Tides

Things are always in motion. Nothing ever rests.

Metaphysics. Philosophy. Religion. I think they all speak of the same thing. In different figures of speech.

We went out on our daily walks by the sea. Low tide at the hour we were there. The sea having its lows. Like all people have. People are 79% water anyways. Any surprises then that we too have our tides? With clock-like regularity.

The Wiggles!

The Wiggles are the Beatles of children!!

For someone who hadn’t heard of them till a few months ago, I’m hooked too. Along with my daughter. We both sing along. As best we can. Laugh out loud at their antics. Shake a leg a bit too! That, for me, a two-left-feet guy, is saying a lot.

I’m certain I’m not the only middle-aged fan they’ve got. The oldest lady (at least 75, I’m sure!) at a recent Toastmasters’ meeting regretted she couldn’t attend the next meeting, since the Wiggles were performing a concert & she’d booked several months in advance!

If you’ve not heard them yet, go on, get yourself a copy of their video! For the child in you! You won’t regret it!

Laughter.

One of the many joys of having a small child at home is the gift of laughter. Any time of the night or day. Comes without invitation. Or expectation. Or warning.

The little angel comes up to me today to remind me that I have to read her a story.

How many, ask I.

Silly question.Deserves a ruthless answer.

She holds up three fingers of her hand.

Five, she says.

Too much confusion for my accounting brain. Three or five, I ask her, pointing out the apparent variances in the two numbers.

Short pause.

She prefers the spoken number – Five. A dazzling smile. I get a hug & a kiss to help make up my mind.

Laughter. Both of us. Then her mother joins in too.

No negotiations possible when laughing!

Fast asleep now.

My latest goal: At least one hearty laugh a day.

Happiness, I think, is an inside job.

Fear

Apprehension. Agitation. Knots. Anxiety. Cold feet. Chicken. Cold sweat. Creeps. Distress. Doubt. Dread. Misgiving. Faintheartedness. Fright. Panic. Qualm. Terror. Trembling. Trepidation. Unease. Worry.

I have fear. Of various things. & in various degrees.

Today, I promised myself I would speak to a recruiting manager in the company I work in.  I promised myself I would be bold, walk up to him & speak about the position he has advertised. Maybe even ask him for the job. I am competent surely, I said to myself.

But.

One of those words listed above defines my level of fear. On a scale of 1 to 10, I think I feel 10.

Of what?  I am unable to define.

Meeting him? Perhaps.

Making a fool of myself? More likely.

That I will be refused? That too.

I called him. The phone rang. Several times. & he didn’t answer. I felt a sense of relief! I didn’t have to meet him!

My usual response is to wait . Give myself excuses. Maybe he is busy. Maybe he doesn’t want to talk to me. Maybe the role is already filled. All sorts of weird & wonderful excuses.

This time round, I did something radically different.

I sent him a mail, asking to see him. Can’t wriggle out of that now.

I will call him again tomorrow.  Talk to him about the problem he wants solved. Who doesn’t have a problem he can pass off to someone else to solve? What have I to lose?

Wish me luck!

Books

I grew up around books. For whatever reason, they seem to offer to me a safe haven.  From unfriendly To paraphrase Ruskin Bond “Books are never cross, they never fight with you, & are always around when you need them” – & they were. I’m still enamored by them.

The ancestral house we moved to when I was 8 or so had an inherited collection of books, articles, magazines, writings – legacies of my maternal side of the family. Readers Digest editions going back to the 1960’s, copies of Wisdom (a locally published book), essays, they were a godsend to keep me company & out of trouble. I remember reading a children’s version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin & crying my eyes out, the first time ever that a story did that to me. I was hooked. I read every thing I could lay my hands on. Good stuff. Not so good stuff. Lame stories. Fun. Adventure. Sleaze. Spy. Classics. A 10-year old has no idea what constitutes a good or poor choice of books, but I was happy & willing to try.

The first biography I read was Ben Franklin. I was 9 years old. A red, bound book, with profile pictures of a young fellow, discovering himself, & inventing several things along the way – the story was absolutely fascinating. I read & re-read the book. At least a hundred times.

There was Shakespeare in prose form. Another bound tiny book with paintings inside. Merchant of Venice, Taming of the Shrew, & another 6 more, abridged versions that a child could read & get lost in imagination.

The Hardy Boys. Nancy Drew. Famous Five. Other Enid Blyton classics. Cricketing heroes. Louis L’Amor & other country western classics. General knowledge. Algebra. Too many to list here. I couldn’t get enough. I was addicted to printed material. I wonder if there’s a word for it. & in this day & age, I’m sure there’s some authority on the subject who’ll say reading is bad too! 🙂

As I went through school & what passed for education – qualification & education are synonymous for most Indians – I read. & read more. In class. Under the desk. On my way to school. On my way back. I did have other things to do, but reading was like a high I couldn’t get from anything else.  My spoken english got better, as did my writing. It still is going through evolution. Like life itself.

