A reminder in these times..

In recent times, I have come across many people pondering over the current social concern. A common thought across minds is, “How do we do it? How do we come out the other end?”

Here is a little inspiration for the times we are in.

‘One day at a time’, by Lemn Sissay,

“How do you do it?” said night
“How do you wake up and shine?”
” I keep it simple.” said light
“One day at a time”

Excerpts from…Reader, Come home!!

Reader, Come home (2018) is a meditation on the future of reading in the age of digital revolution and diminishing attention spans. Authored by Maryanne Wolf, the John DiBiaggio Professor of citizenship and Public service at Tufts University and co-founder of Curious Learning: A Global Literacy Project, the book draws insight from latest neuroscientific research and unpacks the cultural and cognitive dimensions of a technological transformation that has reshaped our relationship with the written word. At the heart of her investigation is a question whose answer will determine how our societies will look in the future: What will reading mean to our children, a generation which has never known a world without Google, smartphone and e-books?

1) The days when the distinction between our digital lives and what used to be called IRL or “in real life” are long gone. Today, they’re two sides of the same coin. We upload our supposedly offline activities and talk about what we’ve seen and read online with our friends, colleagues and families. That, critics claim, is wreaking havoc across society. We’re sleeping less, being increasingly anxious, arguing more and – ultimately – losing touch with reality.
So are we looking down the barrel of total civilization collapse?

2)The human brain is a miraculous machine capable of all sorts of astounding feats. Some of that is innate: we’re born with genes that allow our bodies and minds to acquire certain natural abilities without needing to be taught them. Most people, for example, enter the world with an astounding ability to pick up language.

3) Reading is an entirely different matter. Unlike speaking, it isn’t hardwired into the brain. It is a cultural invention rather than an innate trait.

4) We’ve seen what our changing relationship with information and knowledge is doing to our ability to learn and read. Does that mean we should shun technology and revert to analog lifestyles?
Not really. A better bet is encouraging kids to become fully fleunt in both print and digital mediums just as bilingual children achieve fluency in two languages. After all, each medium has its own strengths. By learning to work with the unique strengths of both physical books and digital devices, children can develop a bilateral brain capable of making savvy and informed choices about what they consume both online and offline.

6) This last excerpt is the longest and my most favourite! Enjoy!
Title: Protecting our third life as readers preserves our ability to turn knowledge into wisdom.

In the Nicomachean ethics, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle identified the three “lives” of a good society: one devoted to knowledge and productivity, another to entertainment and the third to contemplation. That is a pretty good model for the lives of readers.
Like members of Aristotle’s ideal society, readers must balance their three lives if they wish to be their best selves. Here’s how it works. The first life is all about learning and gathering knowledge – think of looking something up on Google or in a dictionary. In the second mode, readers relish the things which entertain them like testing their wits as they follow with the deductions of a sleuth in a murder mystery or discovering fascinating historical facts. This is ultimately where we find an escape from the pressures of everyday life. Taken together, these two lives lead to the third: the life of contemplation. This is a deeply personal realm where we let the things we read- whatever genre they are – guide our thoughts about the world around us. Spending time in this third zone allows us to translate the knowledge and experience gained in our first and second lives into wisdom.
That is not something that will take care of itself – rather, we have to commit ourselves to this pursuit of wisdom. The third life is a delicate flower that needs to be carefully cultivated, and that takes time, patience and effort – all things in desperately short supply in our fast paced, digital world! It was this realization which led billionaire investor Warren Buffet to tell Bill Gates that he should leave plenty of free space in his calendar. After Gates credited him with this discovery, Buffet pulled a small calendar out of his pocket. “Time,” he said, “is the one thing no one can buy.”

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In this fast paced and ever changing world, reading is a dying hobby! Reading through the blinks of this book in the blinkist app made me realize how different my own interest in reading and the volume of my reading has slowly crumbled over the last few years!
In my journey of rediscovering life, I want to get back to my first love of reading and redisover my passion for reading in an altogether new manner. And this time around, I will let reading celebrate me!

I am leaving all you readers out there with this one quote to ponder over, for I know it is very true..
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

ONE DAY AT A TIME, FOR A LIFE TIME

In the mornings,

By the window,

With that special coffee,

The smile starts my day,

As love lights the moments!

Love that is kind and patient,

That stood the test of time,

Is the essence of our lives….

One day at a time, for a lifetime!

Life was passing me by,

Neither too fast nor too slow.

You walked into my life,

Pure joy to share always!

As we celebrate it every day,

Joy abounds in our lives….

One day at a time, for a lifetime!

There was turmoil,

At times, more than we could handle.

The restless and the sleepless nights,

The anxiety that never ceasse!

As we got on our knees,

And looked heaven-ward together,

Immense peace swept into our lives!

Peace unspeakable surrounds….

One day at a time, for a lifetime!

Together, moments and days pass,

I re-live the happy ones in your eyes!

