Featured

Being Lonely…‘Main aur meri tanhai’ 😉

Having people all around, sitting on the same table, a spouse sharing the same bed, being used to a regular place and still not belonging there.

Synonyms of LONELY according to my thick, red, hard bound Merriam Webster’s Thesaurus are :

‘alone, lone, lonesome, single, solitary, solo, unaccompanied’

Though the thesaurus doesn’t lie, it definitely synthesises with the Chinese yin yang. As in, being right, yet embracing someone else’s correct. Being the good, but understanding, that the unacceptable, is also right, in its own strength.

The word lonely definitely means alone, unaccompanied and all of the above, but we connect to it differently. Loneliness is not physical. As in someone might be surrounded by friends and family, kins and clans, laughing, having fun and yet be lonely. It is not being single or married or unmarried or separated. It’s the inability to connect.

It is about missing home. Home is not a place. Being home is being at peace and harmony with the soul, our higher being. Being absolutely and deeply in love, with some goal or someone, still doing away with the restlessness and pining, in its absence. Being home is loving without the greed of being loved in return.

While we die only once, each of us leads two lives. One that comprises of the reality, that we live in, our family, friends, work, etc. The second one is a parallel world, inside the mind. It epitomises every wish and desire, the way we wanted it to be. Similarities in our two worlds is a rare disorder. When we humanly compare what is, to what could have been, it results in an insatiable, unquenchable, craving. Which turns out to be the pro-creator, foster-parent of loneliness.

The solace that we seek outside and the connection that we crave, is because of our embedded belief, a state of mind, that things could have been different – Oh! I could have studied in that university … or… She could have loved me.. or.. I could have written a best seller 😉

So, loneliness is

1) Not being able to connect.

2) Being lost and not finding home.

3) Is born out of dissatisfaction.

4) Is a state of mind.

I have often heard people say, there is no solution to loneliness, it cannot be technically solved, but distracted from. Balance is the law of nature. There can never be a problem that cannot be solved. Not being overtly optimistic, sometimes the answer remains undiscovered or uninvented.

When facing a difficult situation, like feeling socially isolated, the most important thing is to work out ‘the why’, the reason. Why am I not connecting to people around? The answer would probably be, “l don’t like them”. Stop lying. You reflect you, not them. You don’t want to be with them, because of your own traits like an inferiority complex or having a low self esteem or being dissatisfied with yourself. Diagnose your exact problem and work on it. If there is a problem in the root, go back to that same root and start solving from there.

If you wanted to study in a particular university years back, you can still apply…. It is much better than thinking about it for the rest of your life…similarly may be she’d love you…or slap you. At least you won’t waste your time wondering. And I will definitely write a best seller.

Sometimes we are very occupied in our own lives, as in we aren’t interested in anyone else. Now that is not loneliness even if physically we are all alone.

I am no psychiatrist nor therapist. Just a keen observer. And when I look through my imaginary drone camera, it is kind of ironically funny. I am fascinated by a whole lot of unconnected dots, that would make a picturesque view, if only they made an effort to reach out to one another.

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, https://thoughtsjustcurious.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Featured

My journey from a non-reader to a bibliophile

There was this norm in my school, where every girl in the classroom, would stand up and read, one paragraph each, of the ongoing lesson. While all my classmates read gracefully with suitable voice modulation, I struggled to get even the first sentence right. This pattern continued not until the age of seven , but seventeen. It couldn’t continue forever, as school ended, a few months after my seventeenth birthday. Hey wait, there is more to my misery. I have a literature laureate mother, who wanted to be a ‘Doordarshan’ news reader herself, and hoped, I would fulfil her dream, someday. And that day never came. Oops! She figured that out pretty early.

Now, coming back to me, I was this ever smiling, happy for no reason, weirdo, loner who struggled in practically everything. I was much below any average kid in almost all aspects, barring music (which anyway was considered useless by my intellectual mother). And yes, I secretly wrote well, that being the only way I could declutter my mind.

When I had my daughter, I feared, she might struggle to read, just like me. You need to trust me, I was 30, and hadn’t read a single story book in my entire life until now. I had heard co-mothers chattering about ‘Phonics’ an ancient 16th century method, the ‘IN’ thing, that would help small children in reading better. The word reading some how rings the brain’s bell. To my extended misery, at that point, there was this very popular, successful, expensive and influential teacher, in the other end of the city, who taught phonics. She was the best and most importantly at the other end. But a mother seldom cares about the distance. So off I went, with my little daughter, to her. At the end of an hour’s study, and two and a half hours to and fro journey, the daughter only revised what I had taught her a year before. The ‘happening’ phonics class didn’t suit my kid. Then, super-mommy decided, to wear her super-cape, to save her daughter. So, I quickly did a ‘phonics’ course and worked on a tailor made educative program for my daughter.

When we read, we do it either through decoding or through memory. Nearly eighty percent of the words in English language can be phonetically decoded as in broken down into sounds. The rest are sight words, that need to be memorised for example ‘the’. Sight words are ‘naughty’ as they refuse to follow the phonic rules. Also there are funny rules, so that children learn as quickly as possible, in an enjoyable manner.

