Rocks, Stones and Pebbles

You and I love to walk on the sea shore or on the river side once in a way. Who does not? At times, may be when a small sand particle gets into our foot ware, we think of that tiny pebble. Otherwise why we spent time thinking of non-interesting sand that is essentially pulverized, weathered rock that toss up by the waves. Sand is basically a material made of breakdown of rocks over thousands and millions of years.

My wife and daughters have been collecting small pebbles of rocks wherever we went in India or abroad and at times request friends who go places, to bring a small pebble or rock. The idea being “DHARTHI EK HAI” – world is one. As we collect we appreciate the world we live in. We understand the limit of our world as we look at cosmos. As we look at we individuals as a tiny molecule in the huge canvas of cosmos, that makes it sensible. We have a life span of restricted time period. Compare that short period to the tiny sand particles that took millions of years to form?

The highest peak in the world is Mount Everest at 29035 feet above sea level. But that is not the tallest. The tallest mountain is Mauna Kea in the islands of Hawaii. Mauna Kea stands 13796 feet above sea level and extends 19796 feet below Pacific Ocean.

At times we say we touched rock bottom of our lives, it seems a comparison. We say hidden are most of our feelings; like that of Mauna Kea. At times we burry our feelings that burden us like Mauna Kea submerged in the sea. At such times we need to reflect of what Sir Edmund Hillary said “It is not the mountain we conquer; but ourselves”.

In our lives we often climb big rocks, small stones that we trip and fall and sands where we make footprints during our journey of life. We need to remember then of millions of years that rocks take to become sand as water cuts rocks on a dimension of time. Do we overestimate the turmoil we consider as huge in comparison?

It says “River water cuts rocks not because of its strength but by its persistence”. We had a chance to kayaking on the river Sutlej that emanates beyond Indian borders and pass through Shimla. Remembered sitting on the banks on a sea of pebble stones. Close to that place was a hot spring on the banks of Sutlej River that was extremely cold. That spring was hot and was unbearable for hand touch. It is such phenomena that we witness to understand that co-existing as in nature is a lesson to learn for social existence. These lessons help us to build our attitude and thus our character.

It was in Cairo where I and my wife went on a camel back to see pyramids. We chose to walk the distance on a camel back to adapt to that place. Sure it was an amazing experience. Most of us know the way pyramids are built and a lot is unknown. The size of mammoth stones that shaped the angles is a sight that we can imagine. Irregular and equally charming are the rocks and mountains in Rampura en-route to Bangalore. That was a locale movie SHOLAY was shot, Shaped into an array of elegance Sippy chose that place for Shoal to be shot. Jorge Luis Borges was apt in saying – “Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand. But we must build as if sand were stone”. The story of Hampy is another study of rocks. It took time for those monumental structures to be created, but they last a long time.

In my professional life there were umpteen enquiries with nature between official engagements. One such was a visit to Bora caves away from Visakhapatnam. The Gosthani River, originates close to these caves and flows between the solidified stalactites and stalagmites in the karstic lime stones formation. Water percolating from the roof of the caves dissolves limestone and trickle drop by drop to form stalactites of the cave and drip down to the ground. These deposits have developed into interesting forms and structures inside the caves. These shapes have captured the imagination of tourists. Excavations carried out in the caves by archeologist unearthed stone tools of middle Paleolithic culture dating back 30,000 to 50,000 years, which confirmed human habitation. A similar kind of rock formation as a cave is there near Krabi islands in Thailand. During that visit my wife looked above as she had a droplet of water on her head. While she looked above I was looking down as I spotted a plant growing in that underground environment. That is nature. With the need of water for organic growth drop by drop a plant can grow in that ambience. Marvelous indeed I captured a photo of her standing near that plant. Anything is a possibility to grow and flourish, provided we seek the luck in an opportunity at right time. This study is beyond geology and research into historical evidences that create rocks into caves.

