When does habit turn into meaningless tradition?

A guru teaching his disciples got annoyed by a cat disturbing the class. He asked his assistant to get the cat and chain it so it wouldn’t distract the class. The next day same thing happened and the cat was chained again. This repeated for a week. The guru suddenly died, the assistant left. A week later a new guru arrived, new assistant as well. The class was about to begin but somebody said “Hey the class cannot begin now, we haven’t chained the cat yet. So one of the students went looking for a random cat and sure enough when they found one, it was chained before the class could begin. From that day, the class wouldn’t begin unless a cat was chained.

Sometimes we all do certain things without entirely thinking about it. Which is fine. We don’t have to analyze and take apart every little detail of every little thing we do in life every day. Sometimes it’s fine to use those brain cells for some other purpose and rely on habit or tradition to take over.

But when do these habits turn in to a meaningless tradition for years (or even generations) to come?

Continue reading “When does habit turn into meaningless tradition?”

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The little girl that is trying to grow up

“My mom doesn’t really care about me”, thought the 10 year old.

They were playing a game. The little girl and her aunt. A word game or something that I don’t remember now. I was watching. The little girl was having fun. She was so happy. I think it was because she was really having a good time. She was having so much fun she let her guards down for a minute or so. She turned to her mom and told a secret. A mom that she never knew in all her 11 years of existence. A mom that hadn’t bothered to know her own kid in all the 11 years since giving birth. A mom that she had assumed for a long time to be her foster mom because she couldn’t believe that a real mom and kid would have such a shallow uncaring relationship. She insisted her mom keep that secret and pleaded her. Just for a few seconds she had subconsciously traveled from the real world in to her own utopian world. A world so utopian where she was friends with her mom and could trust her with a secret.

The dream didn’t last for a long time. The second she narrated the secret, her mom blurted it out to the little girl’s aunt with a vengeance. The little girl just couldn’t understand why. She had a closer relationship with her own aunt than her mom, so the secret didn’t matter but the mom had broken her trust. A trust that could not be easily be restored and hasn’t been for years. Physical features didn’t matter. The 11 year old thought her mom was ugly. In some ways she still does.

She had slight resemblances of her mom when she was 20. She is older now and hates looking in to the mirror sometimes because she resembles her mom so much. She is a spitting image of her mom. and frequently gets depressed looking at the mirror because she hates who she sees there. Every day she tries to not do the things that her mom did or be the way her mom was. Subconsciously she falls prey to the monster. The monster of habit that creeps in now and then. She fails miserably many times. Over and over again. She still doesn’t think of her mom when she has to recollect a beautiful female face.

“My mom is very adjusting”, thought the 15 year old.

They had scheduled for an ultrasound. She had been nervous the whole week. The doctor checked for everything and said the baby was doing good. The nurse had told them if they wanted to they could know what the baby was in 2 or 3 weeks. She was getting really worked up. The husband couldn’t understand why. She couldn’t understand why herself.

She started crying uncontrollably for the next hour or so. That fear of the unknown, the take over of hormones, the mystery of not having control over how you feel. Then was the start. Start of a journey filled with childhood fears and insecurities. It took her a while to realize that her uncontrollable wailing was her innate fear of having a girl baby and making the same mistakes her mom did. She hadn’t realized until then that this feeling of not living life the way her mom did was so deeply ingrained in her.

“My mom doesn’t know her priorities”, thought the 20 year old.

It was a small happy family. A wonderful husband. A smart kid. A beautiful wife. She was hopeful of the future. Her heart was filled with dreams and passions. Her mom was visiting them with packed bags. It was disturbing to know that her mom had problems with dad, but she was glad to know her mom counts on her for help. No matter how they were as parents she had thought that they were the nicest couple. That was getting shattered in front of her eyes. She thought her mom had suddenly become beautiful in her old age after the small talks and long walks they took in the evening.

She was slowly beginning to love her mom which she hadn’t done in all of her existence. It took only a few weeks to realize that the illusion wasn’t going to last forever. No illusion ever does. One more time of successfully being fooled and then she realized it wasn’t trust. It wasn’t that her mom counted on her. It wasn’t even that she loved her. May be she did, but this time it was mostly because her mom had not much of a choice. She had always needed someone to be there and guide her through the banalities of life and raising a kid. She had always needed a friend, someone that she could pour her heart out without being judged. She failed miserably once again to find that treasure.

“My mom hasn’t imparted any lessons for me”, thought the 25 year old.

She had to attend some classes to turn her career around and had nowhere to leave the kid. She tried to think of someone that would watch her baby while she was away. After lot of hesitation, she asked her mom. Her mom said yes. She would leave her son at her mom’s and take 4 hour classes classes twice a week. Her parents would happily watch him while she was gone. She couldn’t possibly express how grateful she was and tried to take them out to dinner every time she visited. Even though the experience was cut short in couple of weeks, she was glad it happened. She didn’t think her mom was ugly. She didn’t think her mom was beautiful. She didn’t want to think at all. She was tired.

“My mom has her own life and it doesn’t matter what she does or doesn’t do, I will carry on with my own”, said the 30 year old.

She lives in the same city as her mom. They live 15 kms away. It has been over a month since they spoke to each other. They haven’t had a fight. They are just comfortable not being in each others’ lives that much. Their pasts haunt them and trigger memories that neither are comfortable or mature enough to deal with. Days pass by. It’s not perfect but neither is life.

So what does this have to do with beauty? What does it have to do with perception?

Beauty is how you feel. Beauty is what makes you happy. Beauty is what makes you sad too. Beauty may not be family or relationships but beauty is people. Beauty is what you do with your life. Beauty is how you deal with the hardships and how you come out at the other end. Beauty is how you hold up to responsibilities. Beauty is how you treat others. Beauty is how you treat yourself. Beauty is world. Beauty is everything.

The 10 year old girl that was in a dysfunctional family & grew up to be a troubled adolescent now lives her life trying to figure out what makes her happy. She has a beautiful life.

No matter who you are, where you are or what you do you are beautiful. It’s good to use past as a reminder only to correct the mistakes but present has far more beauty and love around and the future holds much more.

“Always know that everyone loves you no matter what they think or say or do”

That has to be beautiful!

P.S: Do check out Yahoo Real Beauty!

P.P.S: If you are wondering who the girl is in the story above, that’s a very natural curiosity. 🙂

Back from a long snooze

If you do what you love you don’t have to work even a single day in your life.

Words of wisdom I’ve read or picked up from somewhere. So true!

So true, but not at all easy. I’ve been trying to find out what I want to do in life. It’s not a single thing or a simple answer. It’s like a perfect movement. It’s like dance. It’s like aerobics. It’s one movement coordinated with another continuously in a very calculated manner at a predictable rhythm. And that’s what I’ve been up to.

It may not be what I do for the rest of my life. May be not even for the next ten years. But that’s fine. I know I’ll keep looking.