Changing times.. decreasing abilities. .

There was a time when words used to flow and I just had to use a pen and a paper as a filter to catch a few before they left the memory. That was the time when there was no or very limited internet access. When I spent a lot of time with myself.

It is well known that the more you practice an art the more refined you become in it. That was happening to me. I was developing my style of writing. Since I wrote often all the more things interested me and since I thought about more things.. there was more to write about.  I was in the right cycle.

What happened then.?

I will not completely blame it on the lifestyle change. Internet has so much to offer that I got caught up. Instead of being a producer I became a consumer of different ideas and thoughts. Which is not wrong. It is good to know what others are expressing.

What I missed is to take some time out of it. Ruminate.. and create my own using different budding ideas.

Instead I chose to keep the continuous intake going. Today I can see a change in my ability to write.

What used to be my second nature now needs more effort.

As I have seen it all.. heard it all and read it all… I feel there is not much to say from my side. Or maybe.. I am not getting intrigued enough by anything to want to write about it.

Whatever may be the reason. I miss writing. Writing like before.

Finding the ‘I’ in ‘Me’..

Many many years ago.. I sat in my room with my diary and a pen in hand.

Yes I loved to write by hand on paper and that gave me a deep connection with the words. I felt as if I owned them and the words owned me too. I felt as their creator and loved them like my children. Not that what I type now is not as special but when I wrote.. I fell in love..

That’s when I met the person who was writing. She was quite different from what I am. She was more passionate.. opinionated. . Daring.. open.. witty.. caring.. and above all Expressive. A quality I seriously lack.

She was and is all that I want to be.

Where did she hide all day..?

Inside Me..

I am in plain sight… Right outside the writer. Making a shell.

I want to break free.

Here I am.. everything that I am.. all of it.. yet the world can’t see.

Those who see.. can’t believe. .

This is who I can be. This is who I am. All of Me.

Presentation for DPchallenge for the week

Oil bath – The lost Art

I am proud to be born an Indian.. The  culturally richest country of the world.

With such diversity of cultures we are not even aware of what unique traditions we can find if we take a small trip outside our town, city or village. Here every household has something or the other contributing to this vast mix.

One of those that I remember from my own childhood is the Oil Bath .

We South Indians bath very often. Thanks to the hot humid climate bathing is like our cheapest temperature control system. Atleast Once everyday throughout the year, twice and sometimes upto thrice a day in summers to combat the heat.

Add to it the Religious and Traditional reasons and it looks like we spend more time bathing than any other activity.

One of those traditional bathing rituals is Oil bath. Women are supposed to do it on Tuesdays and Fridays and the day allocated to men is Saturday. 

So what is it.. do we sit in a tub filled with oil like Cleopatra did with milk.? More than a beauty treatment it would have looked like being fried alive. Thankfully that is not what it is..

We just need to gently rub gingelly oil
(some people use coconut oil also) all over our bodies from the scalp to toes. Some may go ahead and massage also. Then soak in it for about an hour and take bath (here it goes again) in nice warm water so that the pores open and the oil is sucked right in. 

There are innumerable benefits to this kind of bathing. From beautification to health benefits. Those who did it regularly lead a healthy long life.

But it is a lost art now. Neither we have the time to perform nor we can see the goodness of it.

image

It was not just beneficial medically but also helped strengthen family ties. Bath time is a time for fun and frolic for children. And when the whole family gathered in the backyard near the well and all the women and children of the house applied oil together and spent time with each other they made some beautiful delicate memories. That used to stay with them all their lives.

I feel this lost art if returned would make stronger people internally and externally… physically and emotionally.

When I read this weeks DP challenge lots of things came to my mind but this is one of the arts that I personally miss hence decided to share here.

Photo credit

“The Contact”

Here is my presentation for the DPchallenge : Time Machine

Year 2514

AV2502D woke up with the sun like everyday. But today was not like any other day.. this was going to be his first day at the library. Going to the library was allowed only to the grown ups here because that kind of risk could not be taken with the young ones. He was proud that last week he had finally qualified his test and given a license to visit. And the following week was full of training on how to behave while there.. and how to make the use of the content available. He was excited.

When he got out of his bed he made a telepathic note to himself which got recorded in his data storage device on his left wrist,   that he had to inform his parents that he might be late from school today as he was going to visit someone. But he didn’t realize that they won’t feel that time when he is absent.. as only he will perceive how long he is gone..

His was one of  the first few colonies on the moon. His great great grandparents were those lucky residents who were chosen to start the community here about 250 years back. And since then no one from his family had ever visited earth.

