Thursday, August 18, 2016

Introspection

Another birthday went by....

I am often asked "What are your plans?"

Over a cup of coffee with my cousins when they come over to visit me or over a mug of chilled beer with a close friend; somewhere between the talks of bitching about a relative we share our dislikes for or discussing about a latest movie. How I struggle and meticulously talk along the borderline to just avoid "this" talk.

What are your plans? - its not a simple question. I dread it, have put up with this question for over a decade and would've to for long time now. What are your plans for life? There is always a pause as I take in that question. I look around and then stare blankly and shrug with the same answer as always -  "I don't know!"  Only that; I am not a teenager to give such an "irresponsible" answer. I am way past teens and 20s.

In my case, the question is basically when are you expanding your family? Kids? Am I thinking about it? Clock's ticking!!! Why am I selfish? What am I going to do in 5 years' time? Who will take care of me as I get older? And this "I don't know" knocks people off their minds; they can't fathom how can someone live their life not having a plan about their life. How? Why? They want to know if there a problem? Medical? Personal? Marital? Any problem? They want to help. And then - Are you not scared? is the next question. I again shrug and ask "Scared about what?" There! they lose it. I am thought to be a  weirdo, an insane, abnormal personality; a concerted conspiracy planted by force unknown amidst normal and conforming people to confuse them!

Volley of questions. For some reason, people think I am behind everyone in growing up or that I am refusing to grow up. I don't want to take up responsibilities. But my "plan" does not go beyond weekends. Do I think I have "lot of time" or do I think I am "20 anymore". No I don't. Of course, am I not a qualified adult? I hold a responsible position at workplace, answerable to critical deliverables, pay my taxes, cast my vote, do charity, face economic hardships having to make tough decisions at times, drink responsibly and above all - president of my apartment association and heck! I am a responsible mother to a puppy dog...(hope so!...have to get it confirmed with Gypsy).

I do save a bit, but I want to spend what I earn on my passion - traveling and exploring the world. I want to travel as far and as much as possible before my body gives up. Catch up with friends and jam and laugh a bit before the invites stop coming.

But when I see around; I see folks getting married, having kid, having a second kid....thinking about future, retirement, savings....A lot has happened in this past year for me. I changed jobs; went back to my old company. I saw familiar people who I last saw 8 years ago before I quit still hanging around. Some of them now with gray hair and stooped shoulders, few who joined as a new college graduate as me are now showing signs of aging - belly, under eye bags and a hunch. I came across a couple of classmates from school - I knew them as young innocent girls stepping into teens but now moms with 2 kids. When I saw them first; I saw myself in them - young, energetic and carefree. But now; they are old, tiring and full with responsibilities and commitments.  I don't see myself in them anymore; or have I also grown up to be tired, old and stressed?

Perhaps; my problems are different. I do discuss at length about these evolution and cycle of life with few of my young friends; and I've started to notice that we are reducing in number. Few years ago; friends got busy with their life as they migrated to different country or got married or committed and got busy in their life. Now I am in that "those friends are having second kid" phase. Everyone are happy with those new phases in life; while I am still clinging on to that "old" one which people believe is not right. Perhaps; I will not know. They don't know that I am comfortable in my skin; I am not fretting over it now and hope I won't wake up one day and regret that I missed the boat. Self doubt is suffocating; but let me live with this thought and this too shall pass.

But I am glad to be not growing up just like everyone else does and seems its the norm; I revel in what and how I am. I also very well acknolwedge that I am growing old and respect it with grace. This becomes very important to distinguish because most folks think growing up and growing old are one and the same. I'll accept the aging factor; don't wish to disguise that trying to and blend in with 20-somethings around me. Should I grow up?

I don't know.....

Friday, August 12, 2016

Through Central America

My absence has been due to business related travel to California. Well, the schedule was hectic with having to deliver right on day one while dealing with jet lag. Day after day; I turned up in office sleepy and groggy; dark circles growing bigger and darker around my eyes. I had to be in two different locations; and then the ask was to spend few more days at work.

After the work was done; I just booked a ticket to Guatemala. I wanted a break and Central America has always been on my list; especially the Mayan ruins. So Guatemala to start it was; no plan and no itinerary. I wanted to keep it flexible and open so that I could just plan each day as it comes and go where I wanted to as I traveled. Left my luggage at a friend's place; packed 2 sets of clothes and bare essentials in a backpack and started on a 9 day travel.

Well, whenever I have traveled solo I have ended up meeting other travelers in between and have tagged along; so it was never solo completely. However this time; it was all through solo as I hopped across 3 countries starting at Guatemala through Belize and to Mexico and finally back to USA. The experience unforgettable; the places I visited were nothing short of paradise; the people of course curious of me and I of them. It was totally a new thing to me; challenges due to language barriers were abounds; but thats where the thrill is right? I'll journal about this trip on my travel blog; meanwhile a sneak peak here.

