Life reflections

In their own world

Little Things
“Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.
Thus the little minutes,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.”
By Julia Carney


We take a walk almost every evening. Fortunately, we live in a place where there is no pollution and there are many trees around us. Fresh air, breeze from the sea in the distance, the setting sun and the birds returning home after a busy day add beauty to our walk. Along with these things it is fascinating to look at people: each different from the other, and yet there is a sameness too.
Continuing our walk, we go past people who are there to take their evening exercise; but they also enjoy exchanging news with their friends. We hear snippets of conversation which leave me wondering about their lives. Two persons are in their own world expressing their grievances against someone, and about the world in general. Politics is a favourite topic for many. Each one has an opinion about the governance of the country. It is amusing to hear their opinions about politicians. In general these people think politicians are worthless persons.

Once I saw a person walking at break-neck speed, head bent. He was looking neither to the left nor to the right. Does he ever notice the sky, the birds, the trees or the little wild flowers? Walking is a good exercise no doubt but noticing the world around would be good for the mind too. I wonder if he takes these for granted as they are always there. But each day is different, each sunset unique and beautiful in its own way. Looking at the person mentioned above, I thought of people who plug their ears and listen to music. They are in their own world. I am baffled by this. There is so much music in nature that is shut out. Every morning we can hear birds calling out to each other. These are joyous sounds, telling us about life around us. Why would anyone not want to hear them?

One evening while driving back home, we were fortunately not absorbed in our own world. It was twilight. We were nearing home when my husband suddenly stopped the car. We saw a python slowly crossing the road. It was in its own world, unaware of how close it had been to being crushed under the wheels of our car.


As people grow older, the world inside becomes more real than the one outside. Although our health is in our own hands, luck plays a major role in our remaining mentally and physically healthy till the end. On a dark note, I remember my father in the last months of his life. He lay in bed and hardly talked. He had withdrawn into his own mind. He could not communicate with us because speech had abandoned him. But my mother kept talking, hoping that she could reach him. Sometimes she did, and that made her very happy. It is our wont to take things for granted in life. We understand their value only when we lose them.




Over the years I have admired many people and they have influenced me in some way or the other. They may not be around but are a part of my life. But, somehow I have never been able to ‘hero-worship’ anyone. What is it that makes a person eligible for being hero-worshipped? I don’t think there is any definite answer.

I have seen at close quarters students almost worshipping their teachers. There is so much respect, love and admiration. When I see this there is a feeling of humbleness and wonder. To inspire such feelings there must be goodness, knowledge and humility and so much more in the person. It is not that such people are perfect, everyone has plus and minus points and those minus points don’t really matter. Just imagine a perfect person !!! Life would be very difficult for such people. When I think about hero-worship I remember what happened a few months ago. My grandfather had been the Headmaster of a Government High School in a small town in the northern part of our state. He lived there for more than forty years. He had been a very good teacher of English and Maths. He was also a very strict and just disciplinarian. But it seems most of his students felt it an honour to have been guided by him. My grandfather passed away in 1980. Early this year my father and I met an old student from that Government High School. Upon learning who my father was, he said with great pride that he had been my grandfather’s student. It was a nice moment.

These are the people who keep trust, who keep faith.

But what happens when people whom we believe and admire break trust? Such people may be a part of our daily life or they may leaders; religious, social or political. There must be feelings of disbelief and shock and disgust, the slow seeping in of anger and sadness. There would be this belief of never being able to trust anyone in the future. But human nature is strange and unexplainable. Many a times, in spite of everything, people continue to hero-worship, they continue to believe, firmly convinced that those who think otherwise are biased and strong.

Strange indeed are the workings of the human mind !!



Being Connected

It is very nice and interesting to listen to my father-in-law talk about the days gone by, in his village, where he has lived all his life. He is 90 now. Those were the days of large families. Religious functions were times not only of prayers and rituals but also for family members and relatives to gather and stay connected. Those were the days when there was neither the telephone nor the television. People had to meet in person. Letter writing was also a very important means of communication. Till about fifteen years ago, my father-in-law used to write regularly to all his relatives. They loved his letters as they gave them news about so many things. He received replies from all of them. He was so ‘connected’.

My grandfather also loved to write to all his near and dear ones. After retiring as Headmaster of the school in the small town in the northern part of our state, he lived either with us or with my father’s elder brother. I remember his nephew writing regularly from his native place, giving news about all other relatives and other daily happenings. When my grandfather was away from us, he used to write regularly and it was a joy to reply. He had been an English and Maths teacher. If we made any mistakes in grammar or spelling he would write about it to us. Due to him we developed our love for reading and writing. Every time he went to his native place, he would visit all his relatives, we too did that during our stay with my maternal grandparents all summer vacations. It was fun being connected.

Sometimes I feel in these days of better means of transport, we have no time to visit our relatives. We just meet for a short while at some social or religious function.

‘Being connected’ has taken on a different connotation. The internet and mobile phones have opened a whole new world to us. The Facebook and other social media network have made it possible to connect with so many of our relatives, living in different parts of the country and the world. Being connected in this way is so much better than not knowing each other at all. We do not meet as strangers. Then blogging has brought me into contact with kindred spirits from different parts of the world. I am really thankful about it. Sitting at home, the whole wide world has come to me.

But sometimes ‘being connected’ goes to a different extreme. It is sadly funny to see people so busy being connected with people far away that those who are in the room, in front of them become nonentities, part of the background. Physical presence no longer means ‘being connected’. The urge to be ‘connected’ at all times has become an addiction. It is sad if we reach a stage where we are controlled by such addictions. I read about digiholics in today’s newspaper !!

It is nice to be connected but nicer to be ‘unconnected’ whenever I want to be so. There is this beautiful place by the hill side, where we sit and watch the river and the sea. It is like being in a different world, a world to ourselves, sitting quietly, enjoying the sea breeze and watching the sunset.

My father-in-law always says with wonder that back then no would have imagined in their wildest dreams that life would change so much. It is true, it has.



( This photo is of River Swarna which we can see from our place. It connects people and places on its course and flows on to the sea. )