I had been to Karkala this weekend. A small town in Udupi district, Karnataka, where my husband belongs to. Located at the foothills of the vibrant Western Ghats, this place during monsoon is a nature lover’s dream. All you get to see especially during rains is the fresh lush green growth as far as your eyes could see. I love that place for what it holds within it, people, culture, cuisine, nature and more.
I had ‘Alambo’ a.k.a. Thunder mushrooms, this time during my visit. Though the name sounds something thunderous, they are pretty small and delicious, stemless mushrooms. Its one of the seasonal foods that is available during the rainy season, especially during the rains accompanied by thunder and lightning. My mother-in-law was preparing Alambe Ambat, a sumptuous Konkani dish, made out of mushroom and coconut based gravy, that is loved by Konkanis in the region. She was cleaning the mushrooms, I learnt how to do it and I joined in. As I cleaned it, I was thinking of the many smiles that will come out of the melting taste of it. It has this little bit hard, clingy, rubbery outer skin, inside of it, is a white pebble like delicate mushroom. This is the face of happiness, I thought. Happiness in life is just like those mushrooms. We have to find those tiny bit of happiness underneath the soil even during those thunderous rainy days. Even though there is a little bit of rubbery layer of anxiety or fear that clings to us, tear it off! Enjoy what’s inside though its negligible and momentary! Gather them slowly so that it becomes a handful. Make something out of it so that it melts many hearts and gets those hard to find smiles out.
This place has made me so happy from deep within. Nature, the healer has blessed this place truly. My guide, there in Karkala and in life, is my husband. He takes me to various places there in Karkala. Never lets me sit idle at home. We have been to many eateries, and tourist places there before, there are some places you would want to visit again and again. One such recurrent spot is a Jain Shrine at Gommata betta. Its a rocky hill on to which a 41.5ft granite statue of Lord Bahubali is mounted on a platform. I was amazed to know that the whole statue is carved out of a single stone. To reach on top we have to climb the stairs carved through the hill. The view from there is breathless. Our favourite spot to watch the sun set. As we climb down each time, he asks me “Manchurian at Mallya’s Angdi (Shop)?” without fail, to which I never said a no to and I never will. It is that tasty. My husband surely picks up those small bits of happiness to bring a smile on my face. I surely am a lucky woman!
With the start of the academic year, starts a rat race. A race to get Albert Einstein and Marie Curie out of children. Little do some parents realize that if children are left to pursue what they like, and nurture them, they may grow into Leonardo da Vinci or may be Pele in later years. Let us give our children a childhood full of memories to go back to at later point of their lives. Like I am doing now, as I sit with my daughter’s books and some brown paper to bind. I was cupping my hands and feeling the edge of the book underneath the sheet, and the time line in my mind scrolled a lot back to 90’s when my mother used to sit with me and my brother during the book binding sessions. While she bound my books, I used to always wonder what new I might be learning. And yes I loved the smell of new books. I still do. Slowly my mother taught me how to bind. In a few years I will teach my daughter how to do it. Thank you mom.
Meanwhile, my daughter woke up and came to me. She looked at the books and asked “My books?”, “yes” I replied. “You’ve to go to school today” I said. I noticed her eye brows where pulled together in a Do-I-Have-To-Go manner. “Don’t you want to go?” I asked. “Yes” came the reply. Then I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude towards the teachers at the pre-school who toiled to settle her down and make her feel school is a secure place. Initial days at the pre-school were equally stressful to me and her. She was never willing to part with me. Then after a couple of months the stress levels gradually came down. Towards the end of the pre-school days she used to pick four to five fallen flowers, at the apartment pavement check for its freshness and bundle them with her little fingers while going to the school. Later I learnt she used to give them to her teacher. I was speechless. A little human being, who is two and something was practicing gratitude.
I thank those teachers who wiped her tears and held her closely, during stressful times. A million thanks to you for protecting her from falls and many more for teaching her all good things. May their blessings protect the children they taught like a brown binding sheet to a book, a book in which they will write their destiny!
