My 3 all-time favourite songs!

Writing 101, Exercise 3! Yes, after a bit of a break, I decided that the time is ripe for getting back to Writing 101 seriously. Maybe we’ll stick to it this time around.. but of course, the exercise demands that I spend 15 minutes EVERYDAY writing, and we all know how we conveniently have “Life” as an excuse. I’m rambling; I’ll spend the 15 minutes today. We’ll think about tomorrow, well.. tomorrow!

For those who don’t know, writing exercises typically use prompts to get your thoughts flowing in one direction. Today’s prompt is: to write about my 3 most favourite songs, which mean a lot to me. So here we go..

1. Uyirum Neeye, from the movie Pavithra:

This is a beautiful melodious song composed in the raaga Kamaas, one of my absolute favourites. This song is from a movie in the early 1990s, and won the singer a national award. However, I don’t remember if it became particularly popular, since I was just a toddler at that time.The song is about an extremely moving topic: Motherhood.

You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NovCNFS1O1M

There is this beautiful line in the lyrics which goes:

Un Kannil Vazhiyum oru thuli podhum

Kadalum urugum thaaye

Translated, it means: Oh Mother, a single teardrop from your eyes is enough to make the ocean melt.

This line unerringly brings tears to my eyes every single time I listen to this song!  I randomly discovered it a few years back, and fell absolutely and completely in love with it! It has never left my playlist since.

2. London Thumakda, from the movie Queen:

It is the mother of all wedding songs, and never fails to spark a festive mood even on a dull and dreary day. The song doesn’t have particularly special lyrics (well, most of the lyrics are in Punjabi, so I wouldn’t know if they were special :P), but it works simply with a fantastic beat that uplifts my mood instantly.

You can find this song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udra3Mfw2oo

It has been on my “Most played” folder ever since the movie released, and I can listen to it umpteen times, without ever getting bored! 😀

3. Get on the Floor by J Lo:

And this is the mother of all party songs! The one and only top song to make you get your groove on! It makes me start tapping my foot automatically, and makes me want to dance even when I’m down in the dumps! 3 years since this song was released, and I am yet to find another song that beats this when it comes to changing my mood from tired/sad/dull/depressed to happy and energetic within a second.

You can listen to this one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4H_Zoh7G5A

I hope you liked my list of all-time favs! Please do share yours with me; I’m always looking for new stuff! The comments section is open to one and all. 🙂

Toodles! 🙂

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When you don’t call God…

Why did Krishna not save the Pandavas when they played dice with Duryadhana & Shakuni?

Today I am in a bit of a spiritual mood. And hence, I am going to tell you a story.

During Krishna’s avatar on earth, he had a friend and counselor called Uddhava. Some ancient texts mention that Uddhava was also Krishna’s cousin. After the great war at Kurukshethra, it was Krishna’s time to return to his original abode. But before he left, Uddhava had a few questions for him. He had always wondered about the apparent disconnect between Krishna’s teachings and actions, and wanted to understand the reasons for the same.

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Uddhava starts asking – “Krishna, first tell me  – who is a real friend?”

Krishna says, ‘A real friend is one who comes to the help of his friend in need even without being called’.

Uddhava replies: ‘Krishna, you were a dear friend of the Pandavas. They trusted you implicitly as Apadhbhandava (protector from all difficulties). Krishna, you not only know what is happening everywhere at any given time, but you also know what is going to happen in the future. You are a great gnani. You just gave the definition of a true, close friend. Then why did you not act as per that definition? Why did you not stop Yudhishtra from playing the gambling game? Or why did you not turn the luck in favour of him, by which you could have ensured that dharma wins. You did not do that either. You could have at least saved him by stopping the game after he lost his wealth, country and himself. You could have released him from the punishment for gambling. Or, you could have entered the hall when he started betting his brothers. You did not do that either. At least when Duryodhana tempted him by offering to return everything lost if he betted Draupadi (who always brought good fortune to Pandavas), you could have intervened, and with your divine power you could have made the dices roll in a way that is favourable to Yudhishtra. Instead, you intervened only when Draupadi almost lost her modesty and now you claim that you gave clothes and saved Draupadi’s modesty; how can you even claim this – after her being dragged into the hall by a man and disrobed in front of so many people, what modesty is left for a woman? What have you saved? Is this Dharma?’

