coming from someone I had not really expected from.
"Where is it that you wear a mask, on the blog or outside it?"

Frankly i do not like explaining myself to others. I have always felt that you need to explain something only when you think the other person is not smart enough to figure it out on his/her own.
Anyhoo, for the good of mankind and for the future of the planet which is dying a little everyday out of curiosity,  I will oblige!! *opens her self-research material*

Well, those of you who follow my blog regularly will know me as quite the stuck up fool who thrives mainly on nostalgia and sentiments.
Those who have personally met me outside the blog world, would claim I am too much of a fun loving enthusiast to ever take life that seriously. The confusion however arises when someone who knows me from outside the blog suddenly discovers my blog link and decides to give it a read.
It is for this very reason, that some of my closest friends and kin refrain from reading 'nostalgic moments'--that in their opinion, is their way of avoiding confusion as, in the words of a very wise friend, "ignorance is bliss"
Yes, these are the kind of shameless people who deprive me of my share of attention (by not following my blog) & prefer to stick to the picture they have built of me rather than cloud it with unnecessary interference from something which could very well be written off as a piece of 'fiction' or claimed to be so (I'm not complaining though--in a way, I like the way they think. *grin* )

"How can YOU write such emotional stuff?" is a question I have often been probed on by some of my real-life (for lack of a suitable word) friends.
Another one I encounter a lot, is the famous "Whoaa!! Are you the same Pri who writes 'Nostalgic Moments'" (this is usually after a few days of interaction with fellow bloggers--which does make me wonder at times, what kind of chronically depressed (read 'Meenakumari') personality my blog might be projecting)

So today, I have decided to unravel the mystery, and let you in on a little secret---the secret of doctor 'pri' and miss 'hide' *drumrolls in the background*

Ardent admirers of Linda Goodman have jumped with rapturous ecstasy muttering "Hail Linda" amidst muffled smirks, after getting to know I come from the 'Gemini woman' astro clan.
There was a point wherein I too had almost started believing everything she said, until one day I read of the infidel and manipulative tendency she claimed Gemini women to portray. So being a staunch loyalist and one with a intact value system at that, the book went flying straight into the dustbin and Linda was shown the middle finger.

Anyhoo, there are certain things which are rather true of a Gemini (only all the good things she has to say..ahem!) which was what stopped yours truly from making an effigy of Goodman and burning it down.
Oops sorry, lets not digress. So, where were we?
Oh yes, the story of "Dr Pri and Ms hyde Hide"
Now, please do not be confused by the title bestowed since this "Ms Hide" (nope!! it is not a typo..i mean HIDE when i write hide) is nothing like the much infamous "Mr Hyde" we all have read about.

In fact she is pretty much the contrary, and that is where her flaws start..Sigh!

'Miss hide' is someone who seeks solace in hiding from everything (Yea..I know, pretty self explanatory. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.).
She is pretty much what you would call an 'escapist'.
Give her a situation she can't handle and she would slip into her shell, open up her diary and do what she does best--scribble furiously.

'Dr Pri' on the other hand, is the strong headed woman who makes her grand and esteemed appearance usually while lecturing others. She is the agony aunt to all her friends, the one whose advice they seek, the one with the strong belief system and self respect large enough that it can be sometimes mistaken for ego.
She sometimes writes on 'nostalgic moments' too (like she agreed to do today)..but its usually 'Ms Hide' that requires the space as a venting board.
However it has been noticed that Dr Pri is the one who roams all over Facebook and Blogsville, posting in strong headed comments telling people to move on, not brood over the past....yada yada....yada...
Yes, I know what you guys must be thinking--why doesn't Dr Pri advice Ms Hide then, isn't it?
Well, of course she does..she lectures Ms Hide for long hours after which the timid Ms Hide seems all empowered and strong enough to slay a dragon--but in just a few hours, the miserable wretch that she is, suffers a relapse and gets back to her usual demure self again.
Humour?? Ahhh!! That is Dr Pri's sharpest weapon. She knows how to use the lethal combination of sarcasm and wit which helps her take the lead in many a debates/arguments.
But bring her face to face with a loved one, and she is rudely shoved aside by our Ms Hide who remains tongue tied and lost, silently weeping like a depressed cow long after the war is over, while Dr Pri gags at the sight.
Nevertheless, both of them have to work in coordination--that is how the rule goes. Ms Hide cannot make an entry while Dr Pri is talking, and the same holds true the other way around. There are some occasions where Dr Pri refuses to budge inspite of being pushed violently by Ms Hide. She stands firm and lashes out fire even with a loved one as opponent.
But alas!! More often than not, the drama queen that Ms Hide is, makes Dr Pri pay for it hours after the spite is over--she cries, she weeps, she cribs, she rants, she writes, she blogs like a crazy maniac, and much to Dr Pri's embarrassment, she finds herself left helpless and with a heavy head, all thanks to her idiotic alter's antics.
Ohh wait, Ms Hide isn't all that bad though. She is just more of a coward unlike the brave Dr Pri, her alter ego is. Ms Hide flees away from emotions which Dr Pri keeps trying to understand and reason with.
Ms Hide is terrified of love, while the dreamer that Dr Pri is, promises never to give up on her unrealistic (written by miss hide & cancelled by dr pri) ideals.
Ms Hide constantly fears expectations and their consequences, while Dr Pri is not afraid to face them.
Ms Hide is often found building walls around herself, which Dr Pri is busy toppling over.
Ms Hide is the one who is running away from addictions from fear of dependency, while Dr Pri strives to overcome them.
(In fact, it is Ms Hide who keeps deactivating Facebook/email accounts, and Dr Pri, who convinces her to return from the short spells of hibernation..sigh!)

