Limitation

Photo: Health Fitness Revolution

The other day I was watching a programme on Youtube in which a young man was asking a question regarding spirituality as he felt that he was otherwise settled in life as he had got into a very reputed graduate programme. I smiled to myself thinking that this young man is committing the same folly as I did when I was his age. He doesn’t understand the scope and limitations of his superlative graduate programme. All that it guarantees at best, is that his first break in the job market would be easy. Nothing more, nothing less.

Everything has its scope and limitations. May it be relationship, talent, wealth, circumstances.  To recognize that is very important . It helps one to look for what they want in the right place. It saves oneself from frustration. E.g. Habit is an efficient way to get a monotonous routine done well but if you have to make any change in it, the same habit gets in the way. Take societal norms and conventions; some can be very useful like when sharing common space, whereas others can cause impediment and great pain to some.

Shah Rukh Khan in the movie Yeh Zindagi talks about various kind of relationships and their scope. Though the scope of some relationships might seem very limited compared to others, the limitations doesn’t make them any less significant. AR Rahman’s take on limitation: according to him, it’s one’s limitation that gives them their unique signature.

Eckhart Tolle observed that some people overcome their limitation by excelling at it eg. A person with speech impediment overcoming his stammer and becoming a great public speaker, whereas others find something other than their limitation to excel in,  like a physically challenged person excelling in academics. In both cases,  it’s their limitation which motivates them to become who they are.

Limitations like financial, physical, logistical helps us not only to make small and big life decisions but to also combat fickle thoughts and emotions.

Me and my hair

Photo: poshmark.com

I was not a great fan of my curly hair.

When I was about 6 or 7 years old I remember getting a  new hairstyle which turned out to be too short for my liking. I felt that I looked like a boy and refused to step out of the house, but eventually I had no choice but to go out with my parents. My dad was waiting with his scooter just outside the gate. It was a fairly long way between my house and where my father was waiting. We had a huge garden to cross and I took refuge in it by ducking behind bush after bush till I reached my dad. Anyhow my covert operation didn’t work. My neighbours did catch me in my act and I was thoroughly embarrassed but my only way out was to pretend to be indifferent.

I had always been adventurous when it came to my hair, once I was the guinea pig for my cousin to try her hand at hair styling. I dyed my hair maroon once, and I have had all sorts of haircuts in my lifetime. A old friend of mine recently told me how I was modern enough when I was young to flaunt shorter hairstyles which was unthinkable to her then. I told her that it was not an act of fashion statement or modernism. My guess is that it was the one thing I could be adventurous with without getting into trouble in a very, very traditional and hierarchical society or perhaps it was simply that I didn’t care enough about my hair.

I lost so much of hair in my thirties that I was practically balding. It was then I woke up to the fact that if my hair weren’t curly and instead straight I would be sporting bald patches. Curliness seemed to give perceived volume to my scanty hair. I thanked my hair for the first time for what it was. I worried about my thinning hair, visited trichologist, tried out different oils and shampoos but nothing happened.

I reached a point when I finally gave up and slowly started to relax, even amuse myself now and then with the worst case scenario: if my hair got too thin and ugly I would shave it and wear a wig and perhaps flaunt different hairstyles.

But that didn’t happen. As I started loving my hair unconditionally somehow it decided to stay with me. My hair became little thicker and I am grateful and happy for it. I love it as it is now.

I started greying by 30s. My mom was at my back for quite some time asking me to dye my hair as she felt salt and pepper look doesn’t suit women. It’s never bothered me until now. I like my hair with all the grey in it. I feel like I have earned it.    

Incidents

Photo : Odyssey

His scooter skidded and fell and he went down with it. Both hit the ground but escaped without any damage, just that his mind and body were reeling from the shock for couple of days and he soon recovered. He thanked his stars and moved on.

He was leaving town after retirement, back to his native place. He had sold his car to someone he knew near his native place, so it was decided that his car mechanic Mani would drive him and his wife, drop them at their place, and then drop the car with the buyer. It was a long drive and they were enjoying it till they noticed that the car was moving faster than it should. It was overtaking vehicles dangerously and soon they were screaming as the car began swinging in and out of the oncoming traffic. Before they could even comprehend what was happening the car veered off the road into the paddy field and stopped dead. All went silent and they were quietly informed by Mani that he realized few minutes ago that the brake had failed and he was manoeuvring them to safety. Thanks to Mani who was part time working with police. He was  chasing down illegal smugglers in cars to nab them.

He was riding on his scooter with his wife as a passenger behind him. They were waiting at a signal for the light to turn green. Before they knew it, the vehicle standing next to them had brushed against them, toppling their scooter over just as the light turned green. The wife fell off the scooter and onto the ground, right in the path of a bus that had started moving. The visual of the large looming bus coming towards her knocked down helpless self made her decide never to ride in a two wheeler again.

This one is something I don’t know the details about. All that I got to hear from him was that he was driving with his wife by his side, hit the road divider, the car toppled over to the other side. Thanks to seatbelt and airbag they escaped without any serious injury. He thanked God and I told him,

”Yes dad, you should thank God for the miracle of keeping you and mom safe all these years of being on the road and through all the above incidents… or should I say accidents?”   

 

Can you spot?

This picture was taken by my husband as the sail boats representing different countries were pulling into Victoria during the Victoria Tall Ship Festival 2005.

Can you spot the men posing in various positions from top to bottom in the above picture? Isn’t it marvellous?