It is pure bliss!

There were the troubled times too,

Where each moment too painful,

And the dark nights seemed endless!

Enduring together, we have come this far!

In love, we endure more….

One day at a time, for a lifetime!

Hand in hand, the journey goes on,

Seasons pass us by,

So do people, and more people!

Kindness and goodness,

We have shared and gained!

As the journey goes on,

In kindness and goodness we grow…

One day at a time, for a lifetime!

Through the triumphs and trials,

Through the victories and failures,

We write our testimony of faithfulness,

In the Author and the story!

As we walk along,

In faithfulness we rejoice….

One day at a time, for a lifetime!

As I write this, I think of you.

I have come to this place,

Where my heart is convinced,

In this unfolding story filled with,

Love, joy, peace, endurance,

Kindness, goodness, faithfulness….

One day at a time, for a lifetime!

Beautiful it shall be made,

One day at a time, for a lifetime!

Where did we go wrong?

Walking down the familiar road,

I notice a frail figure walking towards me,

The smile is captivating, the aging is unmistakable,

As I near, eyes blank and mind full of questions,

She held out a hand with no fingers,

Rubbed her shrunken belly,

It was the hunger of days and,

The tempting sight of the bun in my hand,

 

It makes me wonder,

Where did we go wrong?

 

Some slumber in cosy beds under warm roofs,

She slept under the starry sky,

The warmth and chill meaning the same!

The warm tea to awaken us,

The growling hunger never gave her peaceful sleep!

 

It makes me wonder,

Where did we go wrong?

 

The four walls and sheltered roof for us,

The open space and perhaps an old shawl for her,

A home is where the heart is,

The heart makes this home for her!

Is it privilege, or is it destiny?

 

It makes me wonder,

Where did we go wrong?

 

There is always more than meets the eye,

The question I have, has not one

But answers innumerable to speak of!

Can I say education lack kept her from earning?

Can I say age is her limiting factor?

Can I say it was culture to blame?

Maybe the drugs and the habits known as ugly!

 

I wondered longer than I knew,

Where did we go wrong?

 

We fall short of human compassion,

Everyone is held by their busyness,

To stop and ponder,

Can a roof over one’s head make a difference?

Can it be more than a simple bun to share?

 

 

I wondered, it was afterall,

Us falling short of humanness,

For longer than we realised!

That is where, all went wrong!

 

I wonder now,

Where do we start again?

 

At home, where the heart is,

Go the extra mile to show compassion,

Not just to aging parents,

Also to the spouse you disagree with on everything,

Your children will learn watching you,

Your neighbours will follow you!

 

I wonder now,

Once we start over again,

It will no longer be the bun alone,

It will move to roofs and meals,

It will move to redefine humanness!

Not tomorrow, or the day after,

Eventually, every small step,

Towards the direction in unity,

Will move mountains across generations!

 

I don’t wonder now,

I know one day, it will happen,

Seeing a homeless will not happen!

Every created soul will have a home to stay!

A home where their heart is!

 

This article is inspired after a brief conversation with my friend while walking across the shopping quadrant. A beautiful soul himself, it was a heart stirring conversation about the homeless people we encounter and our futile individual efforts to make a lasting difference. The problem of homelessness is multi factorial and it needs more than just provision of material. An attitude of the heart to make a lasting difference in the society begins with making small changes at home, where growing children and neighbors can watch and follow. The solution of beginning with compassion is, but, the most minuscule of answers to the problem of homelessness. It needs more than that but, maybe it is worth a start.

SIGNS…

As medical trainees and practicing doctors, we are familiar with the importance of identifying objective findings in cases to clinch the final diagnosis. Now, to simplify objective findings, is to say we listen to the patient symptoms and see the clinical signs, analyse the investigation results, deduce the final diagnosis and proceed to manage accordingly.

To quote William Osler, the renowned physician of the late 19th century, he said,  “There is no more difficult art to acquire than the art of observation, and for some men it is quite as difficult to record an observation in brief and plain language.” He also said, “The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.”

Medicine is replete with signs for innumerable conditions, ranging quite literally from –“The womb to the tomb.” And most of us, grey younger or grow bald faster or wrinkle earlier in the process of learning these signs and their implications. There are many that you see everyday in your patients and your heart does that somersault to let you know you clinched it, but there are a lot that you never get to see. They remain in your rot memory and fade away one day.

But today, what caught my was the serenity in the word “signs”. It did take me sometime to move away from “science” to ponder over “signs.”Amidst the green woods and the flowing stream, finding a sign saying “TRAIL” speaks a thousand words in my mind.