Here we differ and think is it right to quote “A rolling stone gathers nothing?”. The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way we use them. Both are rock formations are in our thoughts. We need to differentiate. After all our thoughts are mental blocks; attitudinal issues. That’s why we need to think out of the box. Parallel thinking patterns. Resolving conflicts, in relationships and moving ahead stepping on stumbling blocks of rocks that appear as mountainous terrains. A drop of water with persistence can give life to the plant and a drop of water can cut rocks with less power than the hugeness of the problems we foresee.

Rocks at times are illusionary clouded in colours of blue, like Alps. Such formations provide us with patterns to dream. We climb and achieve success; we compete with self rather than the surroundings and environment. It is not the peak of Everest that we reach but knowing the strength and capabilities of our minds.

Like the rock, the strongest muscle is our heart and the worst enemy is our mind. Understanding this we avoid unwanted thoughts and manipulations. Pass through beautiful caves inside mountains and take a dip to find submerged Mauna Kea.

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Fjord – What’s that?

“Fjord” – I read in news paper as I passed through an article.
My God!

I having passed through a Malayalam medium high school with limited knowledge of English spelling wondered and peeped into Webster Comprehensive Dictionary. Wow, the word exists that lead me to look at the word “fiord”. There it comes, and says see even “fyord”, they are synonyms for the meaning – a long and narrow arm of the sea with high rocky banks. Then remembered a trip to Krabi Islands with my wife on our 35th wedding anniversary where there were such landscapes but never thought to check the word, then. That was 8 years ago. That shows we tend to forget small things, though they make up a lot for our hearts.

That made me curious enough to look at things that I did not know, with a pair of progressive spectacles that I recently bought. Revisit and refocus through that new lens. Yes, stumbled upon glass. Between most of us and glass there is something or other, a love affair either to toast or to buy a crystal or a tinted glass painting.

Some people amongst us are settling down, some are settling and some refuse to settle like butterflies. When life gets confused we need to adjust our focus. Vision improves when we see what is invisible. When you look at things differently, things we look at change. I see these with my new spectacle,
Long back in a program at Kolkata, I made a presentation. I never used a pair of glasses as a youngster, but later used a spectacle and a bi-focal. And at times I used a microscope for dissection to get into details and a telescope for distant viewing to look into future. Having used all those glassed items, what I loved was the use of a cheap toy on earth – Kaleidoscope, made out of broken glass pieces. A tilt and a new picture emerge; a new perspective, objective, new idea that are fresh and glowing a glittery pattern for every tilt.
Our minds should think out of the box and look differences and align patterns in our thought processes that enhance our relationships.

Glass brings back a story most of you may have heard. A newlywed wife on her first few days looks through her window across to see other side. She tells her husband that her neighbor washed clothes that were not as clean as hers. But her husband cleans the glass panes and shows that it was her window glass that was not clean. Perspectives change with introspection. We cannot assign the world dirty unless we clean own glasses. Our perception of others actually is a reflection of ours. Extending glass to stained glass windows it is said: they sparkle and shine when sun sets; true beauty is in darkness with the light WITHIN (us).

Let me turn the page of glass to mirror. In a mirror, we look for effects of time on us but cannot watch our effects on others. Mirror in a way is a true
friend of ours as it does not lie. When we are happy it shows and does not show sadness. There is a story about mirror. Someone sent his son to clean the mirror and repeatedly advised him to do so every day. He did but asked why? Father answers: “This is actually the case with the mind. Clean it every moment, because every moment, just by its nature, dust goes on gathering.” “We will be able to see God on the day on which our heart becomes like a mirror” said Osho. We can see ourselves better, when dust on the surface of mirror gets cleaned. It is the dust of our actions, ego, thoughts, desires and feelings. We need to cleanse to get right refraction of splitting white colour to its magnificent seven that forms like a splendid rainbow. After all, all of us deserve to be beautiful, to self and others. Who does not want to be?

“It is better to conquer yourself than win a thousand” – Buddha.
Mirror yourself, better, more beautiful.

Horizontal and vertical – It’s all about space

It was early June that I spent a good lot of time with my sister’s husband who happens to be my cousin. We had a sumptuous feast of communications interesting from the fact that most were about the bygone era.