While preparing my daughter, I self-taught myself, how to read. Also, I discovered, I was scared of the echo of my own voice. That was one of the probable reasons I couldn’t read aloud in school. A very short attention span reasoned my inability to read without fumbling. My problem wasn’t an unsolvable one. I started with small quotes online, gradually reading articles and eventually books. That made me, ‘newly a reader’. Daughter started reading really well for her age. All the hard work put in was worth it , finally. I bought books, more books and many more books for her and a few for myself.

Once while decluttering, I could not let go off the books, that were no longer needed. And thus, ‘The Little Reading Room’ was born – A school of thought, that would help struggling readers like myself and also average and brilliant students to inculcate interest in reading.

N.B. This is not an advertisement for ‘The Little Reading Room’.

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, https://thoughtsjustcurious.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Featured

“He didn’t matter,” she lied… thoughts & Quotes 3

The thought of being with her patch-eyed pirate was so beguiling,
that the prepossessing mermaid let go off her dwelling,
As she left her solace and finally surfaced,
The tranquility she was seeking was vanquished..

-Neha Jhunjhunwala
©️Thoughts just Curious

Featured

Blinding Beauty

The form of beauty is so beguilingly blinding,
That we seldom look beyond it.
The skill, the art, the love, all dwell in disguise,
While our shallow mortal beings rejoices

©️Thoughts just curious

Neha Jhunjhunwala

Featured

“He didn’t matter,” she lied

She was young, vibrant and completely lost her mind, when he frowned at her. He sat at the table ignoring her as if invisible. So what, even she was mean to him almost everyday. Sometimes snarky and indifferent too. So, why be so shattered.

She dreamt of him, every night, and waited, everyday. Pretended he didn’t matter. Made friends with his friends. Inside of her was shy, still wore a nice smile and crossed her comfort zone, just to be with him. Never revealed herself to him.. he needed to know her soul.

Couldn’t sleep through the nights, cried, gave up on make up, couldn’t work… and as she gathered her bits together, a memory crossed her mind… when she was younger, more vibrant… and faced the same situation. She fled, leaving all behind.

Now, the choice lied – to repeat or evolve. Life puts us through the same problems, disguised in colourful clothes, till we discover the answers and confirm the lesson finally learnt…. To be continued…

-Neha Jhunjhunwala

©️thoughts just curious

My to Do List for 2020

# Focus on work
# Read every day
# Ride a Unicorn (been looking for one)
# Do not fall for idiots
# Increase classroom hours
# Play with fairies
# Do not miss Workout
# Grow Angel wings
# Walk on the terrace
# Let the imagination roam
# Water the plants yourself
# Braid the hair of a mermaid
# Keep loving yourself
# Eat less cookies and chips
# Save cocoa for the Oompa Loompas
# Follow the diet plan
# Help Santa find Rudolph

# Not wake up before 5 a.m.
# Expand your comfort zones
# Live in the farm
# Travel to the moon

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, https://thoughtsjustcurious.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Rab

www.youtube.com/watch

A patch of gold in the prospector’s pan

Not standing up against an unfair wrongdoing, is synonymous to silently supporting it. And just the reverse, is letting go, a good turn unappreciated. In the month of May 2014, I’m not too sure of the month, I invested around 34,000 INR, in Indian actress Shilpa Shetty’s ‘Satyug Gold’ Purchase Plan. According to their scheme, I paid up 63% of the then gold price and taxes, (which was around 25,650 INR) in advance, and desperately waited for 5 long years, for my 20 grams 24k gold coin.

Shilpa Shetty, the brand ambassador of Satyug Gold then, also held 99% of the company that time. It had a co-branding tie-up and trademark license agreement with the Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association. In their web advertisement, the promoters, Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra guaranteed every customer purchase.

At first, I reluctantly invested 34K in it for 20 grams. A week later I decided to invest more. I remember they had a purchase limit for individuals under the discount scheme. I think it was 50 grams, though not very sure. The second investment couldn’t be, as the discount offer was already over. Oops!! However little, it is always good to make careful investments. Also I wish to mention, I was reluctant in the beginning, as the scheme was introduced to me, by my legally wedded husband. I believe I work better, with my money, and his money, and anyone else’s money, when it comes to investments. Also earlier that very year, I had made a few financial blunders (recommended by the legally wedded husband). So, it was something like once bitten and twice shy.

Since April 2019, I started nagging my husband, to enquire about the investment. Satyug was probably not be in conformity with the securities law and the Forward Contracts Regulation Act, according to regulatory officials. The legally wedded husband called the company helpline a couple of times without any successful response. Pretentiously , I consoled him, a written off investment of 34K would not matter. The amount is not very huge. Also I’m more of an artist than a business person. I don’t play to win always, sometimes it’s just the nerve-racking adrenaline rush and a racing heart, that makes the game worth playing. I would be happier writing poetry or singing on a small stage than selling food, clothing or land and making a bigger buck. It’s ok, if the 34 thousand is gone with the wind. Also, being a no regrets person, I wouldn’t have cried over it. I wouldn’t have written about it, as it would not affect my mind. I would have simply slept over it, like the Modi government over the economic slow down data.

