Saturday, August 31, 2013


So I was sitting in this publisher’s board room, and the executive editor-in-chief sits back in his chair. He’s this old-fashioned guy, white beard, grey eyed, all gruff, blunt and poker-faced -- perhaps a defense mechanism in compensation for the fact that his height in total doesn’t reach my eye level.

‘Tell me somethin’,’ says he. ‘Why the heck do people blog?’

‘I can't answer for other people. There are a million different reasons as there are reasons why people wake up each day.’

He seems to consider this. Nods. ‘Well, you blog. So, why?’

‘……..’ Yes for a few moments I’m stumped for words. How do I tell him that asking me that was dangerous? Something like asking a person with multiple disorders who the next person they’ll be is. Seriously.

‘Ok well going back to your first generalized question. People blog to express themselves.’

‘Express what? Who really wants to read about the life of other people?’

‘Some people enjoy doing so because it’s something they can relate to. Like reading a novel, perhaps. Some people just want to write just for the sake of writing. Or take why you’re asking me also; I write on the professional level to reach out to a specific audience to generate readership.

Don’t get the point of him asking this, but I’m still blabbing on.

‘Then again some people find it therapy to write. Like painters paint. Can you tell me why they do?’ Aha! I think to myself, the strongest defense is a strong offense!

'But who really wants to spend time out of their day to read about someone's else life?'

'You watch golf. Why would people sit and spend time watching some other man or woman whack around a ball for no productive reason?'

Silence. Point.

He chews on the end of his pen. ‘So you’re telling me you also blog personally.’

‘That is correct.’

‘So how many followers do you have?’

I pause. Man. I hate when they ask such cut and dry questions like that’s going to prove something. But here goes…

‘I…..well, probably not even 20 right now….I don’t blog for the purpose of gaining followers, to be honest. I like writing in a comfort zone, and that’s either for the sake of writing, therapeutically or just for my friends who’d naturally be inclined to care about what I write.’

He stares at the ceiling, creaking back and forth in his chair. ‘Well. I’m not your friend. I like how you think. I like how you write. Have you started writing your novel?’

I blink.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I hoard memories. It seems to be an Achilles' heel of mine; I don’t let go. Or rather, there are things I generally am able to 'let go' of, in the way the phrase itself lends itself to every other philosophical doctrine we encounter with regards to life itself. But I do admit, I’ve got a thing for memories.

Usually, the reason is that I love being able to go back and relive the actual moment. Tangibly, this entails saving snippets of conversations in writing, or memorializing emails and suchlike. The reader may be familiar with my subset blog “Golden Memories” where I do exactly that. This blog is a resurrection of another thread I used to maintain where I recorded almost everything and anything that, for the most part, made me laugh.

And one may rightly observe that that’s not such a bad thing. It’s a lovely sentiment to be able to keep such memories. But there’s the flip side of the coin – the happenstance of coming across memories that unearth the negative memories. Those ghosts of the past which haunt us consciously and, quite usually, subconsciously.

The natural inclination then, is to wonder why even keep such things. I have no answer for that, simply because my own common sense tells me – flashing in neon lights – Delete! Delete! Delete! However it’s quite much more complicated, when one realizes that even innocuous memorabilia that seem to be beautiful snippets of good times can be connecting dots to an equally bad set of times. In fact, the contrast can be quite stark and harrowing.

Sometimes a good moment is couched in between or in the midst of the worst times… and even when one goes into that phase of reminiscence, when the emotions start flowing as you relive those moments, sometimes neighbouring emotions from those times return, unannounced.

And then you have those bittersweet moments, when something you preserved or something that simply brings back moments that, at the time, were absolutely memory-worthy – hilarious moments with friends, inside jokes that had you holding your tummy with tears of mirth running down your face – those memories that only stay in that haunted past simply because today the truth is so far away from it, so much has changed.

Those achingly poignant memories that make you sigh or smile wryly, or even bring tears to your eyes. And yet, we continue to move onward, losing and gaining, and changing. Everytime we form those bonds that make you think that 50 years later, you’ll definitely want to come back and revisit these moments, so of course, why not preserve them for posterity (for of course, if we are going onward our memories are inevitably going to go through that infamous pattern of eroding).