I mentioned about my engineering college days in Akathethara, Palakkad. And he said that none of the current generation can believe this. Yes it is true. My parents used to send a money order every month for my living expenses and I used to wait. The amount was Rs.70/- that comprised of around Rs.55/- towards the food and room rent that we shared between two. The balance went for a movie and some travel expenses and a biriyani and tea from Hotel Kashmir, Olavakkot.

I told him the cost per sardine small size that I bought a couple of days back was nearly Rs.5/- a piece. And on return way back from the fish market I recollected how when I was a school student in Calicut sardines crop during a season was so much (there was no cold storages then) that the fishermen had to dispose their catch. My father bought sardines in bamboo baskets at a price of 10 “naya” – paise per basket and put as manure for the coconut trees at home.

He spoke about his early days with the Japanese trainers in deep sea fishing that was first introduced in India by Norwegians and followed with the Japanese. He spoke a few words he remembered in Japanese and stories of Ayumu, his captain, who survived with four holes on his back near his waist line during world war. He was lying on his chest during a carpet bombing. Aged but strong they all worked nearly 18 to 19 hours in a day in deep sea. Eating was not in sitting position as waves and weather played a lot against.

He then suddenly remembered how he picked the seahorse Ayumu had captured from the fishing net along with fish. Ayumu asked him to return to him and he actually took a second one from Ayumu. Japanese believed that if you keep the shell of the seahorse it takes away evil spirits and wards off bad times!

We both continued to discuss and appreciate the old nostalgic pills coated with sugar and spice. After that I took a picture of those two seahorses and at home probed to know more of the creature God created to ward off evil spirits.

The seahorse name species is called Hippocampus. “Hippocampus” comes from the Ancient Greek word hippos meaning “horse” and campus meaning “sea monster”. Seahorses range in size from 1.5 to 35.5 cm and live in shallow waters. Seahorses swim upright, a characteristic not shared by their close pipe- fish relatives, which swim horizontally. That makes a difference and I noted that aspect and compared to the times I spent in work in Saudi Arabia where the Arabic language is written from left to right.

The concept of horizontal and vertical is a geometrical proposition and when applied to thought processes it gave me a corollary of the 9-hat game of parallel thinking by Edward de Bono.

The photo I captured on my cell phone was the toy in my hand that put me to a pedestal into future. A total deviation from the nostalgia filled discussions we had at my brother-in-laws home.

From where to where is the space that once seen as carrier for clouds, the full moon that came up in most of romantic poetry, aero planes and radio waves have shifted for communications of all kinds, scientific explorations and defense techniques etc. That space defines the way we live now.

The NET or internet depends on that horizontal and vertical space and decide how we operate our day’s schedules and time-passes like “whats-apping” and “face-booking”!

Most of our procedures and processes including health care and life is about that pattern. And we depend on the horizontal-vertical space around us.

Relationships that make and break also connect to the digital space we depend upon these days. The time-pass whether in waiting for the train or in a hypermarket mall is with the two fingers swiping on that tiny glass space, to rub and penetrate deeper into affairs and matters.

I was showing and telling about the radio that I used to wait for Radio Ceylon on Wednesdays at 8 pm to my grandson. He now has the remote control that switch to different channels and my grandson was astonished to know those old times of his Ammacha and how it was possible for those time’s people to live at such a slow speed!

I think as the parallel thinking methodology work out opportunities when we are stuck with choices and decisions the next generation people will explore things that recede the current trends into dust bins? Will it or the current times become obsolete with or without values?

The seahorse somehow helped me to think forward and positive – if it can swim vertical and Arabic can be read from left to right everything is a possibility as long as we indulge not in stuck spaces and idle moments, but move forward with a thought process that find ways for handling issues of relationships or more newer methodologies that make the next generation live their lives better.

 

 

 

Hide & Seek

 

As I un-wrapped a packet of “Hide & Seek” biscuit this morning after a walk at Sarovaram Park, I got myself engrossed to wrap up in thoughts.