For the last 5 years or so, my reading has been more of the classics authors – Jane Austen, Rudyard Kipling, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Plato, Aristotle.. – Autobiographies, biographies, philosophy, history, scientific thought, reasoning, creativity.  I guess the older I’ve grown, the more I’ve found that these subjects really have given me an education, while accounting, tax & audit have merely given me a qualification. I spend at least an hour or two every day reading, & will most happily admit that my education continues each day.

To me, reading is not an escape from reality. It makes it more fascinating. Some things have never changed with time. The daily struggles of living. Habits. Motivating. Circumstances & technology might change, but our daily concerns haven’t. Thoughts in words from the past give more ideas on how to surmount them.

What do you read?

Why?

Fishing.

Give a man a fish, & he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, & you feed him for life.

Moving to a coastal, country side town brings with it the time & opportunity to do some interesting activities. Fishing caught our collective family fancy.

Sitting by an idyllic stream/ river/ waterbody, catching as much cool breeze as possible in my (balding) hair, the sounds of birds & water all around, watching the not so infrequent trains rumble over the bridge, angling…the stuff dreams are made of..

For a twosome who’s only knowledge of fishing rods has been movies & TV programmes, we learnt today the the science/ art of lining the rod, baiting a hook, casting the line without tearing any flesh from innocent bystanders (meaning our little daughter),  & not losing our tempers or patience with ourselves & withe each other, we did very well, indeed!  The fish were lucky too – none of them were unfortunate enough to get caught!

& we begin another chapter in our lives.

Processed Food.

This morning, as I performed my daily ablutions, a strange thought came to me.

All my thoughts. Could be yours too. Read on.

Yesterday’s excellent dinner. How amazingly tasty! Hogged. Greedily. Enjoyed, perhaps. Overeaten.

A few hours pass. Natures processes at work.

How disgusting the same food, in a processed form! Yech! Don’t even want to think about it. Forget seeing it. Or smelling it.

That, I think, is how our insides are. Smelly. Putrid. Squishy. Every one of us. Irrespective of our size, color, age, sex, or any other classification.

Imagine a bowl that has been used to cook food.  You’d definitely clean it before using it again. The insides would get most of the attention, wouldn’t it?

Now think of your body.  Compare to how much you spend on the externals! Perfume. Soap. Shampoo. After-shave. Deodorant. Clothing. Accessories.

Wow.

Color. (or is it colour?)

I tell whoever asks me questions about color, that I’m color blind. Aesthetically challenged.  I can’t distinguish between bottle green & dark green. Sky blue & light blue. Hues. Saturation. Very confusing for me. & I thought to myself, this perceived disability to identify colors will get me out of those exciting shopping trips too 🙂

Of late, however, the color is back in my life. The train journey can take the credit. I can’t deny that the beautiful sights along the way are all in multi-color. & so too are images on computer screens!

On the train back from work a few days ago, I eyes-dropped (sure, that is a word too!!)  into my fellow passenger’s open laptop screen, a huge bloke who tried really hard to let me have a third of my seat so I could sit as comfortably as possible, while he occupied all of his & two thirds of mine. But I digress.  He was, I gathered from his conversations on the phone, & the database application that he was Alt+tab-bing in between reading this fascinating piece, a database administrator responsible for reports.  He was reading an article on how color & hues make a dramatic impact on the information being conveyed. The vast difference in eye sight, including the users demographics & their ability to comprehend information in color.

Train.. of thought…

It has been two weeks since we moved to our new home in the countryside.

I cycle to the train station every morning, & then take the train to work. Two stops to the first changeover station. Two more to my destination. Thousands of people along the way. Or is it hundreds? Never counted, but it sure seems a lot.

The journey is beautiful. Like life, I think. Chugging up a mountain. Along a riverbank. Over the river on a bridge. Alongside a fishing spot. & onto the city. With its hustle & bustle & whistle.

The passengers on the train fascinate me. Very interesting. I watch some of them. As I’m sure some of them watch me too. Nosy Rosie. Want to know everything about everything. Like me. Like them. Like most of us. Hovering under the veneer of social behaviour. Each nose appearing to be buried in his own little device. A book. An iPod. An iPhone. An iMeMyself gadget. Some reading. Some pretending. Deep in thought. Or deep in sleep. Thinking? Of the day(s) gone by? Of day(s) to come? People? Things? Money? Planes? Fear? Happiness? Childhood? Children? Parents? Who knows?

Occasionally, laughter. Fills the compartment. Like a breath of fresh air.

Fresh air also comes in when the train doors open at stations. To let people get off. Or to let people in. & soon it is not so fresh. Both, people & the air.

Some frantically typing away at their keyboards. Others deep in slumber. Faint noises from earphones. Sometimes musical. Mostly not.

On the train, I read. Books. & people. Sometimes they make sense. Mostly they don’t.

I wonder why…