Forgive me if I sound morbid, but this same train of thought, or rather not simply the thoughts but the truth of experience that upholds the very thought, has often made me resist the phenomenon of forming new bonds. I have had phases where I decided that I couldn’t bear the pangs of again looking back at friendships that had deteriorated, and therefore wouldn’t fall into the trap again.

I’m not in that phase right now, neither am I in the opposite side of jumping at any opportunity to make friends. I guess I can say I am in a comfortable position of having garnered some wisdom through all these years by nursing the drink of moderation.

The last few days, yes, I’ve been overwhelmed by going through old memories. Some made me feel absolutely grateful for life itself, some which despite that gratitude, still managed to reduce me to sobs, simply because of how deeply evocative they were, and still are. Some memories are just that way, firmly entrenched in the way you feel and think today. Nevertheless, despite my tears and despite the embittered tinge of loss over time, I’m still able to recognize something. And that something is that, incredibly, in today itself, there do stand a handful of people who have traversed that spacetime from memory to reality. That despite whatever upheavals, or how much other people have come and gone, however far we’ve become or less we’ve been able to keep in touch, they still exist.

And to exist, I don’t only mean they live. To exist is an attribute of personal perspective; they exist in my mental space, and more so in my emotional space. They are special. And I guess, that’s the whole point. I mean, you cannot expect to grab a whole handful of sand and expect to keep hold of every grain, right?

Likewise, it’s not just the special people who I cherish today, but the special memories. Achilles heel and all. Sometimes you’ve just got to know when to let go, to truly accept , some grains are better off gone with the wind.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Stop for a moment, just let everything else on your mind go, and consider: what age to you feel you are?

For no explicable reason, just now, that's the question I found myself asking. One might wonder what on earth is with me and my age-related questions, that is, if you didn't know better. Not a mid-life crisis if that was your thought. But out of the blue (and there again, an interesting metaphor, because when you really think of it, the thought emerged from my own brain rather than the blue meant to represent the sky...but then again there I go being literal, again), this question formed and presented itself.

I really really don't have an answer. For some reason, I always feel I'm stuck at this one certain age - the numeral of which I shan't reveal here - and despite having been removed from that age by a great number of years, I'm mentally still there. Maybe.

Maybe, because even though I am perpetually locked in the youth emporium, I cannot deny that a great number of events have occurred to enumerate these years in between that age I refrain from specifying. Those years, in fact are far more profound than all the years prior to that age in summation. Well, they are in my opinion because those years are inclusive of what I consider The Best Part of My Life.

Of course, again, every year previous, and especially more, are those which merit the development of me into the person I am....rather the persons I have been, each further being developed toward the person I am. Well that's saying the same thing in a wordy manner.

I guess when it comes down to it, the number itself truly does not matter. I mean, you could be counting the years off your fingers, or examining the fine wrinkles or searching for white or grey hairs, all the while you could be looking at the way life is going by, or even better, truly living. 

Though I don't know what the exact connection itself is, reminds me of something else I said earlier today: "no reason why the living shouldn't go on living"..

Friday, August 23, 2013


It's almost the end of August, and it's seemed like the entire season has been in wait for the culminating occasion that accompanies the end of the summer. In a time bereft of the time-consuming work schedule, somehow there hasn't been time enough to find words to fill the void that has been ever-expanding here.

It's weird, in a way, because lately I've noticed - somewhat to my dismay - that the leaves have already begun changing colours. Not that you can tell right off though; it's the usual way of change. The little tiny incremental shifting so that you don't notice it until it's completely different. Like looking in the mirror day after day - we don't really feel we look any different (other than the odd blemish that pops up now and then, perhaps), and yet when we reunite with someone we have not seen in many years (or maybe months) all you hear are those classic exclamations about how you've changed.

Oddly, I've always been the one to be told how I haven't.

But then again that's me and my curse (or blessing?) of Tinkerbell. Don't know what fairydust showered upon me that has made me retain my youthful face. Or rather, that's what everyone else tells me. If you ask me, I really and truly do feel aged. Outwardly and inwardly. But then again that's because it's me walking in my own shoes day in day out (except for those odd moments when I run around bare-footed).

Speaking of reuniting, I came face to face with a girl who I knew when I was much younger. We'd never been the type to bond as friends or anything, not really - being daughters of family friends, that usually is the case; polite gatherings and murmurings, and when you're young you don't really bother...