The husband politely tweeted Shilpa Shetty over Helpline numbers not working. Within a couple of days, the web site was updated with new contacts. Mr. Prasad Agaru took care of the follow up. It did take a few months, and we had to collect the coin from their Bombay office, costing us another 7 grands, at least the famous Kundra couple kept their promise. If they hadn’t I would not have sued or abused them. By honouring their word they earned my respect. Though music turns me on, happy with the glittering gold for the time being.

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, https://thoughtsjustcurious.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/cons-products/fashion-/-cosmetics-/-jewellery/satyug-gold-a-company-promoted-by-shilpa-shetty-raj-kundra-offers-up-to-37-discounts-on-gold-bars/articleshow/34468455.cms

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/EOW-lens-on-Shilpa-Shetty-firm-for-gold-discount-scheme/articleshow/44954623.cms

https://www.indiatoday.in/movies/bollywood/story/shilpa-shetty-joins-gold-rush-launches-jewellery-firm-satyug-gold-187416-2014-04-03

Fidgety uncle on the flight and random thoughts

It is 11th October 2019. Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday, that he gladly shares with my father, ahem, “happy birthday Papa.” I am returning from my husband’s farmhouse in Jharsuguda, Odisha with a part of the immediate family. The part of the immediate family travelling comprises of the legally wedded husband, the six year old vibrantly inquisitive daughter and my magnetic self. The other part is Mom and Dad-in-law, they hate the city life. Especially the well-garnished , gaudy, ostentatious high life in Kolkata. Mom-in-law hails from Raipur, she is a free bird, very unlikely the showy materialistic Marwaris of Kolkata. Also, she is the one who taught me self love, independence and the importance of substantial accomplishments to indulgence. She fought and won a fierce battle for me against the influential and mighty Dad-in-law for letting me work. I’m grateful. Already missing her I guess. Oh yes! We are a small family. Reason: I’m patriotic. The Nation Needs To Know : controlling population is important.

The eighty seater Bombardier

Right now, here I’m on flight SG3282 SpiceJet Bombardier. It is an eighty seater small plane, with fans in its wings. The red service trolleys are way too petite and small edged. The head luggage space is also minuscule with lesser space than normal air buses. I try keenly researching on air planes, but my weak understanding of aeronautics tirelessly restricts me. There are twenty rows of four seats each with the narrow aisle running in the middle.

Seating arrangement Inside the Bombardier

This time instead of my happily ever after companion, that I fondly call my adorable iPad, I carried a Murakami book in my cabin bag. It’s lighter, limits my screen time and it is PEACEFUL reading. I can thoughtfully state many more reasons. It’s a win-win affair. That’s what it looked like in the first appearance.

The holy Murakami and me

As I have already mentioned, on this flight we are seated in twos. The daughter’s obvious preference was my legally wedded husband, her father. Who likes a nagging mum always giving gyaan (lectures in Hindi) and pestering to read as much as possible. I’m seated next to the uncle in the green T-shirt in the snap. This Fidgety Uncle looks a lot like my birth father, who also has his birthday today. Oh you must be thinking, I’m way too good looking (modestly) to be my father’s daughter. Once in your life, you got to trust me, no DNA test required here. Alright.

The Fidgety Uncle and his family across the aisle

In barely an hour’s flight, he has managed to move his hands, legs, neck, torso, arms and elbows umpteen times. Let me be very clear, Fidgety Uncle isn’t the lecherous, libidinous kinds, he is simply senile and declining decrepit. Not that I have never come across a lewd one. In fact I have befriended, unfriended and blocked one quite recently, as I wanted to stay close to one of his younger acquaintances. Coming back to Fidgety uncle. When I first headed towards sitting next to him, the husband warned me. He was ready to swap. But my six year old has a sixty odd queries per hour, going by the count of the minute. I’m used to her jabbering jabberoni. It is stifling when she is quiet. As if she is up to something unexpectedly notorious. Today I wanted to read. I had planned to read Murakami, so I opted for the quiet. At least I thought I did, when I did. Quite in sync with my daughter’s feelings, even I needed peace, so I happily sat next to this peculiar looking, intricately pecked nosed, family oriented uncle. In fact, his family was on the other side of the narrow aisle. He also had a spouse and only one daughter. I guess he is also patriotic.

