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richasmukherjee.com

love, laughter, pain, joy, life and its lessons, one word at a time

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happiness

When the tigress lost her stripes..

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This is the story of a fierce tigress who used to live in a jungle called ‘The City’

Fearless and bold. Her decisions, the future. Nothing fazed her. She believed in writing her own story

She would soar on the wings of her zest for life, knowing that only the sky was the limit

Blessed with the protective sheath of family and friends, no vagaries of life would come her way, she thought, as long as these angels were in it

One day she started drifting towards a certain someone who would become the love of her life

Things could only get better from the perch of her reign, there would be no sorrow, no pain, no strife

But somewhere down the road, a distant rumble of thunder, was bringing an impending storm

An ominous trickle of cold, sharp rain started to take form

That someone took her pulsing life and throttled it out of her

With wounding words and raining blows, her enchanted life seemed like a blur

He wounded her each day each night till there was nothing left to break

He left her with her wounded pride, but she held on with all her might, his crumbs now she would take

One fine day she looked in the mirror and couldn’t seem to recognise

The face in the mirror was someone else, all the stripes gone, her heart felt splintered with ice

She ran from friend to family then foe, trying to understand

Why she felt so empty, so vacuous inside, this was certainly not part of her grand plan

She knew deep inside she had all it took to make herself happy again

But all she could feel was the dark outside, the gloom within and a debilitating pain 

As the world got louder, she went quieter still, till she barely even spoke

Many tried in vain to break her free, but she seemed to be locked far away behind an invisible cloak

Fear took her heart and her strength was next till hopelessness consumed her all

She was so resigned to staying on the ground, that she never even contemplated the pain of a fall 

Then one fine day, lying on her back when she felt she couldn’t even breathe 

She saw a tiny sparrow struggling to build a nest where she could set her little ones free

Trying and failing she rose again, this tiny life was such a symbol of hope

That she felt ashamed of wasting and withering away when deep down, she knew, nothing was really broke

She dusted herself and shook her mane, letting her shackles fall away

It wasn’t the world, she had to fight her mind, for right here is where she wanted to stay

She fell over and over, just as the sparrow did, but she found the strength to stand

There was hushing and laughter and curious whispers all around, but also many a helping hand

She nursed her spirit, her soul to life, knowing with grit she could do it all

She would bruise and ache and there would be bad days, but she would try and stand tall

She tried and tried till one fine day, the fog began to clear

The small inner voice that was silent for so long, she started to finally hear

Then rose a sun that shone so bright, it cleared the mirror where she had lost her sight

She stood again to face the world, her eyes unwavering in the brilliant light

The muscles were flexed, the paws were firm, her heart had returned to a long lost shore

The tigress had her stripes back on and once again, she was ready to roar!

Why I’m glad I failed every new year resolution!

 

picWhat is recurrent, changes shapes, rarely comes to life and almost always leads to regrets? Yes, you know what I’m talking about.