But somehow when we came face to face, it was like we were united in this strong bond, it was almost as if we hadn't been apart all those many, many years, and almost like we already were close. Perhaps that's just the way it works. I've found, as we all age, all the cousins and kids we used to be, the relationships either break entirely off or strengthen with that maturity of adulthood, because we're now able to form our own opinions, and not rely on what our elders dictate for how we're supposed to behave with so-and-so.

Take for example: my eldest cousin never was close to anyone in our family. He was always quite reserved, and always kept to himself. He went his own way oftentimes, and kept to his own room, whenever the rest of families got together. For years, mostly because of adult say-so, we had a somewhat negative impression of him. And him being so so many years older than us younger siblings, there existed that usual communication gap. Years later, now, I don't know what it is, but he is one of my favourite family members. Despite our differences in how we grew up, there is that affinity between us. He's very quiet-spoken, and you have to sit with him and talk, and that's when he'll open up when you least expect it. That's just one of the amazing things I've come to ponder about how things change when we grow.

So, that girl came back suddenly in the midst of the crowd with this odd look on her face; holding my arm, and she tells me in a rush, "I don't know when we'll next see one's been so many years, and time has flown so quickly." I don't know why but it seemed perfectly normal to, and I naturally hugged her close and told her "It's okay, we'll recognize one another no matter how many years pass. Even when we're 60, we'll know it's us."

To my mind, time is such a magician. I'm not even certain if that's truly the word I mean to use. But there you have it. That's just one of many words I could have used, and who knows how my meaning would have changed if I had used one of the many other similar words that could have been used had I bothered to think harder. But that is just it; the more one considers time itself, the more obtuse and abstract one finds the mind becomes.  It's like falling in some kind of warphole, an ever-spinning matrix or kaleidoscope where direction has no vector.

The leaves have already begun changing, and I guess this is about simply appreciating the transition itself as an definite, rather than waiting for the terminals of change to arrive before doing so.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Relativity of Death

"I have a friend who works at one of these facilities.He stopped eating animal products a few weeks after he started the job because it's that gross and inhumane to both animals and human workers. I showed him this video and he says the facility shown here is actually immaculately clean and well-taken care of; most CAFOs and slaughterhouses keep humans and animals alike in much crueler conditions."

Monday, August 12, 2013


In the turmoil of sleep - five million images, emotions and voices clashing - struggling to reach the surface of consciousness, comes the warm tractor of whiskers, nuzzling, sniffing. The amazing feeling of love that bounds the connecting forces between us in that moment instills such deep profundity that can only spell out healing. To be remembered, to be wanted, to be needed. To open an eye groggily and meet that yellow green slit peering curiously back, and in meeting, she proffers her pink nose forward to meet my own nose.

The compassion of my kitten in the last few days works wonders in my slow recovery. Those who might doubt that a cat could not experience such sentiments would need to know that, while yes, it is usual for her to be rather selfish: demanding pampering, endless fighting to escape the embracing arms of human -- she has negated these actions for that of affection. Endlessly her little snout has presented itself to be loved, and in so doing, providing her own love.

And in being needed, there arises that deeply entrenched proclivity of human nature: to mother. The state of parenthood  -- and here I pause for she sits beside me talking away to me in her own language, something she has been doing these several days -- is something which beckons in us this inexplicable sense of purpose.

Mortality is the theme that has invaded my mind in these last days. To try to explain so many ruminations about it, I am at a severe loss. But to pass on, and have no new blood behind - lacking a state of parenthood - and have an entire family line just disappear, that is something that occurred to me quite starkly one day. In the midst of all generations coming together to witness that loss, one looks around and thinks, where do we go from here? Where do we continue on from? Who will be us when we are all ashes and dust, when we have embraced the spectre of death, in generations ahead - will we be none?

Saturday, August 03, 2013

E for Enlightenment

An unexamined life is not worth living.

Enlightenment is the development of a person in mind and soul. Maybe in the same way, E could mean education. But education is only a subset of what I call enlightenment. Enlightenment is learning – but much more. It’s that ability for you to transverse that cognitive space and go beyond. That feeling of being able to contain all of existence within, and feel a symbiosis with it all, while simultaneously aware that you are but a speck in galaxies expanding far and wide.

