Life is Like that…

This image, which I stumbled across accidentally at Pixaby defines the paths of life so well; colorful and joyous at places but an abyss in the center is always waiting to devour us. How we cross it depends on our acumen and proficiency.

As children, we only knew physical pain. We did feel hurt at times but it was absorbed within. We didn’t know it is called emotional trauma, didn’t know it could last longer and revisit us.

We didn’t know what is selfishness; probably constant reprimands helped us in refraining from any such acts. Sibling rivalry was overlooked, as we were unaware of in-depth analysis of behavior. Ignorance was bliss.

We only knew love and couldn’t discern hypocrisy of some people who exploited our emotions. Bullying was an unknown term; obedience was the answer even when hitting was intuitively disliked.

We didn’t have digital devices to quell our thirst of knowing more and believed in whatever our parents and teachers told us. Moral values were imbibed naturally through them. Stories of grandparents were enough for us.

‘Life is not a bed of roses’…this adage never seemed convincing to me when I looked around and saw from the eye of an immature, growing adolescent, with rosy dreams and soft thoughts… that all is well with the world…considering the small, protective cocoon that I lived in, formed those illusions.

The journey of life actually unfolds its reality when we step into this fiercely competitive, engulfing world; waiting to devour us, defeat all our sincere and honest efforts!

Some disappointments, some frustrations and disillusionments become a part of our journey.

Do we give up? No, we want to explore more.

As it becomes more meaningful and challenging; we learn to define our goals, snub some desires and struggle to move ahead with renewed vigor.

But it remains interesting.

Whenever we face the roadblocks, we wonder why is life so tough, why do we have to face a new challenge everyday, why can’t it be smooth sailing?

Sometimes, it seems that life is just a big vacation – when you nestle in the center of a place, surrounded by pine forests with snow covered peaks staring at you, …with whiffs of peace and contentment all around.

A serenity that coaxes us to slow down, to savor the little moments of joy.

Such a scenario changes our opinion, fills us with new enthusiasm to do something new, something different.

Have you ever felt this exhilaration? The illusionary aspect of life is a significant contributor.

Just look at the ocean, feel its vastness, sit by its side and look at the waves rushing at you. They speak to us, if we can understand the profound lesson each wave leaves for us:

Life is that simple yet seems complicated. However high the wave, it has to touch the shore and surrender. Everything meets a natural end. Every moment around us is so transient! All the hues of life merge into each other. None of them belongs to us.

Accept life as it comes, welcome all its ups and downs with resilience. Draw energy from positive thoughts and people. Dwell on your blessings. Keep your cool in the face of provocations and disappointments. Embrace your agonizing moments to exorcize them from your life.

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© Balroop Singh

Serenity

Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto

Serenity is a state of mind, just like happiness. It has to be nurtured just like positivity. It is a learned emotion – if I may call it.

There is no need to search it, as it lies within us. It wears transient robes. It makes us smile when we look at a calm lake or a beautiful waterfall.

We may forget it when we get back into the competitive race of life. It recedes into the forgotten realms of mind, as it can be easily vanquished by the demands of time.

It doesn’t believe in competition yet it is a pearl that is most precious.

I got this pearl just by luck. Impulsive by nature, I could be easily provoked when I was young. I happened to marry a man whom I named Mr. Serene. I didn’t know him before marriage and had met him just once and that too after insisting upon the fact that I need to see the man I was expected to marry! I don’t belong to medieval times but my cultural background encouraged arranged marriage and I was too young and naïve to protest.

I discovered that my husband had been gilded in serenity. He reminded me of King Midas! Come what may, he would remain calm. My outbursts wouldn’t affect him; his smiling response could put a wall to shame. I may break his favorite vase, I may lose gold, I may spend whatever amount of money…he would never express any dissent. My mom calls him as gentle as a cow but I also discovered the ways to escape his horns.

Slowly I adapted to the colors around me. I too draped serenity. Though I love to spend time in the company of Nature, I’ve found calmness within my thoughts. I know how to evoke positivity, how to accept life as it comes and believe that all situations of life are transitory. Love life and be calm.

 ©Balroop Singh

Thanks to Sue Vincent for an inspiring Thursday #photoprompt Serenity

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The Horizon

causeway
Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto

This image reminds me of a real story of two kids who thought that the sky and the earth meet and they would be able to touch the horizon. Everyday they watched in awe and yearned to go there. The day their moms left them in the care of their grandma, they got the opportunity. Holding each other’s hand they walked toward their favorite place. Grandma thought they must be playing with the ducks near the pond. Adventure ran through their blood.

They quickened their pace as the sun shone brighter. They walked and walked, far away to touch the horizon. When moms returned home in the afternoon to discover the missing kids, they were blamed for being careless and irresponsible. A frantic search ensued. Grandma rushed into neighboring houses, hoping the kids must be playing with their friends.

The big news was delivered to Mr. J. Singh, an authoritarian man with haughty demeanor who considered talking to women a waste of time. He was furious and thundered: “These women can’t even take care of two kids!” Only grandma could face his wrath and order him to send men all around the village. No success!

Having realized the gravity of the situation, Mr. Singh took his bike out and told grandma that the kids must have fallen in the canal. Mumbling some obscenities at the women of the house, he drove away to request the local authorities to stop the discharge of water so that the bodies could be retrieved.

Never could anyone imagine the delight at the face of Mr. Singh as he returned home with us, chatting away to glory! Grandma ran to the storehouse to carry round blocks of Gur (jaggery) to be distributed to all those who came to congratulate!

Nobody was interested in their story and who saved them!

Within hours, Mr. autocrat announced: “Catch the morning bus and go back to the city. I’ve had enough of your adventures.” Nobody dare argue with him but we tried. Still our vacation was cut short.