Can’t concentrate as Fidgety Uncle is restlessly resting

He looked eagerly scanning at me, as if I were from a different planet. The vigour with which he moved his elbow on the arm rest, felt like hustling houseflies. It made me reluctantly squeeze onto the window of my already squashed seat. As soon as I dipped into my Murakami, there would be a snort from his side. The legally wedded husband watched me intently from the corner of his eye. He again offered to switch places. I declined. Reason : No the reason isn’t the dotting daughter. And I still I want to read. Fidgety uncle took a whole of a good seven minutes to fasten his seat belt, with his daughter and the air hostess together assisting him. He didn’t take help. He wanted to do it himself. Though I quite appreciate his willingness to learn, I could visualise myself standing in my place, husband waiting on the aisle, Fidgety Uncle unfastening the belt, getting out of his seat giving me way, errr… and by that time we have already landed. He isn’t very old. He is just too restless, uneasy and a little agitated. Also he power naps for very short intervals, a minute or two, with his head wobbling on his pendulum neck, seemingly falling onto my arms, missing by a whisker. I can sniff through his smelly coconut hair odour. Not that I want to. Nor do I have any greater grudge against coconut oil. Just that it is way too irritating and disgusting, so much so, that I have to put down my book, ask husband for my phone and start writing on the One Note app. Whenever I face an extreme emotion, I need to write. Though Murakami is mesmerising, tugging and trailing, I just can’t read.

Refuelling in process

It looks like Karma in its most vicious Avatar, I dumped my adorable iPad companion for reading the beautiful black Murakami, which in turn devastated me, completing the circle of life. For the first time, my apple iPad, that under normal circumstances reigns over my Coaches and Kate Spades, unwillingly checked into the twenty four inches luggage suitcase, smirked at by denims and cottons. I was missing my happily ever after companion. Writing is my favourite thing while travelling and otherwise also. I write everywhere. It’s a norm. While in the terminal, on the flight, inside the airport bus, at the luggage belt, in the waiting lounge, I mean everywhere. Being a frequent traveller, half the CCU staff recognises me holding hands with my adorable companion. Oh I’m a good morning, good afternoon and a long Hellooo kinda person. May be, my refined manners make me memorable. I seem engulfed by modesty today. This too is inculcated by Mom-in-law I guess, as it can also be termed as a form of self love.

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, https://thoughtsjustcurious.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Sindoor khela by Debanjali Biswas

A write up by my friend Debanjali Biswas

No matter how exotic and photogenic it looks, sindoor khela is not as beautiful as it appears to be. It is remains of unjust ritualistic laws of a society once dominated by strong patriarchal values. I’m not a feminist but certain experiences have made me stop and think in the last few years.
Stop and think for a moment of those ladies who have suffered a marriage separation or have been recently widowed. Not only they are deprived of the joy of participating in this festival, but they are also reminded of their social position. Imagine this happening to your own mother or sister. Every year on dashami, this celebration of marital bliss brings as much tears as it brings joy.
Why can’t sindur khela be more inclusive? Why can’t sindur expand itself & become an ornament for all irrespective of her marital status on that one particular day?
It is a war that remains to be fought …& to be won.
Only then we can wish each other by saying #subhobijoya.

The CCU Airport

Every writer has her favourite writing place, where the ideas keep brimming and brewing without interruption inspite of the chaos around. While for most, it is the loo, mine is the Dumdum Airport. It was renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in 1995 after the famous freedom fighter.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport

In 2017 it has ranked world number 3 in the ASQ Awards (Airport Service Quality) by ACI (Airports Council International). In the very same year, I remember we had just had about eight to ten counters at the airport, selling matrix calling card, sarees, rasgullas (a famous Bengali dessert), perfumes, luggage bags, transport counters for getting taxis and other conveyances, a corporate gift shop, a couple of eateries and a bigger counter selling chocolates, soaps, toys at extremely high prices. Once I needed a sun screen but didn’t buy seeing I was being overcharged. Later, I regretted not buying the sun screen as it was three times the airport price at my destination. There was a lot of empty space to be utilised all around. And yes, there was the ‘Namo’ clothing shop, named after the Indian prime minister. I’m a left winger by the way. We also had a very chic, well decorated, comfortable premium airport lounge that could only be accessed through certain memberships. The airport has its international departures from the first floor and domestic departures from the ground floor. While this data I have derived from my experiences, the scenario might be different for different airlines.

Namo shop

On 30th January 2018, the daughter used the toilet of the international terminal and the faucets were shockingly out of water. Yes there was liquid soap in the hand, and no water to wash. There was no attendant to complain to, may be because it was midnight. But I told the luggage bag counter salesman, who wasn’t in a position to do anything for me. Though he did make a few calls. Needless to mention, this post is due since then. When we are upset with someone or something, we observe even the most trivial minutest things about them, that we would have happily forgone in a normal precis. That was precisely the day, I realised we needed more counters for non-writers. There was so much space to be rented out for some gorgeous ravishing revenue that could make the port stunningly richer and better maintained. They could buy new faucets and recruit 24×7 plumbing services with the money. Being one of the busiest airports in the country, they should stand competent enough with other international standard airports that have already long adorned their fancy shopping mall couture. If I have a layover, or a delayed flight or hop into the airport early in excitement of the journey or for the fear of missing my flight, I need to window shop or atmost shop. Where is the entertainment? Also, where are my food choices? Questions to be pondered over. Something that never occurred to me, not until there was water in the tap. This has to be written about with photographs.