At times, Ms Hide is found sulking all day, sulking over the past, sulking over decisions she cant change, sulking over the 'why's and 'if only's..sulking..sulking..sulking.
That is when Dr Pri decides to take things in her hands, goes up to Ms Hide, and gifts her one tight slap, succeeding in getting her right back to her senses.
Dr Pri is often found rolling her eyes at the entries Ms Hide posts. She hates it when people feign concern, and believes in sorting out her issues all by herself.
Ms Hide, on the other hand, loves to be pampered..
She, most often than not, misses to notice the thin line between fake pleasantries and genuine concern.
She often wears her heart on her sleeve, is easily upset with words just as easily as she falls in love with them, is sensitive to the moodswings of the ones she loves and had it not been for her alter ego (Dr Pri), would have had to be institutionalized for therapy by now.

Dr Pri has seen a lot in life. She is observant. She is perceptive. She is practical and she understands.
She is not searching for a shoulder to cry on, gets easily tired with people who sulk all the time, think that they should grow up, lives for the present. She has a firm grip on her reality and yet has always fought it, her own way.
She knows that there is good just as there is evil in every in the world and has made peace with that.
Ms Hide knows that too, but she thinks she would be able to change the evil, and when she realises she cannot, she goes away..shies off..hides herself, clinging onto a sense of failure until her alter decides to take things in her hands, and drags her out of the phase making her understand that she has to value herself first to be valued by others.

It doesn't help for too long though. Ms Hide sees what she wants to. She is emotional and sensitive. She thinks with her heart and is disappointed easily. She is a kid in denial who keeps hiding from any sort of conflict, who gives up almost always a little too soon, who worries about the future--a little too much, is terrified of emotions-yet surrenders to them and keeps running from reality in a futile attempt to hide from it.

The differences between them do not stop here though. Dr Pri and Ms Hide are pretty different on a more superficial level too.
Ms Hide loves to dress up in traditional attire, has a penchant for trinkets and jewellery. She usually seizes the chance to dress up for occasions, to wear makeup. She hates it if one strand of hair is out of place or if she gains an ounce of extra weight--not that she'd do much to change it, but of course she would SULK!!
She also loves receiving compliments--almost addicted to them. She'd get all conscious if no one compliments her. She would get conscious if people over compliment her too, but that is an altogether different story..lol!!
Dr Pri, on the other hand, lives in a pair of jeans and a tee most of the times. She prefers living like a gypsy and thinks that she sets the trend. She hates early morning showers, doesn't see the logic in cleaning up her wardrobe, will be found sporting a just-woken-up look with curls of hair falling all over her face and when caught, she would just pass it off as the latest style and even concoct a name & story to justify it. Compliments do not affect her just as much as criticism doesn't.She is much too deep to be affected with superficial charm & believes that true beauty is skin deep.
However she has mastered the art of disappearing and pushing the more socially acceptable Ms Hide forward, as and when the situation and company demands her.
Smart that she is, she claims that she would never want to be caught dead looking inappropriate except in her nightmares, but those who know her well would know that she wouldn't really mind going to her own wedding in a pair of denims and a not-so-ironed Kurti.
She is weird like that, but at complete ease with her weirdness.

So while Ms Hide with all her self concocted and unaccepted flaws manages to scarcely like herself, Dr Pri brags about being 'Perfection Personified' and considers her own self as her most favorite person. 
So now you see how it all makes sense?

Ahem!! What about me, you ask? I'm pretty comfortable being them both. In fact I think my life wouldn't feel normal had one to go missing. Some might attribute it to my gemini star sign, while some might say im just confused about what i really want in life.
Well, what can i say but----
Voices in my head...
Alters in my soul...
Some days are blue,
some days rock n roll!!


Err..some might think I'm pretty schizophrenic to write this, and miss the whole point of the post.

So long as your confusion is sorted, people..so long as your confusion is sorted ;-))

As a parting note, all i can suggest is to try searching for your 'psychological alters' too, and accept them both.
They help strike a balance in life and keep you feeling human. *smiles*

So here's to peace and self improvement,

October 06, 2013

Cryptic thought #38

Should the friend of the enemy be considered an enemy too?
Some times, taking sides is important. It helps to know where one stands in an otherwise convenient equation where loyalties are not questioned.

Today made me wonder---are independent relations really even possible??
What does your experience say?

October 05, 2013

Knock knock

For all those who haven't yet noticed the small window popping up in the right hand side column of the blog, and for all those who have forgotten or think I am joking, Nostalgic Moments really has a facebook page. I swear its true :-|

Here, check it out for yourself!!!


Ahem...now that you have joined me on facebook as well, yours truly can continue to haunt you with updates, cryptic messages and lots more. *evil laugh*

But like I always say, life is one hell of a journey...lets make it a fun trip by travelling together :)

Cheers and love!

October 02, 2013

Need of the hour

How many times have we allowed someone to manipulate us into a choice we do not agree with?
We may have not realised it then, but in hindsight, don't we all regret taking some decisions half heartedly only because we had been emotionally coaxed into doing so, by someone we care about?

When was the last time you allowed someone to influence you with negative thoughts of envy, hatred, contempt or perhaps even a small suspicion that eventually led to a mammoth misunderstanding?

And now finally, the big question and perhaps the most important one---who is responsible for the consequences that follow?
They, who don't know any better, or we, who allow them to influence us without thinking?

So today, let's promise ourselves-
to stay in the company of those who will cultivate and encourage hope in our hearts and equanimity in our surroundings...
to dream yet keep our feet strongly planted...
to not give up too soon in matters that require perseverance, nor hold on too tight when we ought to let go...
and last but not the least, to allow ourselves the freedom to make our own choices...

Its just one life---Let's live it the way we deserve to live...with our heads held high, confident of the knowledge and conviction that we know what is best for us.

I pledge...do you?