Thursday, December 31, 2009

I want

One of the things I struggle with is knowing what I want. Well, the truth is not that I don’t know. It’s being ok with wanting what I want. We grew up being taught that we should not really want. And often we could not have what we wanted. What was good for us would be given to us and God and our parents knew what was good for us. So, I am often afraid of wanting anything. I am afraid that I will make a mistake and it will not be good for me. I want only what please God (or so I thought) and my parents (which really is more so the case).

Even now there is a song in my head that we learnt for a musical when we were children. “The I wants”. It was a about a girl who was basically selfish and of course a brat. So the song is about how she’s got the I I I I I I wants, the me, myself and I I wants. And of course the poor girl needed to be saved.

So, basically having grown up being taught not to be selfish and therefore not to want to much I end up being an adult who cannot want something enough to go after it. I will let go. Whether it is ordering something I like or making a life decision.
Now I am learning to want again and to say what I want and not feel guilty about wanting it. So here’s my list again:

I want to see Europe.
I want to see snow and play in it.
I want to grow a herb garden.
I want to cook really great food.
I want to make kid toys and wall art for kids.
I want to take amazing pictures.
I want to learn western dance and dance really well.
I want to be thin so I can wear fashionable clothes.
I want to live in a beautiful place with beautiful trees and birds.
I want to make quilts.
I want a more modern home.
I want to not have to travel in horrible traffic to get to work.
I want my hair to grow back on the top of my head.
I want to visit Graceland.
I want to watch Mamma Mia on Broadway.
I want to have a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in my life.
I want to live in a cottage on a large area of land with dogs and a garden and hills in the distance.
I want to be in control of the situation and not have the situation control me.
I want to give my mother a holiday. I want her to be happy.
I want my name on a book.
I want peace.
I want to quit my job.
I want to be home more.
I want to find meaning in life.
I want to grow vegetables and herbs.
I want to go to Timbaktu collective and work with them.

Lessons from 2009

J asked me to put down some affirmative thoughts as I got them. Here are some:

  • Making mistakes does not mean you are a mistake. It's one small error. Not a reflection on who you are and what you are capable of.
  • There is no reason for you to be sad. When things are normal feel normal and save the sadness for when it is warranted.
  • It's ok if some people don't like you. You don't like everybody.
  • Some people are easier to like than others.
  • You are entitled to happiness, love and peace.
  • You don't need to take anybody's bullshit!
  • It's ok for you to want!
  • You don't have to do anything you don't want to do.
  • If someone behaves like a jerk they are the assholes. You need not feel bad about yourself. Pity them!
  • You're always going to have to deal with assholes. Quitting won't help. Stand up and fight.
  • Nobody can make you feel something you don't want to feel.
  • At the core of who I am is a teacher. The concerns of children are important to me. The more I reflect on my life the more I realize that a certain facilitation is necessary for children to grow into certain kinds of individuals. Children should be given that chance.
  • You have no reason to fear anything. No one can take anything away from you if you don't let them.
  • If you are free, can walk, talk, see, laugh, cry, feel; if you have a home, and work, and a working mind. If you have people who love you, and people you love - friends, family, you have a good life. Be happy!
  • No on can make you feel something about yourself that you don't believe to be true. You need to be sure of yourself. Others opinions are theirs - they don't need to become yours.
  • Once you begin to look at the positive - you realize that you can!
  • It only matters what you think about yourself. Not what others think.
  • Don't send out mixed feelings to the universe. It won't know what to give you. Send out positive and clear messages.
  • You can't change the past. Don't sulk about it. It's a waste of time.
  • Worry about the things you can control. Don't about things you can't. (lesson from Sanjay)

2009... there it goes.

So much has changed this year! Sometimes even I don't recognize myself.

My 29th year has been really difficult I think. It seems that the past 3 or 4 or 6 years kind of took their toll on me. Lot of new things happening also. I am working at a place that is so new to me - the people, the work... everything has been really intimidating and very hard to deal with.

This year, even though I have felt like I was crumbling, like I could not go on, I might have gotten stronger. I think I chose to face my struggles. To analyze them and see what was really bothering me. And I think I have also consciously made decisions to deal with my issues. To make changes. To make new beginnings. I guess all is not lost after all.

  • I decided this year that I would stop living my life to find acceptance from other people. Now I need to accept myself. :)

  • I'm learning to not be afraid. To face my fears.

  • I'm learning to love myself and accept myself.

  • I'm learning that sometimes you need to rebel.

  • I've learned that the so called sophisticated, rich, famous people are at the end of the day, just people. They need love and often, a free meal.

  • The things I do don't define my worth. No human being should be valued by what they have, or what they have done. Every human being should be valued for who they are. No matter how great an artist you are, if you treal other people badly, you're an asshole and deserve no respect.

  • Truth, love, family and friends are most important.