The security check at the main entrance and my little speck daughter taking care of the luggage

So last Saturday, I reached the CCU Airport two and a half hours before the flight time. It took me 20 minutes in the queue at the airport entrance reason being special security for ‘Independence Day’. My six year old was patient, cooperative and helpful. She carefully pushed the luggage trolley so that I was free to click pictures. We aren’t allowed to take security pictures.

Yeah! We travel light

After checking in when I thought I would be clicking the empty spaces and bringing them to light. To my surprise there weren’t any left. They were all filled. There were counters everywhere, with readily helping sales staff and also consumer traffic. We have numerous food options, and by that I mean covering almost every cuisine from Bengali to South Indian, and coffee to kebabs. Apart from the counters we also have a food court. Flurry’s, Kolkata’s very own breakfast place also has its pastries and donuts selling here. For coffee there is ‘The Coffee Bean &Tea Leaf’ placed under a beautiful dome right at the entrance of the first floor terminal and also ‘Coffee & More’. We have one more coffee shop near the airport entrance, but I’m covering only the terminals here. The prices are affordable. Almost same as outside. We have ‘Wow! Momos’, ‘Tea Junction’, ‘Afraa’, ‘Kusum Pole’s’, ‘idli.com’ (Oh! I love that name), ‘Banchharam’s’ for sandesh, Chaatwala and many more counters. There is ample seating space in the food court.

Coffee Options at the terminal

The colossal and very comfortable food court

We also have a quintessential pharmacy, ‘Bipha Ayurveda’, and an eccentric umbrella shop. Coming to the luxury section, to start with there is a Ritu Kumar, pret wear store, that stocks scarves, shirts and casual wear by the famous designing house. By the way, Ritu Kumar house once offered me a design manager position, that I denied. Next to it is ‘The Tea Shop’ by Manjushree for assorted classic Darjeeling teas.

That’s me!
Pharmacy and umbrella shop

We have ‘Pavers England’, in case broke your sandals while strolling around and ‘Kompanero’ for that extra cabin baggage and jackets in case your destination is cold. There is ‘Tanishq’ the most trusted jewellery brand in India, ‘Skinn’ for a little fragrance, Benetton for a colourful attire, the Sun glass hut, ‘eske’, ‘Shaze’ , ‘go colours’ and the very important coke vending machines. ‘Misti’ – an indian sweet shop has an ongoing inaugural offer, that means, it just opened. ‘Namo’ is still there and I am still a left winger. I didn’t look for a make up shop as I was already loaded on that. There must be one. If not, they are missing on a hot selling product. Also I wish we had a Furla shop at the airport.

How could I forget ‘WHSmith’ the bookshop. Name the author and they have it, but no discounts here. They also have a small chocolate and gift counter with limited options. I needed a nice chocolate box for someone really special. Though the sales girl aptly suggested a Lindt, would have preferred more options like liquor. Daughter was bribed with an Elsa doll for bearing with me while I was on the click-clack spree.

All that you read!

The O2 spa at the first floor terminal, has very relaxing and easy on pocket services making your layover soothing and tranquil. Also there are pay and use travel lounges open to one and all.

The CCU Airport is equipped with trolly pushing cars, senior citizen golf cars (that we also have in railway stations), glass cleaning machines and last but not the least, nice clean toilets.

Trolley Pushers
Golf cars for seniors and specially abled

Like the ones we have in malls abroad. There is an attendant and a cleaner in all the toilets. The faucet has water and there is a special place for washing feet for the tired travellers. The hand dryers are also working effectively.

Renovated toilets with new faucets
Relax and wash your tired feet here

So, here I am, trying to concentrate on writing substance, getting distracted by the glitz and flamboyance around. It’s time I look for a new favourite writing place not as happening as the CCU Airport.

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, https://thoughtsjustcurious.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

An extract from ‘The Little Boy’

Powerful.
(shared from another page)


“Once a little boy went to school.
One morning
The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
He liked to make all kinds;
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats;
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said, “Wait!”
“It is not time to begin!”
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
“Now,” said the teacher,
“We are going to make flowers.”
“Good!” thought the little boy,
He liked to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.
But the teacher said “Wait!”
“And I will show you how.”
And it was red, with a green stem.
“There,” said the teacher,
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at his teacher’s flower
Then he looked at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than the teacher’s
But he did not say this.
He just turned his paper over,
And made a flower like the teacher’s.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day
The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make something with clay.”
“Good!” thought the little boy;
He liked clay.
He could make all kinds of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice,
Cars and trucks
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.

But the teacher said, “Wait!”
“It is not time to begin!”
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
“Now,” said the teacher,
“We are going to make a dish.”
“Good!” thought the little boy,
He liked to make dishes.
And he began to make some
That were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said “Wait!”
“And I will show you how.”
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
“There,” said the teacher,
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s dish;
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his better than the teacher’s
But he did not say this.
He just rolled his clay into a big ball again
And made a dish like the teacher’s.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait,
And to watch
And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn’t make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house,
In another city,
And the little boy
Had to go to another school.

