Break free

That special pleasure she had felt in watching him eat the food she had prepared—she thought, lying still, her eyes closed, her mind moving, like time, through some realm of veiled slowness—it had been the pleasure of knowing that she had provided him with a sensual enjoyment, that one form of his body’s satisfaction had come from her.
. . . There is reason, she thought, why a woman would wish to cook for a man . . . oh, not as a duty, not as a chronic career, only as a rare and special rite in symbol of . . . but what have they made of it, the preachers of woman’s duty? . . . The castrated performance of a sickening drudgery was held to be a woman’s proper virtue—while that which gave it meaning and sanction was held as a shameful sin . . .

The above paragraph from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged holds powerful meaning and a strange resonance for me. I have always viewed cooking as something I do when I feel like doing it—something special and sacred for the one I love. It has always been a pleasure to cook—on special occasions, when I’m feeling particularly in tune with my significant other, as a gesture of my love. And that is just what I would have preferred to keep it. But thanks to something that someone said to him when he was depressed, we ended up having a huge fight about a year back, and now, it has become drudgery for me. So much so, after treating the whole thing as a challenge, I have now reached the stage when I prefer staying out of the house until late, so I can go home and say I’m too tired to even bear the thought of cooking. The very thought of having to cook as a “have-to-do-thing” fills me with dread….makes me want to bolt. Food has never been a big issue for me. I’m happy eating almost anything. I can get by just fine on soup and toast, as I can on a full Indian meal. But Abid is the opposite. And striking a balance between our different needs is becoming increasingly challenging.

Seems like it’s the season for pets this January! We got ourselves some pretty fish this weekend, and my best friend adopted a dog!
My Fishbowl
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the Internet to figure out how to take care of them, since I’ve killed fish twice before. Aquariumfish.net had some of the best information on looking after fishbowls, though some of the things don’t quite apply here, or are unavailable here. Till now, though, they’re doing just fine! Fingers crossed!

Jaded Consumerism

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I was discussing the changing face of consumerism in India with a friend a few days back. There was a time, even until about 4 years ago, when almost any purchase could give you a high for at least a few days. Nowadays, we seem to be so jaded, that even when we buy something we’ve been hankering for, the joy is missing. Like 6 years back, when I was staying alone in Bombay, I spent a “princely” sum of Rs. 2,000 on books, and I was kicked about it for weeks! I could never have imagined spending that much on books before, not for lack of money, but for remonstrations from my mother. Now, about a month back, I spent Rs. 8,500 on a woolen rug for the hall, again something I had been wanting for a long, long time, but when we came home and laid it down, I just looked at it, said yeah it looks nice, and that was it! Even when I bought my first car a few months back (ok, I know, I learnt driving really late!) it should have been a monumentally happy occasion—but it was not! I just felt like yeah, ok, I got my car. Why?? Where’s the joy gone? It’s not like these purchases were “unnecessary” and neither is it that I have truck loads of money and shelling out about 9k is no big deal—9k still is a lot of money for me! But there’s just no joy!

Maybe it’s just that it has become easier to buy things, what with banks falling over themselves to give you loans and credit cards. Or that we are earning increasing amounts of money with lesser time to enjoy it; so, when we do buy something, its generally taken such a long time to manage to get the time out and buy it, that we just don’t get that kick anymore. Or could it be that we are so spoiled for choice, that we’ve become jaded about our purchases? Whatever it is, it isn’t a very pretty place in which to be.

Connecting to the Wellspring of the Universe

I was reading an article on Flow, and how it can be easily achieved by everyone. Flow is the current that enables our lives to unfold effortlessly, and moves us toward a feeling of “completeness” and harmony. When we are in flow, we experience synchronicity—events line up and fall into place, and obstacles just melt away. Flow has tremendous power to transform our lives, for it is dynamic and moves us unfailingly toward joy and aliveness.

When we are in flow, things happen, seemingly without any major effort on our part; almost as though we were in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. But it’s been a long time since I’ve felt connected to the Universe. There was a time when things just seemed to happen, when I just knew something was pre-destined, and events unfolded almost perfectly. I seem to have lost my way to the wellspring, and can’t seem to find it!

According to the article I was reading, there are nine qualities that engage flow:

  • Commitment—Living by our deepest values
  • Honesty—Telling the truth to ourselves and others
  • Courage—Overcoming fears
  • Passion—Engaging with what we care about
  • Immediacy—Being in the moment
  • Openness—Saying Yes to whatever comes our way
  • Receptivity—Listening to inner and outer messages
  • Positivity—Finding the value in each situation
  • Trust—Having faith in ourselves and the Universe
  • Somewhere along the way, I forgot how to spend time dreaming, to be receptive to things around me….I forgot about me and how to myself….I had no time to purse my passions, or to look at things objectively and honestly. With no time to introspect, it seems to be no wonder that I lost my bearings.

    However, the article does go on to list out techniques that help us deepen the aove qualities in ourselves:

  • Be aware
  • Accept yourself and others
  • Express who you really are
  • Create silence
  • Follow your intuition
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Do 100% of what you know to do—and trust
  • Finish things and move on
  • Take risks
  • Break with your old reality
  • Appreciate yourself
  • Express gratitude
  • Give of yourself
  • Get a point of view from the Universe
  • So, will I have the time and the courage to find my way back? Only time will tell….

    Hello world!

    Aren’t we all muddled in some way or the other? Second guessing ourselves, wondering about our decisions, going through life with some firm opinions and with others that change. Questioning our faith and beliefs. The rationals among us questioning history and faith. After all, it was recorded centuries after the event. How much of it is true? And how do you sift between fact and fiction? How can blind faith explain certain concepts of relegion – like the Immaculate Conception and the Indian Creation Myth? Do we choose to believe? Do we act like we believe? Not only with regards to relegion, but with regards to the many excuses we hear everyday. How much of it goes on in an endless loop at the back of our minds, as we try and analyze what was said and what may have been implied? Confusion and chaos rule….most of the time….and if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know it’s true.