Tat Tvam Asi, and age old Sanskrit phrase, which means ‘You are That’. The ‘That’ or ‘Tat’ here refers to The Absolute, The Brahman. The infinite energy that traverses through the living and non living, binding everything the universe. Its the Ultimate Reality that drives the universe forward.
Today as I took my daughter out for a stroll in the near by park, I glanced through the well arranged plants and blooming flowers. It smelt great it looked great. Appreciating the work of the gardener, I sat on a park bench, a usual spot that is underneath big tree, where my daughter plays, and asks me a lot of questions. There, I have been noticing a nest of some sort in between the creaks of the tree bark. Initially there were four tiny eggs about the size of bearing balls, now there are only two. I smiled, “Life has moved on. Life has found its way out”, I thought. Then I was stunned by the mysterious ways in which life sprouts out of anywhere and everywhere. I saw this small strand of grass in a tree hole. HOW? I wondered.
The beauty of life is that it gushes out in all forms, through each and every living being. Call it God, call it God particle, call it Omnipresent! It is some kind of an energy that is present in everything and everywhere, that progresses like water, finding its way out through you or through another being. It moves forward, always. There is no better motivation in life than the life itself, the way it progresses, the way the energy flows.
Nature has room for every kind of life form big or small, and everything has a place of its own, a duty of its own. I am amazed!!! And I bow down to You, Brahman, Your creation and the meticulous ways in which You unfold into us…
Life is beautiful
When was the last time you loved the feel of sunshine on your face? When was the last time you were lost in the fragrance of a Rose in the garden? When did you feel the grass underneath your feet last? When was the last time rain made you relive some of your memories? When was the last time you just felt the breeze?
Rarely do we take time to appreciate these. But we never lose an opportunity to curse the sun, rain, wind for tanning our skin, spoiling our meetings and hairdos. Life has become a bitter cocktail made out of 2 ounces of Ego, one ounce of selfishness, some white lies to ourselves, some Oh-no-how-this-person-is-ahead-of-me shots, poured into a glass of lethargy garnished with some jealousy that we drink on a daily basis. So much of “Me”, “I” and “Mine” that “we”, “ours” get buried deep and get lost. To top it up, we’ve reached a point wherein physical life is just about food, clothing and shelter, rest we do online. We’ve become so obsessed with ourselves that we do not lose a chance to click selfies and pictures rather than saving someone who is dying. There is so much to complain!
So when was the last time you lived?
When was the last time you gave money to someone in need without expecting it back? When was the last time you fed a hungry tummy? When was the last time you prayed with all your consciousness? When was the last time you listened to that little voice inside? When was the last time…
Loneliness! I loved those lonely times during those younger days in which I could shrink into a shell of my own. I wanted to be away from the usuality where no one interfered no one suggested or opinionated. But then it struck in the later years of my life. Years of it. I loved it at first but it started to eat me up, slowly munching down every corners of my brain, little by little and pushing me into greater depths of it.
It was a period of realizations, shocks and painfulness yet I loved it somehow. I loved the quietness and the stillness it had. I was cocooned, so much that years passed I did not realize what I was losing. I felt I was leading an invisible life around people who mattered to me so much. New relationships became difficult to make, already existing relationships were floating around as expectations did not match on either sides.
I was not alone, but lonely.
Then I decided to come out of the cocoon, years passed. In an attempt to snap out of it I tried many hobbies, many desperate ideas but withdrew and as a result faced many criticisms for not finishing anything I started. Slowly life was taking all together a different turn. My relationships became more and more turbulent. Then something happened – My daughter was born. A life long commitment where I cannot be superficial. She taught me how not to run away and shrink into the shell. She helped me make friends, acquaintance at least. When she learnt to walk, I observed how much she struggled, she got frustrated, called out a few names in her own language, but she stood up on her wobbly legs finally. I too must have struggled so much just to stand on my own, and many more struggles, now I am giving it away for a cocoon?. With her baby steps, I took baby steps back to life. She brought all sort of noise in to the quietness I loved and life moved so fast that there was no stillness.
Life took a turn, it started changing…