The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
And he waited for the teacher
To tell him what to do.
But the teacher didn’t say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy
She asked, “Don’t you want to make a picture?”
“Yes,” said the little boy.
“What are we going to make?”
“I don’t know until you make it,” said the teacher.
“How shall I make it?” asked the little boy.
“Why, anyway you like,” said the teacher.
“And any color?” asked the little boy.
“Any color,” said the teacher.
And he began to make a red flower with a green stem. “

~Helen Buckley, The Little Boy


The Causeway Across The Comfort Zone

I have been carrying something heavy, that I need to let go, but the address it needs to be dropped off at, is far beyond my comfort zone. So here I am trying to run, jump, walk and crawl to the other side of the causeway, that doesn’t seem safe, peaceful or even endurable –

The Causeway Across The Comfort Zone

A neat diagram on optimal anxiety hand-drawn by me

You cancelled the trek trip, because your friends aren’t coming. Mornings seem unbearable without the Cappuccino. You never tried the highway route to your work place. Humans are creatures of habit. Life is best led this way. Or may be, it’s more safe and comfortable. We are accustomed to the comforts of the closed small community, and often confuse discomfort with inability. Every decision we make, big or small, determine the person we aspire to become. If you feel that you don’t want to take any steps until you guarantee to ace it, take my word, your life would shrink.

WHY WE LIKE TO LIMIT OURSELVES TO OUR COMFORT ZONES

1) FEAR OF FAILURE or I CAN’T DO THIS…

Fear is often a story that we tell ourselves, or sometimes faint memories of tales told by friends and family, long long ago. When I was twelve, my school friend told me about her Kamal uncle, whose skull got smashed between the doors of the steel elevator.

The elevator where Kamal uncle got his skull smashed. Hmmm… supposedly

Now I’m 36, and still scared of the automatically closing doors of the stainless steel elevator. The fear instilled 24 years back, is lazily laid, not willing to vacate my mind. But, it doesn’t stay there alone. It has its best friend, Claustrophobia as a roommate. Claustrophobia – the fear of closed confined spaces. Where on one hand, I struggled to board the elevator everyday, the daughter is a daredevil. We were at LegoLand last year and daughter wanted me to compete with her on the LegoRacer. LegoRacer is a colourful, narrow, elongated tube, water slide. Inspite of being claustrophobic enough to withstand that zesty, flamboyant, plastic, rounded slide, I climbed till the top of the ride and crept inside the yellow tube. But froze at the time of letting go. I climbed out of the tube, giving others a chance, while my little one looked at me expectantly. “What kind of an example am I setting for my 5 year old, if all I did was cheer from the bench? What if she inherently accepts my fears as her own?” And I climbed back into the tube. The security personnel had assured me, the ride merely lasted 10 seconds. So, I closed my eyes and slid. Before I could realise, it was over. I did what I thought I couldn’t do. Even with eyes wide shut, it was quite an experience. The daughter asked to repeat and I readily agreed. This time I saw the inside of the tube. It wasn’t as scary as I thought. It is fascinating, how fears held close for a lifetime, could be dispelled in a matter of minutes.


In the above diagram, nicely and neatly drawn by me, you can see my significantly small green comfort zone, the purple far-far away, where I need to desperately declutter and in red is optimal anxiety. Optimal Anxiety – is the behavioural zone right outside our comfort zone, where the stress levels are slightly higher and performance marginally better. This is exactly where fear pushes you back into the comfort zone.

2) FEAR OF EMBRACING UNCERTAINTY

Previously, I worked as a design manager. I was well trained and doing awesome. But the heart was glued to the pen. As a child, I had serious reading problems. Whenever I saw a kid struggling with academics, there was this innate desire to help out. It was empathy. But I wasn’t sure if I’d be as comfortable, teaching children, as I was designing couture.

It is alright, to not have a plan, and be scared, doubtful and uncertain. We are sometimes stuck stagnant, even if we don’t belong to a particular place, because of the reluctance to give up all we have, to pursue a dream, which may or may not work out. For most of the people, their passion and purpose, in life is just outside their comfort zone, in the optimal anxiety circle.

3) VULNERABILITY

Loving someone with a whole heart, without a guarantee, is incredibly hard. And we are scared to speak out. The fear of getting hurt in the process of growing, keeps us away, from reaching our optimal anxiety, thus missing, what could have led to an excellent possibility. We are all worthy, of being loved, not because of where we stand, but who we are. Ironically, we readily share our happiness and achievements, but withhold, our struggles and failures, creating an emotional hollow. Not being able to hold on to that picture perfect image, is an inbred insecurity. It’s ok to be facing difficulties and problems.

Have the courage to share your struggles. In fact, the word ‘Courage’ is derived from the Latin root ‘Cor’ which means heart. The earliest form of the word courage meant, ‘to speak one’s mind, by telling all, one’s heart.’ So, speaking our heart out, showing our soul to another is an act of immense courage and audacity.