This is not about the biscuits but about the varied thoughts that enter our mind when we are awake and per dreams in our sub-conscious minds when we are asleep. I am told that on an average more than 50,000 thoughts come across as we pass the day.

I walked through the park with Sujit my friend’s son who works in US and we spoke about the thoughts that matter. In that circle of 50,000 thoughts, a few handfuls of them may be called as areas of influence and the rest are areas of concern where we have nothing to do. But that’s the area where we spend our energies most, is that right? A bird sang songs as we were in the discussions. The sun was rising up for the day. On the sides of the narrow path where we walked, fallen leaves like those who completed their terms of life’s journey reminded me of the short period that we are here on the surface of earth.

Asked myself – why do we get mood swings? Let’s come CLOSER to undersatnd. We undergo change in our moods as feelings affect us through thoughts both positive and negative. Unfortunate it is that there appears no filter is in our minds, to get positive thoughts always. We need to understand this and witness the more than 50,000 thoughts that flow past our minds. Someone said – thoughts come as visitors, let them come and go.

Long back my colleague Shaik Iqbal in Saudi Arabia spoke about Lean concept. Later I learnt Six Sigma Lean concept. These are approaches that make things simple, less complicated, more productive and value added. “Minimalism” probably connotes the same where we tend to be minimalistic in our materialistic desires.

Probably the silence as we walked around made me think with a back drop of natural surroundings on a chill atmosphere of January morning.

I also looked at the variances between desire that leads to pleasure and need that leads to action. It transgresses in our minds and lay out a channel that needs probing. I also tried to pick up threads on values that relate to others and karma that relates specifically to our-self.

In a multiplex world with changing social behaviors our minds pass through multiplex levels of thoughts to understand and judge good and bad or right and wrong. We tend to sit in judgment with the balance hanging in front, on each of those 50,000 thoughts and corrupt our valuable time to wasteful paths. After all who are we to judge and conclude the righteousness of each and individual episode? We did not create most of it and so be it.

Let us get across to areas of influence where our effort may find a solution to us and others involved. Are those areas of influences anything more than two or three in a day? May be may not be. But a mathematical evaluation can prove that we spend most of our time where we do not satisfy ourselves. We lose to see the current, the NOW part of our journey called life. With less than 65 years of a standard life estimated we hardly have just about 23,000 days. If we consider the best part that we can utilize we have about 15,000 days. If we give ourselves a rough cut we hardly have productive days as 10,000. On a LEAN concept, if our minimalism ideas were to work out during these 10,000 days multiplied by 50,000 thoughts we need to still handle nearly 50 Crore thoughts of wasteful energy. Look at that number that we may have to handle if we consider 10,000 days and a maximum of 3 thoughts of influence it still amounts to 30,000 thoughts! Imagine if we do not re-set our desires to need based action we clog our minds with thoughts that spoil our days. I would never have heard the singing of birds or located the fallen leaves and had a second look at the rising sun and its HIDE & SEEK that makes up our good and bad days.

Most of the things we desire are expensive, but most of what makes us happy are available free – like love and share, giving and forgiving, or for that matter the song of the birds or a breeze in the air. We need to keep calm, as nothing including these thoughts last forever. We need to be aware of our mood swings and ensure we do not mix our words with moods as we communicate. Moods change but words cannot be erased. We need to live and enjoy and be happy with our lives and not just EXIST. With a purpose driven life, direction is also important otherwise we wander without reaching our goals.

In the name of pretext we HIDE many things and SEEK many even if we really are not in need. We mostly tend to pass through black and white and not see the rainbows of colors that exist at the reach of our minds.

Let’s come closer to the facts that drive us. Let’s find the direction we are leading to achieve our goals. Let’s re-visit priorities that set us to enjoy the limited days in our lives to be happy and make others happier.

For this let us peep into the past by the click of reverse button and find – did we attempt to do what makes us happy? As William Faulkner said – “Past is never dead, it is not even PAST”.