Though he knew little of what life was on earth was like through his grandmother. May she rest in peace. But his interest was recently kindled by a conversation he had heard. It was his parents.. a few nights ago after dinner they had sat down for a teleconference with the family of some old neighbors. As both the families had had their ancestors living in the same old city, they had chosen to have quarters nearby on moon so that they could keep some of the memories fresh by talking to each other.

Countries and cities are what they had had on earth long back.. something that had divided them and caused the citizens to say and do some mean things to each other.. now here it was just one whole community living together with no geographic or political division. He had wondered what the use could be of having cities when all were sharing the same earth..?

During the conversation he heard about something called writing. He had never heard of that before. And the conversation suggested that it was something unique.. fun for some and dreadful for the others..

He thought to himself that this was surely what he will look into.. it seemed interesting. Thinking about what it could be he had gone to bed.. and that’s when he got the idea for the visit. He could see first hand what it is. Something to share with his classmates during the ‘Information exchange class‘.

He had decided what had to be done.. only one thing left to do. Taking the “first trip.

Today he decided not to use the teleporter as he wanted to make sure he understood the old ways.. he walked along the roads towards school. Although for many years students had been learning via online classes,  it was a renewed concept to start schools again as they were a good source  for learning more than the course materials. His parents were on the committee which brought about this change.. and he was proud of his parents to have thought about it..as he enjoyed his time in school a lot.

While walking he passed across the H2O factory. He made a note again to find out more about how water was found on earth. He had heard that it was not always that water was mass produced like this in factories.

In the mid 23rd century many countries on earth were facing their worst time. Almost all the ground water had been used up and even water treatments were not able to supply enough for the entire population.. after many of the countries suffered great loss of lives.. In the year 2283 came the breakthrough. A scientist came up with a synthetic way to produce water. And that had been the the beginning of reconstruction of the species.. it was like a chain reaction.. that led to building these colonies on the moon.

Entering the school he went straight to his class as it was his favorite.. and something that would come in handy today.. ‘21st century chronicle’.

There was a surprise test today. The tutor had collected some artifacts from that era and displayed in the classroom. The students had to correctly identify and write short notes about them.

He waited for the artifacts to present themselves at his desk one by one.

As they appeared he was quite delighted. He knew this one.. it was called a currency note. It was used long before all of it was announced obsolete by the government and replaced totally by plastic cards.. even that got cancelled some two hundred years later as now all people used their own promissory oath. No one ever had heard of anyone who had not kept his oath.

The other one confused him a bit.. it was about 3/4th of a foot long.. made of wood.. painted in red and black stripes with at one end there was a whole ring of black paint and the other showed some black spot at the centre.

Was this what he thought it was.. a pencil.. that is what it was called.

He thought and it got noted. Others were easy for him.. a tie..  hand blender.. a wrist watch.. what all funny things they had in past.. he thought. Careful that he doesn’t mistakenly add these thoughts too into his test records.

Finally all were done and the tutor asked them to take the rest of the class off and they will have their results in the next one.

He could not wait the rest of the classes as he had an appointment at the library today. Special permission by the School Senior (principal/headmaster was what they were called in the past he thought).

As he entered the library he was identified and proceeded to his requested cubicle immediately.

He had learned in school that the last few years had seen tremendous progress in the time traveling technology. Though it had been around some hundred years.. last couple of years had changed the way of not just the administration but also completely eliminated the chaos it used to cause.

Now you could choose whom and when to visit and make contact with them in advance and let them know of your arrival.. once there you would be just a spectator and in no way would be able to alter the reality there. Though you would be able to freely roam around and communicate with all.

These special precautions had to be taken so that when one enters the time.. neither their life nor whom they contacted gets affected. This was a one of a kind programme to enable the residents to quench their curiosity about the past.

For those interested to visit the future there were separate laws and training for that as that technology had not been perfected yet.

He carefully went through the data and finally stopped as he had found whom he was looking for. He was satisfied with his selection as this was the person who could educate him well about all that he wanted to know.

Her profile perfectly met his need. She was from the 21st century and was known to be a writer.. exactly what he was fascinated since he heard about it.

He nodded to himself and made the contact.

Year 2014

Lekhikaas’s mobile pinged. She had a new mail.

P.S – How else do you think I got to know about all this..? ; )

Care for a cause…!

Two years back I got a chance to volunteer for an institution which worked for mentally ill women.. being a student of psychology.. I found it very easy and rewarding  to associate with that cause.

Not only it gave me satisfaction of having done something worth my time.. it also gave me an insight into the lives of people who come into this pious field… I call it pious because any religion puts behaving with humanity on a high pedestal in their teachings.. and all those who work with special* people are the most spiritual in my view..as they share their great assets with those who would actually appreciate it.

The greatest of the assets being the time they put in to make someone’s life better… and that makes their own life worthwhile..