The Half Moon Bay, California. I went straight from the airport as soon as I landed.
No need of an introduction I guess. The so famous Mayan ruins at Tikal, Guatemala
The serene scene at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
The Spanish colonial town of Antigua, Guatemala
Laguna Bacalar off Costa Maya in Quintana Roo, Mexico






Monday, July 18, 2016

String of Jasmine

A rhapsody of scent, unexpected. 
Welcoming; in an otherwise dull reception.
I turn around to spot a lady unassuming.
A string of jasmine flowers
Coifed on her long silky hair.
Ah! a refreshing aroma.

Jubilation; to see a lady
Clad in brightest of saree with
contrast of blouse; unmatched.
Muffled jingles from broken bells;
On her silver anklet. Assorted silver rings
Straining her slender toes.

The face; as innocent as it could be
Is the innocence just outward?
I know not; not that it matters.
Bright big red dot on the forehead;
And a tiny smear of vermilion;
Middle of her neatly parted  hair.

Glittering gold with rubies accentuated
Earrings , bangles and necklaces
The elegant lady was all decked
As if she were to attend a wedding.
Realized I was in hospital only when;
My name was called to consult the doctor.

Friday, July 8, 2016

My current obsession - Haikus

I discovered my interest for Haikus and Senryus few months ago. Been reading them for a while now; but it was only few months ago that I wanted to write Haikus too. What captivated me are the challenges. They seem so simple at glance but to paint a lucid picture in the mind of the reader in those few words and leave a lasting impression needs a great deal of effort. That in turn should encourage the reader to visualize more beauty and there it grows! Ive been practicing and learning for a while now. Haiku's essence and techniques are so refreshing; makes one appreciate how less can mean more.

So been on a haiku writing spree. Here is one of my Haiku



This is a typical haiku following basic rules and techniques. Haikus are about celebrating nature and seasons. Haikus traditionally consist of 17 "on" or syllables. In Japanese; haikus are written in one single vertical line; while in English its written as 3 lines - with phrases of 5-7-5 syllable. These days; however the syllable and having nature as subject is not strictly followed. The other essence of Haiku is "kiru" meaning cutting. This is represented by juxtaposing two ideas and a "kireji" - cutting word between them. The job of "kireji" is to cut the flow of thoughts and take you to a parallel thought; either suggesting a parallelism or provide a heightened sense of closure. Haiku in English is not equivalent to writing it in Japanese; there is no direct equivalent to "kireji". So generally; a punctuation mark or a break is used to let the juxtapose take effect and let the reader reflect on the relationship between two contrast ideas. Here; my idea is the colorful chirpy life versus the location - cemetery.

 The other aspect of Haiku is "kigo" - a word implying season as I mentioned earlier; or time of the day. Kigo are not always part of Haiku. Apart from juxtaposition technique; there are few other basic techniques of Haiku. One is What-When-Where; which I've used here. Few others are techniques called Zooming, Unfolding, Shasei to name a few.

One of my Shasei - sketching from life. Its to describe whats exactly going on in the scene to absorb the experience and the situation; that can touch you.


The other variant of Haiku is Senryu. Its nothing but Haiku about humans. While Haiku tends to be about nature;  Senryu is about human and its generally dark humor and does not need to have kireji or kigo.

Here is one of my Senryu following all the rules and techniques



I am trying to add my haiku verses with my pictures so that the pictures and words make a great combination. Found haikus to be challenging my creativity and vocabulary. So loving it! Its not easy and I've been reading and practicing a lot. One of the greatest Haiku master was Basho. If interested; just google for Basho's haiku and enjoy his haikus.

I've a Facebook page where I upload them regularly; please visit and encourage. - https://www.facebook.com/the.bindutg/

Monday, June 27, 2016

Realization

As twilight sets in;
I brace myself up
For a long lonely evening
My pet; unaware; of the storm
Brewing within me;
Calmly rests his face on my lap
Whimpering with pleasure;
Eyes; half closed; licking my fingers
With contentment
There! the twilight
The reality sets; the dreams end
Or; do they?
Mind races across;
Like a Capuchin
Jumping from one branch to another
I let the thoughts race
To the past; which is futile
To the future; on which I have no control
The present; I seem to forget
and let it slip by; unnoticed.
Foolish you could call.
Dumb me! I’d say.
The day sailed smooth;
Bright sunshine and cool breeze
Happy chirping birds and people’s blabber.  
With my love’s soothing voice of sweet nothings
Why hover to unknown; when the present is so fine.
I realize that; just in time.
Twilight – I brace myself up.
My thoughts interrupt –
With a phone call reminding me to workout ;-)