Each of us may find a new clue and a new key that opens up corridors of happiness in our hearts and around us with a surge to open windows of yet another chance to be happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a flight in search … (Happiness …)

Recently I changed my Facebook cover photo from that of my grandson’s picture to a bird and captioned it with “In a flight in search …” and found a thread in that very line to write this.

Some links connect to my grandson and toys he has in plenty. When we returned from his home to Calicut, my wife carried a few toys in her baggage and presented those to Sumitha who has two sons who come with her to our building to play around.

That moment when the toys were handed over to them the youngster said – “there are cars in this bundle that can run faster than those on roads!” – The joy on their faces was too much to believe as we felt nothing beyond parting away with something that was in surplus. Watching the joy made my mind at work to seek what I am trying to probe – happiness is?

Sumitha told me that her kids kept those toys near their pillows as they slept that night.

I saw one of them playing with the car the next day. And after a while it fell from the steps and broke. The elder one came in and was upset. “What will you tell our neighbors and friends when they see your car is damaged?” – Elder one quelled.

“I will tell them that another aunty will give me a surprise gift and a more colorful faster moving toy car, and will fix this broken piece with rice glue”. The best glue that he saw so far is rice paste. Both went on to have their own games that evening.

I often found the concept of SHARE as a meaningful purpose in my early life, probably instilled as a value for values by my mother who never went beyond secondary school in her education. The meaning of some stories she told us still revisit in mind. At times the thoughts help an imaginary flight in search to find true meaning of concepts and how and to apply those in lives.

We used to exchange old clothes in return for vessels through vendors who arrive at our door steps. Then we switched to handing old clothes over to child homes. Of late we thought to give it off to the needy and not greedy. It meant we witness the joy of receiving from moments of SHARE.

Along with those old clothes passed on to a needy family who took those with gratitude was a shirt embossed with name of one of the US Companies I worked. A nice white full sleeved one. Having forgotten the name “Wittemaan” I got fused to the logo as I sat at a function and noticed an elderly person wearing the same shirt was sitting in front of me.

I was overwhelmed on the fact of recycling more closely as me and another member of CMA, went to Bengaluru to study the process of recycling waste into electricity as researched by the Indian Institute of Science. Possibilities exist.  My nephew who studied automobile engineering in Germany informed me of the various possibilities of re-conversion of wasteful spent of the car like heat, sound etc. in to useful energy by conversion.

The joy of receiving the toy, keeping those near their pillows kept me thinking of the concept of SHARE.

Only the other day I asked him what he did with the broken car. He said the rice glue did not help to make up the break. But he said his brother who was upset seeing his broken car was temporarily happy and slowly forgot of the sad feeling.

It’s written that “falling is not the most important thing, it’s how fast you get up and walk” that is important.

Rati from Worli, Mumbai who is crippled for her life and a best friend of mine, recently sent me a What Sapp message reading as under:-

{Walking is the best exercise – “walk away” from arguments that lead you to nowhere but anger, “walk away” from people who deliberately put you down, “walk away” from thoughts reduces your worth, “walk away” from failures and fears that block your dreams, the more you “walk away” from things that poison your soul, the happier your life would be – walk towards happiness!}

In search of happiness is what the flight of the bird indicated. Thank you Rati, even though I know you cannot walk forward, your “forward” to me was of great input and a SHARED thought for me to appreciate what happiness is?

I met the same youngster the other day and enquired whether the other aunty gave him the surprise gift?

“It’s yet to come, delayed, but for sure!”

He was actually dreaming that the best is yet to arrive in his life. He probably wanted all his friends also believe that damage or failures make no difference to dream realization. He in that process set up an array of positive thoughts including neighbors that “lost is lost” and many things are there that can be created or achieved including realizing dreams.

We chase happiness by buying costly things and apparels to create an image to project the not so of ourselves, and to wear masks.

Look at the boy and the elder person who put up an image of not on borrowed bargains but of self-worth knowing well “who I am”. Contented are they.

Difficulties or fear dampen path to happiness, but with an attitude to win over the hearts of self and those of others, they tend to live in the moment – where truth exists.