Enlightenment is that which stems from the intellect but is guided by the heart – clarification, illumination, explanation. It differs from inspiration because it isn’t exactly that which pulls us forward as motivation, but rather guides us through awakening the senses to better understand the concept of life. If it means finding the answers to why we are here or what our purpose is, that is enlightenment.

Enlightenment also encompasses the realm of faith. God, spirituality, or if you’re like me: simply living a good life or being as good a person one can be. Nirvana, paradise, jannat…whatever the realm we wish to attain through our actions herein, we aim for enlightenment. It means to step out of the dark and out of ignorance, into the light of knowledge and wisdom.

While inspiration is a current that we pull into ourselves from our environment and surroundings, enlightenment can be perceived as movement in the opposite direction. With enlightenment we become conscious of our existence in a different way, with that awareness comes a mergence of oneself with all of life; we realize the light that we are and we become one with the spectacular illumination of life.

Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, 
a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow.
You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment.
Morihei Ueshiba

Friday, August 02, 2013

F for Friendship

“Each friend represents a world in us, 
a world possibly not born until they arrive, 
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” 
― Anaïs Nin

Through the long and weary march of life, there surrounded me the tread of my comrades. In that knowledge, no matter how hard the path, how cold the rains, somehow I was able to keep on, because they were there.

What would life be without friendship? I cannot truly fathom the answer. Aristotle once wrote that a man could not be good without society; we’ve heard it said that we cannot be an island to survive. We are thrust among millions of beings who differ only by the minutest gene – is it any wonder that we need to create relations with one another?

Our ability to build friendships reflects our inner state of being; our capacity to rejoice in the companionship and fellowship with another being, to embrace that humanity in the other, and cherish that meeting of minds – that is what demonstrates a singular development of a person’s soul. All our knowledge and all our goodness; what is that if we cannot stretch out our hand to another person to share it?

Laughter. That’s what comes first to mind when I think of my memories with friends. Even when I was in the darkest places, even when I wasn’t able to open up and share my pain with anyone, I still was able to laugh because I had friends who would be silly and crazy. Sometimes, that was even better than sharing the pain, because they weren’t conscious or awkward. Laughter is the most beautiful subset of life, and it’s so perfect that it comes so naturally with friendship. However temporary, that is a happiness of its own.

And though it’s taken me a long time to really get to this point: the ability to open up and share your thoughts, your dreams, your worries, your fears. To expose those innermost vulnerabilities and discover that doing so is healing of its own kind. The ability to share has manifold benefits that echo over and over and out and beyond, ripples that take root so deeply within one’s psyche. To share, and furthermore—to be understood.

“Me too!” acts like glue. That ability to comprehend and relate is a magnetic and irresistible force field. And quite the opposite, to come across differences in another person allows us to grow because we learn more and expand our own cognitive horizon.

Sharing is caring. So we’ve all heard. It works both ways, no matter what direction the flow is. Even when you are giving, upon that open connection there is something coming back – however intangible and however imperceptible – you’re getting something back, and that is the essence of acknowledgement of existence; in friendship, it is called care. That’s what makes us warm inside; to know we are cared for, respected, appreciated, and loved.

Friendship is love, of course, but when you really try to get a grip on it, when you squint in the glare of the light trying to get a clearer glimpse of what this phenomenon is, it’s something unique unto itself. 

There's a gift of quiet blessing only friendship can impart, 
for a friend shares life with gentle hands, kind words and a caring heart.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

I for Inspiration

Dreams are not without meaning wherever they may come from
-from fantasy, from the elements, or from other inspiration. 

The ability of a being to exist is in its ability to survive. In the cognitive sense of the word, our survival is geared through our ability to harbour and create hope.

Inspiration is that which tells us to go on – motivation, encouragement, stimulation. Inspiration is that which is felt thoroughly with the heart though guided by the mind.

For me, life is all about continually finding something to be inspired by. Curiosity of the mind, the quest to learn more, to take a nugget of knowledge and be able to chew on it so that you benefit from its nutrients to the max. 

Inspiration is also used to describe the process of inhalation - as such, we do the same to our minds. That ability to take in from our surroundings and filter the good (as we do with oxygen from the air) and expel the bad, and use what we have filtered in for further use.

