Crack the bubble…

Contradictions contribute to stress? Does” identity” related differences influence our behaviors?

It was nice to observe me, the neighborhood, friends and spaces around to see complexity and confusion; find possibilities to convert problems as opportunities to make me less stressed.

Most of us in the digital age are numbered like in jails. We have passwords and identification numbers for most transactions including that on social media. Identity is in a crisis – some say. What do you feel?

Identity is a concept of own and others’ affiliations on people. It’s how “me” is seen, by self and others.  The central idea is that any individual’s sense of identity is determined in large part by the explorations and commitments that we make regarding certain personal and social traits. Since identity is a virtual thing, it is impossible to define it empirically. Hall suggests “Identity is a process and takes into account the reality of diverse and ever-changing social experience”.

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve known.” – Chuck Palahniiuk. Let us check out if we ever looked at us in a serious way and to find a pattern to be aware of our own identity. “When we discover who we are, we will be free.” – Ralph Ellison says. To discover who we are, we need to find who we are not.

The confusion creates a crisis, as individuals we position ourselves on a larger canvas – in professional, global scenario, at work or in social terms. We merge and synthesize to adapt to the changing environments. The crucible shuffles, shakes and forms new identities. We need to be aware of these contributing influences.

Unless this is known it is difficult to move from comfortable positions of identities to uncomfortable platforms as we evolve. We keep changing the cast that forms our identities as environments change. That makes us universal or global citizens in making progress and growth. Over thinking may not be the ideal solution. Finding the gray between the pure white and pure black of “right and wrong” is a fast forward option. Move on …

As we search for “STRESS RELIEF” pills, tranquilizers and other means, an alternative is to introspect and find internal peace, which is in our own hands.

“The ability to enjoy life begins with a simple ability to relax” – Kriyananda says. But that’s the most difficult part! Remember in chasing material benefits – happiness is eluded not enhanced.

Gandhi Ji said – “Find the purpose; means will follow”.

Check out who you are and who you want to be. Stephen Cowe recommended in his book “8th Habit” to conduct your own funeral and ask the question – is this identity that you would like to leave behind when dead?”

If not; let us pull out the bubble within us to see who we are – to find our own identity.

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“Riding God’s Axe”- A review of Siva Sadasivan’s book

Life is a journey – destinations are not milestones. Train journeys are part of our journey of life, stations mark destinations where we either exit or enter during journey. Siva Sadasivan, in his book “Riding God’s Axe”, narrates his travelogue across the stretch where Parasurama’s axe travelled to create God’s Own Country.

Sandwiched in the sixth chapter of the eleven narrates the journey by Parasuram Express that run between Mangalore and Nagercoil  that connect three states. Mesmerized like the writer I too felt the cool breeze bringing with it a salty twang as I glided past the pages.  Feelings are integrated in to the journey with a timeless, space-less and endless weave in a style that captured my imaginative mind to curious tit-bits that I used to enjoy as a traveler when the engine used to have two men one the driver and the other fireman.

Travel through Kerala – a mix and match of nature, people and cultures, is one where tourists flock in from abroad as well from India. The story is a scramble of people on railway tracks – as you listen to the chirps of birds as well as heated communications by co-passengers. It starts with the journey way back with whistles of the steam engine. It narrates what happens now when most or a majority of passengers are glued to their cell phones, not really aware of the scenes, messages and learning that one can capture as they travel – a miss for many written well here.

The way the author combed varied episodes of his journey that links religious and remote places in his travelogue is an enriched elixir to consummate nostalgia. Vivid with élan, simple and gigantic at the same time, the sounds of tea sellers on platforms with added spice of positive criticism of the Railway management.  This book comprises both a text and texture to appreciate details; provide a glimpse of most of the things we otherwise would have missed to notice. As we journey past on the tracks that are parallel – an un-parallel attempt is visible as recreation. First I read it as a glimpse past like I read on a Kindle, but the bound volume sketched with so many details, I re-read many pages.

Then I felt the aroma of spices of food on some pages as the writer brings in taste of the three states he travelled across. The other revelation to me was about the Classes, I used to travel – third Class in the railways (now defunct) and conveniences enhanced.

In a nut shell – the train moves and it looks, you too are a co-passenger with him – Sitting closer to the window, looking through the passing shades and colors of nature, people and places. I enjoyed my time crisscrossing as the driver whistled and Siva Sadasivan hand held me with him.

Riding God's Axe - Book Review