These are not the questions of Uddhava alone. All of us who have read the Mahabharata have these questions. This is because we are taught to believe that God will be watching over us and will prevent any mishaps from happening to us. We surrender ourselves unto him completely, on the blind faith that he will guide us and make us do the right actions. On behalf of us, Uddhava had already asked Krishna.

Bhagavan Krishna laughed. ‘Dear Uddhava, the law of this world is: ‘Only the one who has Viveka (intelligence through discrimination), wins’. While Duryodhana had viveka, Yudhishtra lacked it.That is why he lost’.

Krishna continued – ‘While Duryodhana had a lot of money and wealth to gamble, he did not know how to play the game of dice. That is why he used his Uncle Shakuni to play the game while he betted. That is viveka. Yudhishtra could have also planned similarly and offered that I, his cousin, would play on his behalf. If Shakuni and I had played the game of dice, who do you think would have won?

I can forgive the fact that he forgot to include me in the game. But, without viveka, he did another blunder. He prayed that I should not come to the hall, as he did not want me to know that through ill-fate he was compelled to play this game. He tied me with his prayers and did not allow me to get into the hall; I was just outside the hall waiting for someone to call me through their prayers. Even when Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva were lost, they were only cursing Duryodhana and brooding over their fate; they forgot to call me. Even Draupadi did not call me when Dusshasan held her hair and dragged her to fulfil his brother’s order. She was raging at her husband and arguing based on her own abilities; but she failed to call me. Finally good sense prevailed; when Dusshasan started disrobing her, she gave up depending on her own strength, and started shouting ‘Hari, Hari, Abhayam Krishna, Abhayam’ and shouted for me. Only then did I get an opportunity to save her modesty. I reached as soon as I was called. I saved her modesty. What is my mistake in this situation?’

Uddhava retorted: ‘Wonderful explanation, Kanna, I am impressed. However, I am not deceived. Does this mean that you will come only when you are called! Will you not come on your own to help people in crisis, to establish justice?’

Krishna smiles. ‘Uddhava, in this life everyone’s life proceeds based on their own karma. I don’t run it; I don’t interfere in it. I am only a ‘witness’. I stand close to you and keep observing whatever is happening. This is God’s Dharma’.

‘In that case, you will stand close to us, observe all our evil acts; you will just keep watching  as we keep committing more and more sins, accumulate them and suffer.’, says Uddhava.

Krishna says.’Uddhava, when you understand & realise that I am standing as witness next to you, how could you possibly do anything wrong or bad. You forget this and think that you can do things without my knowledge; that is when you get into trouble. Yudhishtra’s ignorance was that he thought he can play the game of gambling without my knowledge. If he had realized that I am always present with everyone in the form of ‘Sakshi’ (witness), then wouldn’t the game have finished differently?’

And so I have realised, in the course of my life! We believe that God is there with us, we pray every day; but at the same time, we don’t call him for each and every problem that we face in life. We try to solve it to the best of our ability, rage and rant at everyone else’s inefficiency, and fume silently when things don’t go according to plan. Most times, all it takes for a problem to get resolved is for us to call Him, for help.

keep-calm-and-call-god

Ever since I came across this story a couple of days back, I realised that subsconsciously, this is something even the most spiritual and religious among us do frequently. A small example from my own life happened recently – The motor that pumps the bore/metro water to the overhead tank in our apartment stopped functioning. For two whole weeks, we called the plumber and electricians one after the other, but we never called God.

Ah well.. when it comes to plumbing, we certainly tend to think that the plumbers knows better than God. Well, in this case, the plumber tried various methods of fixing the issue, but unfortunately, the problem kept recurring. One fine day, I came across the story above from the Uddhava Gita. My immediate reaction was to be astonished at my own stupidity! How could I have forgotten to do something that is so simple?

I immediately prayed to God for a resolution for the motor issue, and asked him to give water abundantly. And presto! The issue was fixed within 24 hours! 🙂

Assertive is the way to be!