Our comfort zone is a safe and pretty place, where nothing ever grows and there is no scope for transition.

WHY LEAP OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE?

The caterpillar turns into a colourful butterfly, only after it comes out of its safe and cozy cocoon. Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. By leaving our comfort zones behind, and taking a leap of faith to something new, getting to know our camouflaged capabilities. Lack of comfort develops creativity and coping mechanisms. No spectacular stories ever come from people who choose to stay comfortable.

HOW TO CROSS THE COMFORT ZONE

Everyone has a small comfort zone in the beginning. All we need to do is find ways to expand it. At first, when we come out of our comfort zones it feels like –

1) Losing identity

2) Having to cross a wall without a ladder to climb

3) Jumping off a steep cliff with no safety harness

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable –

Our desire should be bigger than our fear. Our ‘WHY’ should be substantial enough for us to make the ‘HOW’ work. The No.1 fear in the world is that of public speaking. Getting on the stage and singing in front of an audience was my biggest fear. Inspite of having a degree in classical vocal I couldn’t sing to an audience. I still remember, standing on my aunt’s terrace, thinking whether or not to grab the mic. The feet froze and the voice choked. But I was dying to sing.

BABY STEPS

Taking little steps towards our goal everyday would immune us enough to plunge into that big step. Do small things to push past your constraints little by little. Map the baby steps. And reward yourself for them. I started with the karaoke mic alone in my bedroom. In the beginning, I sounded drab, out of tune and tempo. I chose a song and repeated it more than a hundred times. In time, I got used to the echo of my voice. The same pattern, I followed with many songs, till deemed perfection. The reward for me was the greater sense of accomplishment. Do little things that make you uncomfortable. For example, if you aren’t social – reconnect to an old friend or complement strangers.

ACKNOWLEDGING FEAR

People suffer. Accept the fear and the suffering. We catastrophize the fear in our thoughts, and the way we speak to ourselves. We need to de-escalate that language, we must try, even if afraid. If it doesn’t work out, it’s ok, life goes on. The first time I faced an audience, I wasn’t audible enough.

BUILDING A SUPPORT SYSTEM

A cheer leader, buddy or support system always beats going it alone. It turns out that fear gravitates to lonely people on comfi-cultures. It doesn’t necessarily goes away. But it gets easier with others having similar vulnerabilities. Father-in-law loves music and plays a constant cheer leader.

Once we are across our optimal anxiety circle, we realise, what felt extremely uncomfortable previously, came about easy, natural and peaceful. The brain is wired to remember trauma, past incidents, and fears, often rooted from irrational thoughts, that are there to protect us from pain. Life is a constant brawl with the comfort zone. You push at it, it pushes you back. Accept the fear, step out of it and push it further. Just take that plunge, a second guess, might pull you back. So try something new, with no expectations and only possibilities. Choose the outside of your comfort zone, where every day becomes a new territory with unknown outcomes. The light crawls in, where the window is open, and the darkness, remains an assumption.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_zone

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, https://thoughtsjustcurious.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Reviewing the movie ‘The Lion King’

The movie starts on a happy note, with ‘Rafiki’ the old, stripy-zebra-cheeked mandrill pronouncing, the little, new born cub ‘Simba’, the future king of Pride Land. While the entire kingdom celebrates the royal ceremony, with their mighty lion king ‘Mufasa’ and his queen ‘Sarabi’, Mufasa’s jealous brother ‘Scar’ is seen nowhere.

Simba grows up as a playful, head strong and confident cub. Like a good father, Mufasa tries to instil in him values of mercy, tolerance and sympathy, so that he makes a compassionate ruler, when enthroned. ‘Zazu’ the puffin bird courtier, is instructed to keep a close eye on Simba, for security reasons. The security, that the adventurous Simba, often breaches, with the help of his best friend Nala. On one such expedition, the mischievous duo have a savage, blood curling encounter with ‘Shenzi’, the ruthless, cruel queen of hyenas and her vicious, hungry pack. They are saved by a brink, when Mufasa barges in to their rescue.

The nefarious blood-traitor Scar, conspires against his crowned brother, with Shenzi. He promises her, the right to free hunt in Pride Land, if they helped him become the king. Shenzi and Scar together plan, Mufasa and his son’s murder, that would look like a terrible accident, in a stampede. While they succeed in killing the king, Scar coaxes Simba, into the guilt, of being responsible for his own father’s death. Simba flees never to return, falls off a high cliff and is deemed dead. Scar takes over the throne and recruits the hyenas as his royal army.

As fate has it, Simba survives the fall. Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and a warthog save him from the vultures. They take him to their Heartland home. Little Simba, Timon and Pumbaa, along with the other animals of Heartland lead a peaceful life believing ‘Hakuna Matata’ as in no worries. They help Simba leave the past behind, in order to build a sparkling future. Simba grows up with a thick, fuller, silky, brown mane, like his father Mufasa. Though not as robust, for he lives on caterpillars and beetles in Heartland.