New year resolutions have had an unnerving effect on me through life. And I can safely say that I’ve possibly lived up to 1 or 2 of the long list of promises. With that track record, I should ideally be ashamed of myself, but you know what? I brazenly confess that this year I am happy that I’ve failed so miserably. Because now I am wiser.
Human beings are fascinating creatures and have mastered the art of infusing doubt and fear into the most harmless and positive things.
Jan 1st: You decided to lead a healthy life, change your bad food habits, eat only fruits through most of the day.
Jan 2nd: Oh my gawd! That jalebi looks divine. I’ve eaten so many fruits. One can’t hurt.
Jan 3rd: I didn’t exercise today, and I ate 2 samosas. (Palpitations and sweating)
Jan 4th: I hate my life, I am so stressed, I’ll always be fat. This year is looking terrible already!
Look what you just did there? 4 precious days were wasted stressing and the end result was the year being labeled as a waste. Think of ways in which you can improve the success rate and not start your precious year with a nervous breakdown. And give your self more time and achievable goals. You aren’t running a race and don’t need to post your completion time! My personal mantra this year is to sloooooooow down.
I realise that by doing this I am contesting the popular trend of doing everything ‘fast’ and ‘quickly’ but what can I say, that’s the new me.
I will stop looking at my watch so often: Have you counted the number of times in a day you stare at your watch? Sometimes I feel I’ve done this even while getting intimate. That’s terrible right? Only because I’m so habituated (On second thoughts my husband would have appreciated another relevant example)We are always on the clock, timing ourselves, jumping ahead to figure out the next task.  It’s great to be organised but it’s a fact that if your mind is always on the go, it will lose steam at some point. This year, I will not try to conquer time, but walk along with it peacefully.
I will sit and do nothing sometimes: Ever tried this? I love sitting quietly and observing everything in my immediate environment. From birds to bees to odd human beings. It is relaxing and rejuvenating. Somewhat like a ‘kapalbhati’ for the stressed mind. But during my New Years break, sitting by the sea I had an epiphany. Why on earth don’t I make time to do nothing in my daily life? Why was this reserved for holidays? Doesn’t It feel great, to take a break, take a deep breath and have no to-do list in your hand? Try it! Being useless never felt this good!
I will take my time eating my food: I recently read about how a lady on a road trip in the hills, stopped the car by an apple orchard and ate an apple for 5 minutes. That for the first time in her life, because she was chewing slowly and carefully, taking her time, she truly enjoyed the apple and had never eaten anything tastier. Made me think about all our express food sessions at home or at work or on-the-go. My daughter has heard me saying ‘Eat Quickly!’ so often, that I really thank god those weren’t her first words or that she didn’t think it was her mother’s name! I wouldn’t blame her. Action point? Mindful eating, enjoying every bite and its been proven that in this way your body will even receive and absorb it better, leading to a healthier you.
I will take a long shower as often as I can: Do I really need to explain this? Everything I do in the bathroom is on fast forward because I usually have my daughter banging on the door and asking me to come out. That’s also the maid’s favourite time to approach me with all her queries and for all the people in the world to call me. But I will take the time to start my day right. Even if it means getting up a little bit earlier than everyone else. If your day starts calm, chances are you won’t end it off yelling at someone. And a long hot shower works miracles anyway doesn’t it?
I will stop and talk to people: A few years ago, at a club in Kolkata, as I went about chasing after my daughter armed with a spoonful of food, a lady randomly walked up to our table and proceeded to chat endlessly, while we made our disdainful faces with ‘how bored is she’ stupid big city attitude on our shoulders. Though I wished she had spoken just a little lesser than she did, it was such a refreshing chat. I find myself avoiding conversations, because it is too exacting. But chatting is good. Because it opens up your mind, lightens up the mood and feels great because after all we are social creatures. Today I started talking to my Uber cab guy and it turned out that he was a superb singer and from the city I was born in. I walked out with a beautiful song in my head and my heart felt lighter.
I will use my phone less: This is such a common plague that it needs no further explanation. Everything in moderation is great but one of the biggest problems I have
is that it distracts me from my writing, work, and I am aware that my daughter is watching me like a hawk all the time. It’s unnerving! Hard to do but give it a shot.
You’ll be amazed at how much time you can create by just switching off from time to time. (I have a sneaky suspicion that I am about to fail embarassingly at this resolution!)
This list might seem a bit simplistic but that’s what we need most in our lives according to me. Simplicity. No relay races, no frantic dashing, no chaotic plans. But an honest awareness and acceptance of things around us. Most importantly, to figure out an acceptable speed to live your own life by, even if you get left behind a little. See? I even wrote this post late, well into the new year and I’m doing just fine!

There’s today


Life is a constant and unrelenting pursuit.

Of dreams, of destinations, of meaning , of purpose.

What am I doing? How can I do this better? Is this enough?

I sometimes think no one is happy with where they are.

It’s like being on a train journey, always anxious, in anticipation of the next stop
.

Instead of enjoying that mild sedatory rocking motion, that numbing of the nose while sticking it out of the window in the cold nippy night, fighting sleep to crack that murder mystery you’ve carried along as a perfect companion.

Who says striving is bad?

It has tremendous power.It powers us to do more, to do better,to not give up.

But if God intended us to be constant strivers, he would have delivered us as robots.

It’s our imperfections, our pace, our need to slow down that makes us real.

Tomorrow is great but today is amazing.

That picture looks great but put down that camera and let your eyes behold real beauty.

You might not have finished 3 lucrative assignments but you finished that little dollhouse project today.

You never made it for the fancy holiday your friends are on, but you had a piping hot cup of coffee watching the sun set with your head resting against the only shoulder that matters.

You’ll never make everyone happy.

You’ll never have everything to desire.

You’ll never make all your dreams come true.

But look around, take a deep breath, and know that today, you’re already part of an amazing one.

An heirloom

 

I owe you so much little one
I’ve tried to repay this debt in tears, patience, lessons, hugs and kisses
But there is so much more I want to show you before this world implodes and consumes itself
A million crimson sunsets, where you can just hear that slight thud when the horizon gets greedy and gobbles up the fiery spheres
Beautiful rivers that carry hopes and goods and people, up and down, like the tides of life
Mute verdure mountains awash with the beauty of simplicity
Kind people who help everyone in their paths like gentle streams rearranging pebbles along their way
Gestures that are laden with hope and happiness, not reciprocity
Long drives taking us to new places, new people, new experiences and sometimes to nowhere
This basket that I’m weaving for you is full of small, simple, happy things
I’ll cover them all with a blanket of hope as I pass them on to you
I know you will look back and wonder what there is left to love in a world packed to the brim with hate, violence, blood and sorrow
But that is when I want you to sit with this little basket and see the wondrous world that was, and still could be, through my eyes

Thread by thread


Tricks, emotions, tears, joy and trepidation.