An anecdote I remember distinctly at this point, is one that I read not long ago, about a man called Gideon! I am not sure how many of you are aware of him, but he comes up in biblical reference as a wheat thresher. Apparently, he was saving food secretly in a time of severe oppression for his family when he encounters an angel and is chosen to fight for his nation against a mighty army of strong and chivalrous men! He just had to pick the weapons and fight..but he chose to confirm from the angelic being that it was indeed what he was seeing and hearing! Further, there is mention of him asking God directly for a sign to show he would be victorious in the battle! (I suggest you read the version yourselves for the joy of it. It is encouraging!) He asks for dew on the ground surrounding a dry shawl first. And than a wet shawl on dry ground. And so, he believes he is chosen to fight and win the battle, which he does.

This idea of relying on signs from the Almighty is prevalent since time immemorial. The Hindu mythology quotes innumerable instances of deities and demons relying on signs. The practice continues to be followed till date to rely on planetary positions and star alignments for performing rituals or for astrological purpose. The Persians cast lots to decide war and the outcomes! The Egyptians are known to have relied on astronomical signs as well. And so on.

Even Christopher Columbus relied on signs from people of the new culture he encountered during his voyage. To quote, “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.” And this as well, “The Indians on board said that thence to Cuba was a voyage in their canoes of a day and a half; these being small dug-outs without a sail. Such are their canoes. I departed thence for Cuba, for by the signs the Indians made of its greatness, and of its gold and pearls, I thought that it must be Cipango.”

As time passed, the early and extinct creatures left imprints of their fossils as a sign of their existence, adding to our anthropological knowledge. ‘The Early Man’, as we are taught in school, chose to leave signs and symbols engraved in his habitat to enlighten us today of what their life was and, look, how much we have changed!

Jane Goodall mentions, “Chimps can do all sorts of things we thought that only we could do – like tool-making and abstraction and generalisation. They can learn a language – sign language – and they can use the signs. But when you think of our intellects, even the brightest chimp looks like a very small child.”

And than the language of signs and symbols for those with special needs. Every region has a dialect of its own even in the special language and its not less than an art to learn and teach them.

In fact, our everyday life is so full of signs – there’s traffic signs, post office signs, metro signs, airport signs, restroom signs, restaurant signs, etc etc etc. Most significant today is the signs of changing climate! You live in the city and all the time there are signs telling you what to do and billboards trying to sell you something.

Would we able to function without signs in our everyday lives? I sit and imagine, how would it be to drive without knowing the traffic signs? Would i actually ask around for restrooms? Would we really know how much longer is the distance to the destination without that milestone sign?

Worth pondering isn’t it? Maybe, with that hot cup of chai in your hand and that furry creature cuddling by your feet, you would like to ponder, signs have survived the test of time and the evolved to more meaningful impressions. Words are but the signs of ideas.

And as I watch that ‘TRAIL’ sign in the picture, I am reminded, “No memory is ever alone; its at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails, that each have their own associations” – Louis L’Armour

                                                 Image result for quotes on trails

The 70’s batting…

IMG_7509

 

Meet Mr.NER..a jovial, starry eyed, elegantly graying, dignifiedly wrinkled, enthusiastic septagenarian!!

I have known him for four years and odd now, and he is definitely the redefined, new age elderly! His curiosity in everything intrigues me.

By profession he is a man with magic hands on machines, but his real talent is in the field of those furry, adorable creatures we so lovingly call “dogs”!!

Today we celebrated his 73rd birthday. And he remembers as if it were yesterday..

that flower power, dropping out, pirate radio, hot sex, progressive rock, hip fashion, free love..!! Yes.. been there and done that!

He also remembers as if yesterday..

that flower arranging, drooping out, saga radio, hot water bottles, progressive memory loss, and free bus passes!!

Well, well, well..time indeed flies !

Its a a fascinating journey..his life is full of mystery and drama and comedy and of course thrill!! He is sharing his life in an autobiography he is currently writing and i am looking forward to it!! Will surely share some exerpts from it!!

To simplify, Life is the best thing that happens to everybody and its best to live it up!!!!!!

Love and Life

The-Greatest-of-These-is-Love-Regardless

In joy and through the storms,

Amidst the laughter and the tears,

Close to your heart, Shall I live forever!!!!!

Thus, the magical journey of togetherness begins.The dawn lights their faces and the silence of dusk brings calm. Together they enjoy the meal and the serenity of lying close together in sleep. The wet towels on the couch, the strands of hair across the floor, the unkempt lawn, the piling dishes, that laundry that takes forever, and yet, they wait to run into each others arms as that long day ends. The fondness in their eyes and the silence that speaks. Forever shall they dwell in each others love!

Alas!!! This too shall pass and it did pass. For one into loneliness and the other in eternity. But, there is still a promise lingering. A hope of love.

For not in vain does God unite man and woman, but for holy matrimony into eternity. Love shall prevail in eternity! A love that trespasses all known love, a heavenly warmth, a childlike fondness and a hope in those eyes..!

In holy matrimony, in togetherness, and In love did they rediscover life….!!!

My favourite book quotes, “Love is patient and kind. It rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails!!!”

In Love there is life!