Decision Making

Photo : restoringdata.ca

I sucked at it. I don’t know if it was from the beginning or it just started when I became an independent individual. Anyhow, I became aware of it only after having it repeatedly pointed out: my reluctance to make decisions. At first I refused to accept that I couldn’t make decisions and then slowly started to defend my decision making capability. Then I vehemently reasoned it out as empathising with everyone’s point of view which just made decision making very very difficult.

For buying my clothes I would drag my husband along saying that he had better taste, all the while not realizing that I just couldn’t choose. I remember going to a shop to get couple of tops for myself and there was this salesgirl who recommended a red one. At first I outrightly refused saying it won’t suit me. She on the contrary said that in fact my skin tone was best suited for red. She insisted that I atleast give it a try. So I went to the change room, wore the red one, looked into the mirror and found myself looking quite good! I got that red one that day.

I slowly started to choose my own clothes. Sometimes it was difficult and sometimes, easy. An old friend of mine was visiting me after a very very long time and one of the things she pointed out to me was that I wasn’t as “well dressed” as before. My spontaneous reaction  was to tell her that that was my mom and this was me. I later realized how true it was. When I was with my parents my mom always styled me. I never chose a thing for myself! I also realized that I was OK with being criticized for my poor taste in dressing.

It was hit and miss with my clothing choice from then on. Sometimes I got criticized for my poor choice of clothes and sometimes, praised. I started learning to make better and better choices as time passed with more and more practice.

That’s it! I got it! I understood why I wasn’t able to make decisions before. It was because I didn’t want to take responsibility for my poor choices. I was shit scared of making mistakes. I was afraid of getting my ego bruised by others criticism, or most of all my own.

Today I am much braver in putting myself out there in open, focussing on learning and developing skills by practice and making mistakes!   

Patience

 

Photo: Two Cities

Patience to me meant to put up with other’s shortcomings genially. Shortly after my marriage my husband and I happened to be waiting for a bus. The bus didn’t turn up on time and our wait seemed indefinite. My husband noticed and commented that I was impatient and I flew off the handle. ME  and IMPATIENCE in the same sentence. Not possible! I was known to be an extremely patient person, or so I thought then. It wasn’t me who was impatient, it was the driver who was negligent and tardy!

I was standing in a long line in the bank to withdraw some cash. I was almost near the counter just one  person in front of me. The cashier decides to take a break. I cursed my stars, my fate and so wished that I had been ahead of two persons so I didn’t have to wait there and then unnecessarily for god knows how long?! I was irritated and fidgety and… I noticed I wasn’t patient at all in this situation. Voila!! I got it. I am patient with shortcomings of people but not with situations.

But does it make any sense? Isn’t everything  that happens in your life a “situation”? Maybe what I mean is that I unconsciously am patient with people I know, to get away with the impression of being a patient person.

I have been playacting being patient with few who held the power to prove otherwise to me. As life progressed and I at last took the responsibility of being grown up I noticed how impatient I was with my life. I wanted everything to be done with.

The most eagerly awaited prize was being a mother for me. I couldn’t wait to become one. And after I became one I couldn’t stop from wanting to reach these so-called “milestones” as fast as possible and be done with. What I was supposed to be enjoying became almost an agony! And why? Because everything was going on as it should be? Even the ones which didn’t look good at the beginning were turning out to be beautiful in their own way as time progressed.

All I needed to do was just wait patiently enjoying every little moment we passed… OH!OH!OH! I get it now! I get what patience is!! Do you ?

Sweets

Photo: Krishna.org

I was visiting my aunt, one of my mother’s sisters with my one year old daughter. On the way from my in-law’s home to my aunt’s place I asked the cab driver to stop at a particular local sweet stall. The driver told me that he could take me to a better sweet stall and I went along with his suggestion. The moment I saw the shop I hesitated but the driver assured me that the sweets would be good and I bought them. I presented the sweets to my aunt, had lunch with her and her husband, spent some more time in her company and went straight to my in-law’s home.

The next day I get a call from my aunt who gently lets me know that the sweets that I bought her were of bad quality. They were made using inferior quality of oil. They were so awful that she had no option but to throw it away. She felt bad about wasting all that money. She wished that I had just showed up without feeling compelled to bring a gift along.

I was embarrassed and mortified at my own stupidity. I was also worried about my mother-in-law’s reaction as she would have heard my side of the conversation and guessed who and what was being discussed.  Her words of advice to me were: “ Stick to fruits, it is the safest and  traditional way of gifting an elder.”

My initial concern was that soon the story of my stupidity was going to circulate among my relatives embarrassing not only me but my parents too! I berated myself and wondered how I could so easily get duped by a stranger, the cab driver? Why didn’t I decide not to buy the sweets the moment I wasn’t impressed by the shop?  Even if I decided to overrule my initial  judgement  why didn’t I have the sense to sample the sweets before buying?

I analysed my behaviour and came to the conclusion that I would have not acted this dumb if I were at ease. I was stressed out because I had underestimated the time to reach my aunt’s place and I was hell bent on impressing my aunt with my punctuality at the same time I didn’t want to turn up at her place empty handed. I had let my in-laws know exactly when to expect me back home and I wanted to keep up my word  at any cost.

It took me a while to turn my attention from feeling like a total idiot to what my aunt would have thought of it. I think she felt totally hurt and insulted by the quality of the gift (I don’t blame her). I made her feel unimportant and worthless. I think she called me mainly to let me know that I had slighted her and that I had better learn to treat her respectfully from then on.

On the personal end,  I learnt that I need to learn a lot about prioritizing and organizing.