I was one of those kids and the other, my cousin.children-1586249__340

Balroop Singh.

Thanks to Sue Vincent for a lovely Thursday #writephoto Causeway.

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Traditions, Conservatism and Giving

I had written this post in 2014, after attending a wedding. I need to refresh it, as nothing has changed.

Indian weddings are a spectacular show of wealth, wedged in traditions, rituals and extravagant customs.

They appear to be blissful happy occasions of celebration…till you peep behind the drapes!

Recently I had to be an obligatory part of all this razzmatazz, watching and wondering…when will we get out of these age-old cultural compulsions, which have been imposed on us.

“Sometimes tradition and habit are just that, comfortable excuses to leave things be, even when they are unjust and unworthy.”—Matthew Scully.

Traditions are woven into the web of our life, I know, but I always thought and convinced myself that they evolve with time.

How utterly, extremely erroneous were my thoughts, in hoping for brighter times!

The brides in India still belong to antiquity!

They may be highly educated, having the best of job placements, sometimes even earning more than the prospective grooms BUT…

They HAVE to bring along unlimited amount of gifts, which are all given by her father, rich or poor, all have to follow this tradition.

On the receiving end are the brazen parents of the bridegroom, whose mouths, as wide open as that of a crocodile, remain open!

They don’t have to give anything in return.

Traditions blind us, compel us to keep honoring them due to societal pressures but aren’t we part of the society?

Isn’t it our responsibility, especially that of the younger generation to break away from those norms which almost choke us, make us bankrupt, kill and burn our brides?

Yes, the youngsters do break some norms only when they want to!

But they remain mute spectators to the age-old system of giving and giving and giving….when they receive along with the bride!!

The Indian tradition of giving a daughter away is, in itself, an incomparable generosity in global history. She is expected to be a part of groom’s family, perform all household chores, bear and rear children, respect all the whims and fancies of her in-laws and stay away from her own parents and siblings.

She has to become a channel of continuous flow of money and gifts from her parents, who are expected to keep on giving, all their life!

All this in the name of traditions!

“Tradition is the prison where change is detained… To make a change, you need to agree that you are not going with the statement “this is how we do it”! Yes, that was how it was done, but what next? Agree to change!”—Israelmore Ayivor

When will we free ourselves from these age-old shackles?

When will we free ourselves from the fear of such a despotic society?

The historical significance of the so-called dowry should have faded long ago when laws were framed against this system.

“Dowry was prohibited by law in 1961 with the purpose of banning the demanding, giving and taking of dowry. Although providing dowry is illegal, it is still common in many parts of India for a husband to seek a dowry from the wife’s family, in some cases leading to extortion or violence against the wife.”

Not that I was unaware of this, not that I have never complained or criticized this type of blatant one-sided giving.

Recently I witnessed this tradition of giving and expecting unlimited gifts, which gave me a feeling of revulsion, almost to the point of revolt.

Shouldn’t educated and socially aware couples rise against this?

Isn’t it discrimination to expect gifts only from the bride’s family?

Why are we so helpless? Why are we enslaved by traditions?

Why are we expected to follow such an oppressive dogma of giving a daughter away?

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.

Understanding Negativity and Negative Thoughts

Negativity

A dear family member has not returned home on time. His phone is not responding. The weather is pretty bad and you have to attend a family gathering. You don’t want to be late but you are worried. What is the first thought that crosses your mind?

Is it negative? I am sure it is, as human brain seems to be wired for negativity in such circumstances. Positive emotions have to be cultivated but negative ones are innate; they are our natural armor. However hard you try to shove them, they keep cropping up.

Negative thoughts rule our life, as negative energy travels faster; people are more interested in negative aspects of a colleague or an acquaintance and they take pleasure in being judgmental. Even school children enjoy gossip and criticism and vent it out in the form of bullying or unruly behavior.

Fear, loss, failure govern our thoughts when we make some major decisions. We talk to ourselves in a negative tone, we start believing that we were at fault and failure affects us deeply.

Why are people negative?

  • They have been hurt at an impressionable age
  • Their hurts could be deep-rooted
  • They hold others responsible for their behavior
  • They have never tried to emerge out of the shadows
  • Fears dominate their thoughts
  • They could be internally insecure
  • They don’t like to introspect

Upbringing plays a major part in forming your thoughts. If people around you lack positivity, have faced too many setbacks in life and are all the time struggling to keep up appearances, you are bound to pick up those vibes. You learn to grapple with the thorns on your path by carrying a tough exterior.

Lack of love in childhood affects emotions in a negative manner. When a child doesn’t get a positive nudge and has to depend on his own feelings, he weaves a protective web around himself. One failure defines his efforts for him, one rejection seems like the end of the road and he learns to blame others. As an adult, his self-defense is negativity.

Negative peoplePeer group exerts significant pressure on us. Social development and true friendships are formed at a young age but rejection; bullying and negative attitude of peer group could hurt your self-esteem. It may lead to the loss of faith in the goodness of humanity. Negative interactions leave a lasting impact on the psyche of those who feel rejected.

What you read, the kind of books you were exposed to builds your perspective. Early impressions tend to stay and you veer toward negative reading – books about ghosts, monsters and villainous creatures become your favorites. You may define life in the same way. You wear a façade of contentment and happiness but could be bitter inside.

Criticism nurtures negativity, as it gives a wrong message to the listener. It is an attack on self-esteem, makes him think he is “no good.” If you were criticized during your developmental years, you tend to grab negativity unknowingly. Negative traits get entrenched in the personality.

Negative emotions too could be beneficial but only if we understand them and are ready to introspect. Read more: How Negative Thoughts Can Be Beneficial For Our Personality.

How do you handle your negative thoughts? Do you know such a person?

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Balroop Singh.

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