Sometimes we find ourselves in a quagmire of blah - lethargic, apathetic, purposeless. We wonder what's the purpose of it all? What are we doing? What's the point. That's when we often come to our wits end -- life really seems pretty futile without some sort of motivation, doesn't it?

Inspiration is often thought of as a happy thing. That bright-eyed wonder taking it all in, with blue skies and rainbows. Or, the beauties of a sunrise or sunset. But I have realized that through the lack of fulfillment, there too is profound inspiration. The void which magnifies even more the essence of what is missing, and in simply wanting, we live more.

Every single moment provides us that opportunity for inspiration. And furthermore, we possess that ability to inspire, in our own unique ways. Our experiences in every step along the way is something we can hand over and share with another, and our lessons learnt can be passed on, just as our failures can also teach.

Often we don't acknowledge the act of being inspired in our lives; more often than not, it is as common as taking the next breath, though if we paused a moment to reflect on why we are doing what we are, or how we are doing what we are, or where we are, and who we are, then we realize that inspiration is a vital ingredient in the very fuel of life. 

L for Love

Love is something if you give it away, 

Give it away, give it away.

Love is something if you give it away,
You end up getting more.

Love. The story of my life. For some people, life feels an accomplishment through their career, or the amount of money they make. Maybe it’s vicariously through the children they bring into this world. It’s the oldest cliché in the book, but for me, it’s all about Love.

Through all these years that I have experienced and sought this holy grail of mine, I’ve gone through those inevitable ups and downs that have taught me where my beliefs were wrong or my feelings ill-placed. Accordingly, I’ve also gone through many stages of anti-love, where I swore that I would remain single and dedicate my life to more practical realities, rather than chasing after a fairy-tale that led me to the middle of nowhere. What these phases of so-called self-professed anti-love taught me was that it’s really ingrained in me. That my motto I’d lived so many years and cast away, was really stuck to me permanently: Live to love, love to live.

And I’d realized, if I was looking at the overall goal, to find that soulmate who’d be my happily ever after forever and always, then maybe I need to take a closer look at this thing called Love. Because sometimes when you keep it as close to you as your own face, you then don’t recognize itin the flesh because you’ve never looked at it face to face with your own eyes. That’s the thing with love – you have to make friends with it and be familiar with its idiosyncrasies, because how else will you recognize it when it’s actually finally there in the eyes of your beholder reflecting back at you?

It's just like a magic penny,

Hold it tight and you won't have any.

Lend it, spend it, and you'll have so many
They'll roll all over the floor.

The overall picture meant one person. But love means everything and everyone, and most importantly yourself. I had to come to terms with the fact that love didn’t mean finding someone else to make you feel accomplished. Love had to start with “I”.

And what I realized was that, instead of just holding out for that one person one day, I had to wear it every day, for myself. When I did that, I found that noone else was able to take my vulnerabilities and use it against me -- I didn't give them that permission. I stopped searching for love and stopped persuading myself - always prematurely and in the wrong places - that I found it.

Being in love with the idea of love is a dangerous thing. You should love love. But you cannot expect that it will fluourish where you decide is a convenient place for it to do so. It doesn't happen just like that, you cannot plant a seed in concrete and expect it to grow. And you can't keep pouring more and more onto that seed in hopes that it will. Because what you're doing is pouring more expectation onto your hope, and in doing so, you're meanwhile drowning out that one hope as well as forgetting to feed the rest of your plants. 

No matter how much love you know you have to give, and no matter how much you seek that soulmate and companion, you still need to remember that every step along the way to wherever and however you're getting there needs some attention. Put a little love into the next spot you need to step, let it grow and keep you stable so that you can cross to the next. Love isn't something you can keep aside in the fridge for that feast you expect you'll have one day; you need to come to the realization that however much you use, you have much more to replenish it with. That's when you can appreciate and recognize the live wire connection between life and love.

You need to find it in the smallest things, the everyday things, before it will show up in the greatest place of all. The way the wind blows, or how the rain falls, the people around you --and most importantly in and for yourself. You need to extend your ability to love even the mundane moments, inject it into the actual spark of life. 

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. 
When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” 
― Paulo Coelho