Church and Friends

I don't know if I will ever go back to my old church. I miss the people there. I also realize that many of my friendships are centered there so not going to church does reduce the strength of some ties. That's the thing though. If something external is what makes us friends, were we really friends at all? If you don't love me for who I am and so want to be my friend, then should I consider you my friend really?

So lets see. Through this ordeal, I will know I think who my real friends are.

It's so weird to be in this place right now. I am not sure of anything anymore.

Not going to Church

December 31, 2009

Another year. Last year I did not go to church for the watch night service. I'm not going tonight. And I don't think I will go tomorrow either. Why? Well... it's been like that this year. I have not been going to church since April 2009. This is a HUGE thing for me. I have always attended, always been active, taught Sunday School, been the person people could rely on for a skit, church decorations, any program. And now, that part of my life is missing.

I was seriously disillusioned with my church... with the people in the church. I found it terribly difficult to deal with how people took sides and were willing to take sides with someone who was obviously not right for their own interests. Sure, I may be a little hot blooded on this, but then, if someone is wrong, someone is wrong. There are times when we can't be wishy washy about things. We need to stand up for what we believe is right. It was a horrible time. I saw people I had grown up with, respected, and loved use "Christianity" and the words of our religion to meet their own needs. Political battles being fought with spiritual terminology. God and the Bible used as weapons for personal agendas. It was HORRIBLE.

And so I left. Disappointed and cynical. This was the last straw it seems.

I also left because I felt I had got it all wrong. When I was a child I went because my parents made me. Then I went because I was growing up and my friends were in church and possibly some love interests as well. Then it became a habit. Sure, through all this I have found God and felt like I've lost Him as well in my church. The past few years I have been teaching Sunday School. And last year (2008) I realized that my resources had all been used up! "That's because we don't take the time to feed ourselves" someone told me. It's true. Still, I think its a little more than that.

I have finally decided to be honest with myself. I have my doubts about Christianity. I admit I don't understand what some of the stuff means! I don't get the Trinity. And I don't understand fully human and fully man. And I just don't get why Christianity is so connected with words and knowing and so intellectual even? How do regular people get it if all so complicated?

Why, in all my years of being a Christian have I always felt like a worm? Why, when I pray I feel helpless? Why is it so damn difficult to be a Christian? Where is all the joy and the peace that Jesus promised? Why am I still anxious? And really, is it supposed to be so much work?

I've realized that I need to find Jesus outside of all the cushioning of the church. Out in the desert as it were. And this is the real world. The real desert. Life is so damn difficult, if Jesus does not make sense to me here, or if He is not real here, then there's no point.

I'm tired of the words. Really. I can't bear to hear the same stuff over and over again and have it not mean anything to me! How is the world am I supposed to share this with anyone else?

So, no church. And I'm trying to find God in the wilderness.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eco-friendly land you can buy!

I found this today - Project Jacaranda. Its a project where people can buy and develop eco-friendly property in Kodai. It seems quit cool but will need further investigation. It's a great idea though.

Urban Sustainable Living

I came across Patti Moreno and her gardengirltv.com when I was working at a communications company. She's brilliant. In the middle of New York City she grows her own food! She's worked out how homes can be sustainable even in an urban context!

You must check her out.

I guess, Another world is possible!

Is another world possible?

I have been thinking that I really don't want to live the urban life as it is now. I don't want to have to spend 3 hours in traffic everyday to get to work and back. I don't want to have to work primarily so I can pay for the auto, the gym, the house, and food. I don't want to have to run the rat race and get better at certain skills just so I can get ahead in this world we have created. I am not that kind of person and I don't want to be.

I want to actually LIVE life, not live from weekend to weekend. I'm going to be 30 next year and as far as I can tell, that's half my life done! And I must say I'm not terribly satisfied with the life I've lived so far. Sure there are many things to be grateful for - family, home, marriage, friends, but there's still so much missing. And I feel that if I keep going on the path I'm going I will end up regretting most of my life.

Somethings got to change! I need to find another way of living. Can I do this in the city? I don't know. Right now all I can think of wanting to do is be home more, grow a herb garden, do something creative with my hands - like my sewing, or cooking. I want to meet friends and family who I have had no time to meet in so long. I want not to be consumed by my job or my workplace. I want to not have to engage with the assholes of the world and waste my time being depressed about them.

I want to live a life that has more quality. And for me that means family, friends, generosity, love, peace, security, laughter, and being human.

I need to find another way to live this life. I cannot do it like the masses. I cannot deal with that. There's got to be another way. Got to be another world.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Search for Meaning



I've just finished reading Victor E. Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning. Dr. Frankly was Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School.He survived the Holocaust and was at Auschwitz, Dachau, and other concentration camps.

In his book he talks about how a person can still find meaning and a will to live even in the most desolate of conditions. Not everybody can do it but everybody has the opportunity to.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Give God Glory?

What does it means to give God the glory? Is it something that one needs to "feel"/ "experience" by oneself, something that cannot be explained and one can only know when it somehow happens... when the Spirit moves maybe? Or is there anything else to it?