Earlier this week, I got the opportunity to attend a 2-day session on Assertiveness (and before I write about the topic, I’m going to take a moment to thank my employer – Elsevier, for giving me this opportunity and focusing on the wholesome growth of employees, rather than just looking at us as low-level employees who are paid to do their tasks).

The session was like a breath of fresh air! We had a wonderful trainer (who looked like, and reminded me a lot of Dumbledore) who facilitated the session. Being assertive involves a lot of things that we already know, but seldom practise. The various examples of aggressiveness, assertiveness, passivity, and passive-aggressiveness made me realise how we all tend to adopt different approaches in different situations, and towards different people. While it may not be actually possible to be assertive in all situations, there is always a better way to be 90% of the time.

Assertiveness

While I usually describe myself as assertive, advising anybody who would listen on how to respect themselves and not let people walk all over them, I realised that subconsciously, I have been passive myself for most of my life, and then rage internally about the unfairness of life, and the aggressiveness of people! 😐 But now I’m so glad that I’m no longer that person.

The session involved a variety of activities that helped us let go of our crippling beliefs, increase our self-esteem and thereby improve our self-respect and confidence. The higher our self-esteem, the more assertive we tend to be. We actually wrote love letters to our future selves (and I can’t wait for the day I will receive mine!) 😀 We also talked to the group about one moment in our lives that we are proudest of, wrote positive comments for everyone else who attended the session, and in turn, got some wonderful comments ourselves. We also learnt some wonderful techniques to use for being assertive.

My favourite part of the entire session was an activity where we wrote down one belief that limited us the most, and then burnt it. Cleansing, some would say; I call it life-changing! Unbeknownst to ourselves, some of our limiting beliefs actually define us and the way we perceive and interact with the world. This session gave me the power to recognise that belief and let go of it. Even as I write this post without any inhibitions of what the readers would think of it, I realise that I am a changed person. I am able to see that my thoughts have changed, my focus has changed, my reservations have declined. In the past 3 days, I have already done at least two things that I never would have done before.

It was also a wonderful batch that took part in the session, and an amazing wave of optimism and an unquenchable thirst for life flowed through all of us towards its close. We are now truly empowered! 🙂

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks.

Life Update!

So it’s been a while since I wrote anything here.. no matter how much you resolve to prioritize, life somehow always gets in the way. But in a way, I’m also glad that I’m keeping busy, because too much free time doesn’t do anyone any good. It is just that well.. blogging shouldn’t be reserved for free time!

I’m getting there.. I’m getting there.. after a brief hiatus in reading books, I fell 2 books behind my schedule for this year. But now I’ve somehow powered through and closed the gap by one book; so it is not going to be long before I close the gap on blogging too! 🙂

So I had a wonderful May – at the time, it felt chaotic, but now that I look back, I see that I had in fact, made slow and steady progress on a lot of things. And my best friend/soul mate got engaged, plus I took a quiet, small anniversary vacation to Pondicherry with the husband which totally recharged me!

A lot of people scoffed at me when I said I’m going to Pondy, but surprisingly, I had a wonderful time. It is a small sleepy town with cobbled streets, where all you have to do is go in circles to reach anywhere you want. Although I’ve been to Pondy before, I had barely covered the beach and temples. This time gave me the opportunity to discover many more places; we took a long romantic walk in Auroville in wonderful weather, promptly landed in MG Beach to watch the sunrise every day, generally lazed around and had an amazing time! 🙂

Sadly, the passage of time isn’t as sharp in my memory as I would like it to be. No major landmarks to mark me crossing over from the early 20s to the late 20s. Even more surprisingly, this side of the 20s looks much the same as the other side, except a vague feeling in my mind that time is passing, and I need to get more out to life, do more things that I’m passionate about. Which you can also clearly see that I’m not actually implementing, by the fact that my blog frequently goes into coma, only to be briefly and lightly awakened by me once a month.

Anyway, let’s hope this year is better than the last one, and I am not still at square zero of “getting more out of life” by the time my next birthday rolls around.

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks.