Is Open Mindedness restricted to the boundaries of our comfort zone?

Hi everyone!

(Ya see, I’m trying to keep up a regular writing schedule!)

Of late, I’ve been hearing a lot of contradictory opinions from people who claim to be modern and open minded. A lot of those that say they’re educated, and yet, I’m sorry to say, don’t see their rationale in banal daily activities.

A lot of us (young people, 20, 30 somethings) say that we’re tolerant. Educated. Open Minded.
Tell you what, we’ve just watched one too many American shows and half us don’t know what we’re talking about. (I can already hear all the parents cheering upon reading this)

I love that all of us are approaching a more liberal mindset, a tolerant behavioural policy where we “allow” everyone around us to be themselves and encourage them to do so.
However, such liberal mindset, as I’ve seen, has its boundaries. If being liberal is about allowing all schools of thought (only if they’re rationally valid, not blue eyed monsters) to exist and thrive without hating on each other, then why do we still have this hatred brewing?

To exemplify, as long as we (some students in India) say that we support freedom of speech, liberalism, free thinking and an open mindset towards all cultures, everything is flowers, butterflies and unicorns. However, the moment one of us says, oh yes, I’m a Hindu, I am reading the shastras. They’re interesting. People will label us, throw us out and even go so far as to threaten our lives. Same goes for people who say they’re liberal and are in the company of people who aren’t.

Why?

Why is that despite knowing the definition of liberalism, we fail to adhere to it?

If we are to be liberal, shouldn’t we accept everyone’s beliefs as their choices and not ridicule or mock them?

Our boundaries should not limit others from believing and being. What we think of others’ beliefs doesn’t just “not matter”, it should also be a non existent thought.

Because if we let others be, allow them to make their choices (not saying we shouldn’t warn them of dangers), that’s when the “People” in “What will people think?” will actually stop bothering us.

Love,

Manisha

The People in “What will people think?”

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the long break in articles.
Recently, I started to watch the somewhat iconic show, Sex and The City. Excuse me for being a typical convent school girl who until much recently thought, “Oh my god, the name has Sex in it. Inappropriate.”
No, it isn’t. Ask the new me, the feminist. Carrie Bradshaw’s writing is beautiful. Wait, that’s Michael Patrick King and Candance Bushnell. Either way, Carrie’s thoughts from the 90s are more than relevant today.
One of the episodes where she mentions “The critic we are most afraid of is ourselves” got me to thinking about the immense relevance of this sentence in today’s world and particularly in my life.

As I grew up in India, I was regularly faced with this statement, Don’t do that! What will people think?
While there’s the ever watchful eye of the “neighbourhood aunties”, I was never allowed to step back and consider the possibility that those “people” might just not matter. It was only a matter of time before it became programmed within me to criticise everything I did, or is it?
Upon some introspection, I recently realised that all of us are harsh critics! Harsh self critics. The amount of hate we spew upon ourselves is magnanimous! I’m constantly amazed by it. For those of you who keep diaries, look back sometime and just see how you’ve criticised yourself.

In my post “Why Meditation is the Answer to Depression“, I mentioned that there are three stages to curing depression, where the placebo effect formed a major part.
That placebo effect works with our decisions too. This entire “What will people think?” idea works like a dark placebo. One that makes you sick instead of curing the disease. However, what we often fail to see is that we’re the people!

We are those people that talk about us.

I’m not going to go so far as to say that nobody has the time to talk about us. They do but it is what we think of ourselves that ultimately ends up affecting our decisions and daily lives.

Whether or not we choose to let others’ opinions about us our own that’s up to us. Either way, the pain that will be inflicted will come from this immense hatred or love that we will throw upon ourselves.

While we’re talking about what our own opinions could do to us, I’d like to put out a little reminder. In our truest form, there is nothing but the soul. That soul which cannot be affected by fire, water, emotions, humans or demons. Our soul remains untouched and blissful. Bliss, or, Ananda, is that state of the soul which is never subject to change. So, if that’s constant then what are we hating on?

Consequently, what people then remain to throw that hate on us?

Love,

Manisha

Grandpa Narayan

It was a one of a kind concept at the time.
1957

Narayan was just back from his summer in London and was speaking to Hardeep, his school time flame about what he had picked up this time.
“They love their literature! Books are as popular as tea! I can only dream of so much access to books for the masses here” he lamented.
“Well,” suggested Hardeep, “Maybe you can bring that access to everyone. You know you have the resources.”
Her beautiful hazel eyes gazed straight into his, almost pouring her positivity into him. He looked at the banks of the Yamuna, the flowing calm it exuded mirrored his inner self. Narayan was the calmest of his hot headed family of Punjabi businessmen. They refused to hand over control of the “Nagar Palika” to him. It was, after all, the most popular garments store in Khan Market and they were just against his cool headed ways of handling situations. His love for books was, but a turn off for all of them. It isn’t unlikely, they said. However, Narayan was of the opinion that he could transform books into one of the biggest businesses ever but they just wouldn’t hear of it.
He returned Hardeep’s gaze and said,
“Wait. I could. Why don’t I combine the two things I love the most?”
“Books and me?”
He laughed and said, “You don’t need to be combined with anything, love. You’re perfect just the way you are.”
She slipped her hand into his and rubbed her thumb in little circles. He loved it when she did that. He continued, “Books and coffee.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll sell coffee to people but I’ll give them access to books to read. As many as they can.”
Her eyes brightened. She exclaimed, “We could have couches! The ones with foot rests?”
“Oh my! Yes! I could get a supply of coffee beans from South India. We can start with ground coffee!” She hurriedly opened her bag and pulled out a notebook. She started drawing out a room with a couch in a corner and beautiful bookcase to its left. Narayan watched as she sketched the place of his dreams and before he knew it, it had turned into reality within the next year.

1958
Within a year, Narayan’s place of dreams had taken shape in reality. As he brought in the first shelf of books with his wife, Hardeep, they rejoiced. He’d taken out a huge loan to buy a small place in one of the upcoming neighbourhoods in Delhi, Khan Market. They knew the hard times they would soon face, but Sukhbir, Narayan’s only living parent appeared to give his blessing.
Slowly, The Blue Blood gained popularity amongst students at the University of Delhi. Narayan filtered his books just like he filtered his coffee.
The best of beans with the best of books.
He would source his books from the bestseller lists of New York, London and Paris. The mahogany shelves soon became the favourites of the elite. High society book clubs started forming and soon enough, coffee gained popularity in Delhi.

1965
By this time, The Blue Blood was the hub of intellectuals and a popular place for Sunday debates amongst Delhi’s elite over his famous cup of coffee.
With time, the cafe transformed but Narayan’s love for coffee grew. It had given him a livelihood and purpose.

2000
At the start of the new millennia, his first grandson, Karan was born. Little Karan was obviously grandpa’s favourite but as he grew older, he morphed into a younger version of Narayan in more ways than one could see.
At the age of 2, he would jump up to the counter with his little wobbly legs, pressing buttons on the cash register. Narayan loved babysitting him and taught him to read.
In turn, Karan recognised his grandpa’s love for the iconic beverage and would bring him his morning cup with a book on a small silver tray. A small one because that’s the only one his little 5 year old hands could handle. It was Narayan’s favourite wake up call. He would take the cup from the tiny hands and Karan would jump into the bed.
While he sipped his coffee, he would teach Karan to read. Starting with the alphabet up to the Grimm’s fairy tales. The little 5 year old could soon read and understand all of the fairytales.
The tradition stayed until one morning, Karan woke up late.
The little child rushed to the kitchen and hurriedly asked their household help, Nina to make grandpa’s morning coffee. He stared at her face as she lifted him onto the counter with sad eyes and tried to say that she couldn’t make the coffee. He threw a tantrum.
Finally, Nina made the coffee and gave it to him. Karan rushed towards his grandpa’s room but stopped in the living room. Grandpa Narayan was lying there instead of his bed. He was confused.
Why is Grandpa covered in a white sheet? His father tried to pull him away as he pulled out the cotton buds in his nose.
“Dad! He won’t be able to breathe!”
His father was dumbfounded and tried to pull the child away but he insisted on waking him up.
“Grandpa, it’s time to wake up. I brought your morning coffee. I’m sorry I’m late.”

No

You hold power if you can say no
Or so she was told.
Devoid of expectations,
She grew up.
Learning to put others before herself.
Training to not say the magic word.
No.
Parents, friends, siblings,
They all said the same thing
Others before you.
You’re a lady.
But, along came a feminist and said,
No.
We’re all equal.
So she agreed.
The word worked its magic.
So she trusted.
She opened up.
She let go of inhibition.
What nobody taught her
Was that her No wouldn’t be heard at times
That it could be trampled over by the sexual predator.
The “close friend” who found her sadness enticing,
The friend who rejected the no and ruthlessly went on.
In effect, teaching her,
At times
You don’t have the power if you can say no.
Because that power is easily trampled over.

Where Art Thou Julius?

Michelangelo was a sculptor at heart.
A man, too afraid to paint frescoes.
Apparently, he didn’t have the talent for it.
Persuaded by Pope Julius, risking his reputation,
The master worked and four years of tireless painting broke all barriers
The virtuosity.
Sheer craft.
Creativity.
The ceiling of Sistine Chapel still bows to its master.
But the most romantic part of this story is,
There is no Michelangelo without Julius.
I’d like to find my own Julius.
That one person who breaks me free of my fears.
Takes the darkness away.
Stands behind, cheering, as I face my creative enemies.
Where art thou, Julius?

On Darkness

I was told that I must face my own fears.
Build my own castle.
Fight my own fights.
This warrior has seen some of the darkest of days.
They said,
Fight.
Let go of the dark.
Let the light fill you.
But what if the darkness is so deeply ingrained
That the warrior won’t even look at it.
The warrior who faced blood and gore with mettle
Faces away from darkness.
A fear so deep
That they’ve stopped using pens.
Because anything concrete is just not believable any longer.

On Talent

The problem is not that you have a past
It’s not your decisions
It’s not your inability to stay on track
It’s that you don’t believe in yourself
It’s that fear that festers inside you
That whatever you’re doing is in some twisted way
Wrong.
No, it isn’t.
Believe it.
Yes, things come easy to you.
Talent comes easy to you.
Fluency and good work pour out of you
You are blessed
And that’s not hate worthy
Your mind is so afraid of not having problems
That it runs in circles trying to find faults
Recklessly
You seek perfection but
You don’t know.
You’ve already got it.

A Piece of Metapoetry – Authors and Artists

I never thought that there could be an urge to write.
A longing to just hold the pen and blurt all of my mind out.
Is it this that finally indicates to me who I truly am?
What purpose I was supposed to serve all along?
Can one really be born to write?
Maybe we should just continue to pen down the random yet connected thoughts
Drawing out the psychedelic patterns that form before our eyes
And affixing on canvas the beauty of the world from our perspective
Purpose or not,
The pen to paper and the paint to canvas
Remain an infinite source of inspiration for an artist

Hindu Trios Part 1 – Sat Chit Ananda

Hinduism defines the unchanging, infinite Being with the help of these three syllables.

It is popular jargon amongst students of Hindu philosophy and science and preachers alike.

The unchanging being is called Brahman in the Vedic texts. It is the cause of reality. The entity that binds the universe into a whole.

The concept of Brahman has been discussed in both Dvaita (dual) and Advaita (non-dual, preaching the existence of One Super Soul) schools of Hinduism. It has also been found in Buddhist, Jain and Sikh texts. It is derived from the root “Brh” which means to expand. Brahman is beyond gender and signifies the Supreme Self.
In Hindu Science (and I call it science for good reason), it has been proved that there must be a cause to the entire universe. Wait. That’s logic.
So, according as this logic, the universe must come from somewhere. As Carl Sagan has famously called us human beings “a speck in the ever expanding universe”, I see sense in the belief that the root of the universe must either be beyond understanding or detection.