Relationships are like that unpredictable blanket, sometimes too territorial and snug, making you sweat, sometimes not as indulgent, leaving your toes peeping out in the unwelcome cold.

Every fibre woven with memories, music, melancholy.

Infused with a familiar smell of warmth and familiarity,some parts soaked in helpless tears.

Sprinkled with stains of cozy coffees, tinkling laughter and aimless conversations.

Strong and unyielding in portions, threadbare in others.

Tug a string too far and line upon line will unravel.

Tangled, twisted, knotted, but they will still make sense to you.

A wrap too strong and you feel suffocated.

With the rigours and vicissitudes of life, the patterns fade, the lines blur.

But on the most directionless of days, and the darkest of nights, they will land softly on your weathered shoulders.

To lift your chin, to wipe a tear, to kiss a lip, to tell you that tomorrow is another day.

To tell you, stay warm, I’m here with you tonight.

A perfect Sunday 


A lanquid yawn escaping a shapeless mouth.

A stretch so sweet, promising to linger, you just know you’ll never be up and about.

Some giggles, some thuds, some pitter pattering feet.

The pressure cooker hissing away, promising a king’s feast.

The droning din from the television no one’s watching.

The window sill battle of the pigeon and crow, who’s winning, who’s lagging.

The washing machine is steady but shaking with passion.

The fruit vendor wafts by the window, shouting his prices in a sing song fashion

Feet are stacked on some more feet.

Hearts and tummies are full, it’s time for some more of that sleep so sweet.

Who would have thought the lazy, the familiar, and the mundane,

Could bring such peace and comfort, time and time again!

A grand love


She ran to you and nuzzled her nose in between your knees, shutting the world out.

You caressed the fluffy tuft of hair on her head. She looked up and gave you that smile.

The smile that’s reserved only for you.

You smiled back and shut out the world that existed beyond the both of you.

I wanted to lock this moment in my head and throw the keys away.

So far away, into the depths of the ocean,

Where no one could touch this memory, nothing could change this moment.

Not age, not distance, not the cruel talons of time.

I’ve looked deep into those small twinkling starry eyes many times.

When they open, they search for you till they can find that old familiar figure extending an unwavering hand that is always searching for hers.

When they become heavy with sleep, they push and fight to just drink in one last smile , one last picture of you.

When they dream, it’s always a sunny day where a head full of silver and a tiny black one, Bob up and down along the beach, holding hands and exchanging fantastical tales and silly jokes with equal fervour.

The dreams have travelled a lifetime now, from my eyes to hers.

But the common and the constant is you.

I will never know your secret games, your endless conversations, your special communication even when no words are spoken.

But there is one corner of my heart which will forever be lit up with the memories that I have locked away.

Of an old man and a little girl and their little world.

When it’s over


On the last day of each travel, I feel very light. 

So very light.

But not in a good way,for it’s my heart that’s wasting away each time.

I shed some of it on endless walks along the waterfront.

Some shards fell away as the shimmering city lights enveloped the darkened skies.

Some bits withered away over endless conversations, tinkling glasses and wine bottles that flowed through the night.

A big chunk of it dropped as I sat in silence for days, watching a strange new world pulse around me, unfold around me, like a movie.

It almost stopped beating, when the leaves and the birds smattered against the blue sky, filled the canvas with bright vivid colours

A language stood between us, but my heart understood every word.

Every place was unfamiliar but my heart felt the warmth of each wonderful discovery.

I’ve lost my heart but it feels full.

Of invisible memories, laughter and joy.

All I need now is a new destination, a new river, a new journey , a new road.

My feet will start moving and my heart will be whole again, only to waste away once more.

Wings

One foot in front of the other. 

And the race begins.

They are racing each other, time, the phone calls, the appointments and the chaos that I’m leaving behind.

There is no finish line, and I don’t care if I come back.

All they know is that they are the wind that will lift me and take me far away.

The adrenaline pulses,keeping time with my throbbing temples.

The tributaries of sweat, charting a new course every few minutes.

My heart beats drum into my ears, drowning out the rest of the world.

My hair billowing in the breeze, trailing behind me like my very own superhero cape.

I really do feel like a hero right now.

I’ve conquered hunger, pebbles, potholes, rain, grime, sweat and pain.

I’ll feel like giving up a million times, but I know in a heartbeat I could do it all again.

My legs will find me a new world everyday.

I don’t need a map,

A road,

A compass to steer me,

Today, every obstacle will stay out of my way.

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