During that time I  came across two kinds of people.. one who felt blessed to be a part of this organization.. they were getting out of it a feeling that it was their calling…

And then there was the second kind.. most of them who had joined this organization for their living. Who saw it just as a job.. and hence you could see the difference clearly on how they felt about working there.

It was a place of taboo for many.. as it dealt with people with mentally disabled..maybe  they felt the concerned inmates are not going to know anything.. it was not like they were going anywhere also… most of them had been shun by their families and the society so they were here to stay. And that may have been a reason to not feel the need to behave their best..

But still.. even if it is a job.. you are supposed to live up to it it.. doesn’t matter whom you are working for. But unfortunately I didn’t get to see it..

I was initially surprised.. as I always thought that all who associated with any NGO were genuinely interested in helping.. but only when I entered such a place myself.. I found the reality to be slightly different.

I am not saying all of them were like that.. just a handful..

Also I saw a stark difference.. Although all of them were still fairly concerned about the inmates.. the behavior of the staff towards each other was that shocked me the most.. those whom I thought would be the most understanding were the ones who were not so polite.. though they were in a better position to create a good environment.. but alas… those were the ones creating a gap.. that they didn’t want to fill.

The work done there on the other hand is exceptional.. not only they house women who are not wanted by society.. they also help them to find their place in the very society that rejected them..

With good treatments they are also given vocational training.. and those who are very mildly affected or have mostly recovered are given work opportunities..so that they regain their self worth.

In case of some women who might have wandered out without the family’s notice (as it is possible with these guys).. they locate the family with what all information they can get out of the women and reinstate them in the family with free consultations and medications.. for LIFE.. .!! So that the family never gets any chance not to take them back.

Along with that the organization conducts free camps for all those who themselves or a family member of theirs is suffering with some kind of mental ailment and cannot afford to take private mediation or even to be spotted near any hospitals of that kind as there is still a stigma about mental illness.

I saw it as a great cause.. and loved to work there… as I heartily praise all those who in any way are doing their share for it..

A lot has been achieved in past few years.. what started in a single bedroom flat with a couple of women is now wide spread in three locations with hundreds of women finding shelter.. I am sure their unconscious blessings are always with the working team.

I personally gained a lot of experiences from being there… meeting those women.. many of them who didn’t even know they were out of their homes.. I see it a big thing as for them this is their home… and I am happy the team has been able to create that for them…

All that has been achieved by great efforts..and now even many celebrities are associated and it is well known in the city’s map… with more and more people coming forward with helping hands everyday.

I must give a special mention to the nursing staff there.. as they are the ones literally spending 24×7 with the ladies… and they are the ones I found the most enthusiastic and caring.

Today when I am not physically able to be there for them.. I send my best wishes to the group.. may they work so well that there is no need for such an organization..!

Beginning of life with Television..

Friends and I…. a few days ago we had a long chat about the television during the early days..

Both the television and us… entered our homes at about the same time…  that was the time when not every home had a TV.. and it was just growing to become an essential household item..

So as we both were new… the impression was strong… 

Unlike today..when the attention spans of people are shorter than the advertisements itself.. we valued all that was shown… the memory of each show stayed with us for days.. months… years….. and decades if I may say so.. as they are still fresh in our minds…

Looking back and remembering them one by one… we were all elated…

Those shows has touched our lives… as they were about the regular people…. the common man and woman… and kids… the characters were almost always identifiable.. not like now when we can’t even associate with the protagonists as their lives seem somehow larger than life… and quite impossible to be in the kind of people we meet regularly..

Old shows had a charm… the sets costumes were never over the top.. they were believable.. the stories were simple and showed day to day life events… with acting being the most important part.. not just how visually grand it can look…there were only a few characters… but all were well defined.. and had their importance even if the role was small…

Even the advertisements shown made their impacts… we still can recite a few of them.. and we still use the tag lines as phrases in our day to day conversations.. and they make sense to our generation only…

Be it emotional.. comedy.. fantasy.. mythological.. musical.. educational… we had it all…

Other than Hindi movies we also had Regional films on Sunday afternoons. And just before that was the news for the deaf.. I had a fascination to learn the sign language since then…

It just showed that the Channel catered for all.. literally..

As kids we were also good part of the audience… so… special ‘kids shows’ were part of the weekends. Other than cartoons.. we had moral stories played out specially for us…we had puppets…and we had our share of super heroes back then too..

As the years progressed.. more channels got added and many more shows made their way into our lives..

Looking at a few actors who started back then and made a good name for themselves…seeing them mature and successful today is reminiscent of the past.

The time we spent in front of the television.. was a lot less than what kids do now a days….

I feel we were more enriched by television.. than robbed of our childhood by it.. I am so thankful to have lived in those times…