Instruments which are bound by laws of classical physics cannot detect something beyond the reach of classical and thus it is realised and proved through metaphysical concepts and experience. The entire universe, as we know it, is made of strings. Hindu Science, as mentioned in the Vaisheshika, explains the source of energy of these vibrations to be Brahman.
Brahman is thus the subtlest existing form without a boundary. It is formless but is the strongest force ever imagined.
So Brahman exists. If it exists, it is true. It is Sat.

In the trio, Chit is the consciousness.

Strings have created conscious beings like us, right?
SO, Brahman must have the quality of consciousness since it is empowering everything.

The character of consciousness is also embedded in us. Obviously. We’re all conscious beings. Everyone will consent to that.
This is the second part of the trio. When we look at consciousness, it is that which takes away the character of being unconscious beings that know or experience nothing of their surroundings. Consciousness itself never changes. It is absolute and as I’ve already mentioned, can be connected with Sat.

Ananda can be translated to bliss. It is the quality of fullness of life and gives us the ability to fully experience and understand ourselves and the world around us. It is not just a quality, but in fact, the basis of life.
Let me explain how.

We are able to function properly when we are at peace or are joyful. So does the universe. The cycle of life and birth is in ananda or a state of eternal bliss. However, this cycle is not bound by space (or Akasha element). It is beyond space and exists in a field that transcends sound or thought. So, all that there is, all of creation, is in ananda.

It is, thus, the basis of life.

Thus Sat Chit Ananda is Absolute Consciousness Bliss. It describes each aspect of our being. It is that which we are made of, that in which we exist and if chanted, it can help us resuscitate from our state of ignorance that we are just mortal beings bound by the body. Remember, we are conscious beings existing in ananda.

If you’d like to find out more about this philosophy or trio, head over to Amazon and pre order my second book, The Last Link.

The Last Link – Amazon

Happy Reading!

Love,

Manisha

 

Classic American Sitcoms – F.R.I.E.N.D.S

friends

I recently completed this 10 season saga for the second time (Yes, I have a lot of free time these days). It’s just the simplicity of the times when this was shot that draws me to it.  Yes yes, we are young, we were just born at that time, but a time without cell phones. As outrageous as it sounds, the time was amazing!

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I wish that was my current cell phone at times. To not have to worry about radiations, constant notifications and internet data charges would be a blessing. No, I am not opposing the growth of human kind. But at times, this growth with technology filling our lives at times makes those old times seem much nicer.

coffee shop and barAm I opposing HIMYM?No! God, I love that show! But it’s just that the culture advertised in this show, sitting in a coffee shop to pass time, was much healthier than the one being advertised by most movies and TV sitcoms today. Drinking was part of the culture back then but it wasn’t put on all TV shows for everybody to know about. It was more of an adult thing. Back when I was in primary school, adults in my house would usually just say that this is something that “older people” can do and I’d smell the glass and say, “Congrats on drinking something so stinky!”

These days, this drinking culture has been brought to the forefront and is addressed as a common issue. Yes, if you can handle your alcohol nobody is going to stop you. But,think about all the kids who watch TV. They know the difference between Torres and Jack Daniels before we could say the word alcohol. Why is it so? Because the media has given them access to these things. They then go for underage drinking and end up doing some pretty stupid stuff. This show reminds us that drinking is not necessary if you want to have fun. You can have the same amount of fun with a cup of coffee and a great group of friends.

Chandler&MonicaWeddingPoseStable relationships! This is one thing that I love about Monica and Chandler. They had a steady relationship through out the show and they showed us that American marriages aren’t unstable. These two found their perfect other half and stuck by, maybe our youth should do more of that too! Maybe they found inspiration in their long time married parents.

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I could go on and on about this beautiful show, but just for once guys, reflect upon this –

Isn’t it better to make one girl happy for life instead of 10 every day?

And girls,

Why not be career minded like Rachel and Monica instead of just gossiping around like worthless bitches?

See you next time!

~Always,

Manisha