Life is gets hellish and gruesome at Pride Rock. Puffin reports Sarabi, the ever hungry hyenas have hunted excessively and are killing the last flock of bisons and antelopes. Pride Land is barren of animals. Nala decides to seek help outside Pride Land, to save her tribe. Nala tries hunting the round and plump Pumbaa, thus bumping into Simba. It is a heart warming reunion. Nala and Rafiki convince Simba to return home and resume his throne.

Simba encounters a divine prophecy, of his father instructing him from the stars to protect everything that the light touches. Responding to this calling of the spirit, Simba realises he is the only one who can fight to protect his clan and kingdom, and returns to Pride Rock.

The lions and the hyenas have a violent, aggressive fight. Scar confesses that he fooled the hyenas and killed his brother Mufasa to become the king. In the end Simba is victorious. The hyenas kill Scar for deceiving them.

The Lion King is a story of courage, compassion, responsibility, and not letting go. It imbibes, the triumph of the rightful and virtuous, over greed and evil. Even if it’s late, it is always important to set things straight, until we find our righteous place in the circle of life. The movie ends with Rafiki pronouncing Nala and Simba’s newborn as the future king, right where it begun, completing the extraordinary Circle Of Life. Also the movie is in 3D and a magnificent, wondrous watch.

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, https://thoughtsjustcurious.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

The Pursuit of Benevolence

It was 17th July 2019, half past two, steaming hot afternoon, in Kolkata. I was stuck in this horrific, terrifying traffic jam at the Park Circus 7 point crossing. The car was air conditioned. Husband and I were fetching daughter from school. We were heading straight to City Centre Mall, for ordering my new pair of spectacles. I was hating the traffic, as my mind was preoccupied between, buying a new pair of specks and consulting an eye doctor for a lasik surgery. Still I chose the mall, as a couple of months back, a female friend, had complemented, that I looked great with specks. One gossip girl praising another, now that’s surely something. So, the daughter sat in the front seat, next to her father, and I, was obviously scowling at the back of my comfortable, air conditioned, lethargic car. Just then, three poor, scantily clad, roadside kids holding a bunch of red and yellow smiley balloons appeared from nowhere. They knocked at the window, and, I gracefully shooed them away, with my hand, signalling we weren’t interested in buying balloons. My daughter was already six, and no more interested in balloons.

Barging back, into my thoughts and preferences, of adding new tints and shades to my pretty face, I heard my husband whisper, “See, the police is taking the balloons.”“I hope they are paying too,” I said thoughtlessly. But hey, everyone in the city knows, the police never pays. So I looked up attentively. Inside an olive green gypsy, positioned diagonal to us, I could see a generous bunch of red balloons. My husband quickly took pictures that are posted below.

No, the policemen didn’t pay. As, they weren’t the police. They were the Indian Army Officers. They bought an entire bunch from one of the children and took a few more from the other two. My daughter asked, “how many kids do they have at home?” There were literally tears in my eyes as I answered, “Baby, they are not buying for their own kids but these poor children living on the streets.”

Though I myself didn’t set an example for my six year old, to follow, that day, I was happy she learnt from the surroundings. It is an art within itself, to learn without experiencing, or vicariously living some thing. Although in this case an experience would have been towards the happier shining side.

As the traffic unfolded and my air conditioned lethargic car yawned and grumbled towards the elongated stretched Maa Flyover, it was enlightening and disgusting synchronously. As a kid, I remember, enjoying distributing coins to the kids, begging at the busy Minto Park crossing. One day, when my mom was out of coins, and I was crying for the same, she explained to me the ‘beggary racket’ going on in the city. The beggar were dropped out of vans to different traffic points and they would give a part of their collection to their leaders as commission.

I think I confused these hard working, balloon selling, scantily clad kids with the begging ones. These little balloons sellers were making a point, “Yes we are born to poverty-stricken parents. Yet, we aren’t impoverished in values and self respect. Buy from us, and we will be able to eat. Buy from us, and we teach the lazy beggars, the lesson of labour. Buy from us, because we need it more, than your vanity bill.” Buying a balloon wouldn’t have hurt me. But, it would have mattered tremendously to these little light workers passionately selling them. In my case the daughter would have been happy. After all, she is a six year old, who has been arduously trained, to not ask for material things.

Also, this small gesture by the army officials made me ponder, if everyone, including myself could be a little more thoughtful, kind and caring.

Every morning, when we read the newspapers, or browse through twitter or WatsApp, we come across reports of lynchings, stories of molestations, accounts of brutal rapes, communal murders, etc. As we proceed through our day, we are coaxed into believing that the blue in our little planet encapsulates immorality and evil spirit. And we readily feed this junk to our half-baked, gullible souls, overlooking the the exuberant life around us.

Instead, we need to look with our glittering eyes, for benevolence, affection, sharing and reaching out to the once in need, confirming to the idea of language of love, that serves as the essence of our existence.

Copyright © Neha Jhunjhunwala

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Neha Jhunjhunwala, https://thoughtsjustcurious.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started