feeling a feeling

The night before, he starts asking questions about when I’ll arrive. He keeps asking the question every hour until I do. When I do, he wants to secretly sneak a peak. He gets shy, hides behind walls and doors, and can’t control giving me more than a glance at a time. Almost always, I have to trick him into talking to me and physically bringing him closer. It’s a process that is gradual and patient. He wants me to catch him, he likes to come find me, and he says yes to everything I feed him.

“I love you Bui!”

When my 3 year old nephew looks at me and says these words, the world stops and all the troubles freeze for a few moments. For those 5 seconds, I become the center of his world, the cynosure of his eyes. I feel entangled in his web and attacked by unconditional love from every angle – love that doesn’t place conditions; love that springs out naturally; love that doesn’t calculate; love that flows freely.

The more I grow up, the more I wish to travel back in time and be a 3 year old. I want to love without boundaries, without dependencies, without expectations. I want to push back on this world that forces us to take up a calculator. I want to be loyal to feeling a feeling. I want to learn to love and I want my 3 year old nephew to become my teacher.

an innocent little potato patty

It was a little over 8 years ago but I remember that Swiss morning quite vividly. It was chilly and while half my brain was trying to forget that I had just eaten beef in the form of what seemed to be an innocent little potato patty, the other half was focusing on the ticket machine. My goal was to purchase a ticket to somehow arrive at the Uetikon station in Mannedorf by 8:00 am. My only challenge at this moment was to understand German since English was not an option. It took me at least 7 minutes to connect the German dots and purchase the ticket. After switching 3 trains and eating 2 croissants, I finally arrived at the Uetikon station. During my 8 minute walk to the office, I stopped at several home gardens and tried to capture the beauty of a flower. This was my best attempt.

flower

Ae dil hai mushkil

Why is it that tears are missed

Why is it that pain is admired

Is there any truth to a genuine smile

Am I then just a big fat liar

This time, there was time to heal

This time, the love is cure

Why are there these depths of love

Is there enough that we keep wanting more

Is it bound to happen, will it happen

Should there be better preparation this time

Why does one become always yours

Why won’t you ever be mine

I wish these eyes would go to sleep 

I wish this heart be calm and still

The beauty of love lies in the end

Ae dil hai mushkil

The Rookery

I am Michael J. Fox and currently starring in the movie ‘Back to the future.’ At least, staying at the Rookery has transported me back 252 years to 1764. It was the time of the British rule across many struggling nations.

In America, the Cherokee Indians were still fighting their battles against the ruthless colonists. The Sugar Act was passed by the British that almost doubled the duties on imported sugar among other items.

In Ireland, the Vikings and Normans had had their share and it was now the British rule. By the mid 70’s, the English Protestants had take over 95% of the Irish land. Gaelic language was banned, trade forbidden, and Catholic Church outlawed.

In India, the British East India Company was ruling large areas of India with its own private armies. The Company rose to account for half of the world’s trade in cotton, silk, indigo, and opium.

While all this was happening elsewhere, some were architecting the Rookery and this very room I’m currently staying in. With old wooden stairs covered in a thick cream carpet, beautiful paintings all around, and chandeliers dangling in the library, I have been transported back to the British empire. 

Quote

“Let no limit bind you.” – Ruhi Rastogi

152 arm pits

The 2016 Yoga expo at the LA convention center was a great example of a well balanced supply & chain. Try fitting at least 76 yoga mats into a 1000 sq. ft. room. I am referring to 152 arm pits – bonding at its very best!

They asked us to bring our yoga mats but I should have prepared more. Thanks to my friend Maria who handed me the black suede lens cleaner by Mark Jacobs, a perfect lining to block away reality. Complete silence. Total darkness. The very first sound of gong filled up the room like a train approaching, showing off the Doppler effect. The mind left the mundane thoughts and got busy focusing on different frequencies, the entrance, and exit points for each gong.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 3.08.01 PM

As soon as the surrounding sounds became the new default, I was able to focus on my vision. it was darkness everywhere. With eyes closed shut, my inner eyes were completely open staring into the darkness. While I was trying to concentrate at my third eye, my eyelids felt heavy and gave into gravity. I closed the eyelids within the eyelids, however there was another set of eyes that gazed into the unknown. Every set I closed, I melted a bit more, I slipped a bit more. All of a sudden, it felt like the movie Inception, entering into layers of extraction, each layer deeper and each layer slower.

Eventually, the teacher got tired, all healing sounds came to an end, and human chattering replaced the train.

the fear factor

I wanted to do a quick survey and asked a few of my friends about their fears. I mostly got snakes, caves, and wives. Some are even claustrophobic but I mostly got snakes, caves, and wives.

shout

It certainly got me thinking about my own. So I thought and surrendered. Mine is a 30 second window somewhere between 10:00am and 10:30am every week day. Without fail and without losing any effect, it attacks me religiously. It’s the time of day when I have to take a tablespoon of horrifying cod liver oil. The oil seems so innocent and yet is the devil himself.

In the 15 minutes preceding the event, I have to become Obama, a perfect orator, and inspire myself to balance out the Omega6-Omega3 ratio. I count down from 5, inhale deeply, block out my nose using my left hand, chug that disgusting thing, and chase it with a shot of guacamole.

And the clock starts ticking… 23:59:59!

ultimate cardio

10 mins elliptical, 10 mins swimming, 10 mins sauna. Just 10 mins at a time to conquer what I must conquer.

I will burn the restless calories and increase my heart rate. I must arrive at my fat burning zone; fat – something that body stores for desperate times, times that never make it in time, an illusion perhaps.

With every stroke, I will speed up and let the water chase me. Under the water, I will detoxify so when I pull out, I am lighter.

I will inhale the clever signs and I will exhale the helpless desires. I will let each pore open the door. I will let each breath let go a little more.

rooh

A late night and a long drive. After reading 68 high intensity pages and a lot of highlighting, I wanted to deposit my mind and just smile. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to open the Saavn app and let the weekly top 15 lead the mood.

After many songs, there was one that still has me in awe. I’m trying hard but I can’t get it out of my head. I’m not sure if this is the correct era for Amitabh Bhattacharya. Someone messed up and he is now a century late to his existence. Clearly, his song is from a 100 years ago and it takes me back to the golden ‘black & white’ days.

Ah, those days – doesn’t the binary description seem synchronous with how older times were simpler – just black and white? There were less than 4 channels on the television, just one kind of yogurt, and the only way to communicate was to be face to face – no text, no Facebook, no whatsapp, no messenger, no Instagram, no LinkedIn, no Skype, no FaceTime, no email, and no phone – if you wanted to say hi, you rode a bicycle. Options were manageable if any. You had to excel at your job and there were no recruiters at your service. You had 2 pairs of shoes, and one shade of lipstick. Oh, and pillows of that era served just one purpose, and it was to support the neck.

Emotions were simple, and expressions were honest. Men were still from Mars and women from Venus – yes! …but they came together to start a life on Earth. There was a will to complement each other, a desire to disappear in another. The eyes did all the texting and dreams were exchanged in just a glimpse. A man’s smile and a woman’s blush – that was the only agenda and an entire date – no chocolate mousse, no distractions, and no fiddling with the keys. If she blushed, and lowered her eyes, it was a yes.

Ah, those days!

Tu rooh hai toh main kaaya banu, taa-umr main tera saaya banu,

Keh de toh ban jaaun bairaag main, keh de toh mein teri maaya banu,

Tu saaz hai, mein ragini, tu raat hai, mein chaandni…

I wish to meet AB and ask him if he knows anyone who feels love with this intensity, with such purity. I want to ask him if he’s delusional. Don’t take me wrong – I’m not making fun of him. I’m just jealous of anyone who is capable of having a feeling of that strength, one that is completely selfless and unconditional. I’m just wondering who became his inspiration, or was this just an aspiration? I’m just troubled – is there anyone who desires to evaporate to just be a part of someone – a devotion of a sort, a complete surrender?

Sorry to bring you back but in this era, we ladies have a bronzer, highlighter, primer, and 36 brushes to go for a ‘natural’ look. We avoid the sun, get a tan, and spend hours in front of the mirror artificially creating a sun-kissed face. Our era… era of a 100 years later… what have we done!

3 year olds

I hope I can shift even a step closer to how the mind of a 3 year old works.

Spending a few days with little children brought me a smile. Watching a child is like watching a movie that makes you travel back to the prehistoric age – an age of no triple meanings, no beating about the bush, and no complications. Okay, with a few exceptions of how to hunt, cook a meal, or get from A to B! 😉

I watched my little niece and my little nephew cry when they wanted milk. Both of them giggled when I tickled them, and got angry when mommy went away. And it took them seconds to move from any one state to the other, there were no grudges carried over. It was as simple as that – the life of a minimalist, the life of a simpleton.

The troubles of the world, inner or outer, didn’t worry them. The religions, political inclinations, and borders didn’t keep them awake at night or yelling with their throats. Minimal requirements with maximum output.