In most cases when I have heard people talking about giving God glory it often entails singing. Now for the musically gifted I am sure this is amazing. But for those of us who are not, who are therefore subtely coerced by church tradition to somehow experience God through music and give glory, worship and so on, it becomes a little difficult.

Then ofcourse we pray saying "Lord this is for your glory"... or "Let this bring glory to your name"... what does that really mean? I am finding it increasingly difficult to figure.

I feel now that I really need to find Jesus in the raw. Go after him with clenched fist and biting teeth and say "show me who you are ... I don't know!!!!!" Hound him... reverse the roles in the hound of heaven poem and go after God!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Managing Stage at Vision 2020

Wrote this for the Vision 2020 brochure Script Peoples Theatre brought out this year.

If you thought you could figure out what stage management is from a book or a website… ahem! Think again. You could of course read the many manuals, how-to-guides, dos and don’ts available, but unless you took the course in Stage Management (at the Yale School of Drama, or some other such bastion of erudition, (I’m guessing), you’re in for a big surprise!

A stage manager needs to manage all technical aspects of a production, and the people involved in it. Now, managing the technical side is easy. A couple of excel sheets, some basic organizational skills, a phone that can save an additional 100 numbers and you’re set. But people… ah! There in lies a stage manager’s true worth.

Vision 2020 productions normally have a cast anywhere between 75 to 100 college students and working folk, and not all of them are jumping for joy to be part of the rigorous rehearsal schedule the production demands. Getting out of bed to be at rehearsals at 6:30am, or rushing back from class for the 4:30 session does not always appeal. Working people and college students don’t have that kind of time on their hands. If the former are busy putting food on the table, the latter are busy testing out the many stages the college offers for stardom.

Still, after many phone calls, invitations through some theatre enthusiasts, some cajoling from the staff at TIE, they come. Some take the process very seriously, and some are there for the ride. Either way, it’s the stage manager’s job to see that everyone is happy and getting what they are looking for, as much as humanly possible. Names, faces, temperaments, likes and dislikes, abilities and challenges, the stage manager must make mental notes on each cast member, and file it neatly for retrieval when the time calls for it. And the time will come.

One person decides the role they are playing this year is not as important as the one they did last year. Another person believes that bagging a lead role means they are indispensable. Still another simply lives in another time zone and geographic location – at least in his/ her head. People decided to take walks, take a lunch break, have tea, and even go home just before their scene is going to be rehearsed. What does one do?

Have a chat with the actor who believes he should be the star of the production. Give him another responsibility and make him feel important without bringing him centre stage. Drop the star for a day or two, bring in some competition, he’ll be at rehearsal a half hourly the next day. And for the spaced-out ones, well patience is the key, and some gentle reminders… every three hours if necessary! The others, well a firm voice and a few threats sometimes works. If not, you’ll have to find your own magic potion to save the day.

As much as the stage manager may seem the taskmaster, he or she will also need to play nurse, friend, agony aunt, advisor and motivator. Actors, taken up by their characters, can often bang their heads on the stage floor while grieving, or knock the lights out of another actor in a fight scene. A stage manager needs to have ice, a first aid kit, and common sense. All injuries don’t need hospitalization, so treat them in-house. On the other hand, some actors are more delicate than others and they may require special attention.

One can’t always boss the cast around. They will simply stop listening. Theatre is about building relationships, and the stage manger must be friends with the cast, listen to sob stories if need be, share pearls of wisdom now and then, and get people to keep going when they don’t feel like it. She also needs to check if the cast is eating right, sleeping well, and getting enough exercise, and in the case of V2020, keeping their grades up in class.

As production work begins the stage manger needs to be able to pre-empt mishaps, and trouble shoot on her toes. I believe a good stage manager is one step ahead of the director (though he may not be aware of it), and should not leave room for the director to ask for something. If he does, it should already be done.

Additional responsibilities of the stage manger at V2020 are publicity and bringing the audience in for two of the performances. Filling 2000 seats is not easy and one must doggedly invite people and push the press for coverage. Of course, the good thing about V2020 is that one receives a lot of support from the staff and the students. So one needn’t conjure up images of the lone SM putting up posters across town. You really do have a 100 PR people at your disposal!

On the day of the performance, the stage manager must stay extremely calm, at least on the outside, and ensure that everyone is in place for their scenes, costumes are on right, sets and props are in place, makeup done, and cues answered. At the end, it is the satisfaction of a smoothly run performance, a content cast, and a happy audience that make the SM’s toil and sweat worth the while.

Greed and Entitlement

At lunch a colleague was talking about her recent trip home. She met a chief marketing manager or something of that sort of a large corporate company over dinner. The woman talked about how fantastic her company was and how they had to “wipe out” smaller distributors, and glorified their strategy to take over the market. As difficult as this was to work through the woman went on to talk about how when people encroached on land that her family owned, she and her mother went down one night and burned the houses down!

I gasped. And since then have not been able to stomach this. Burned the houses of people who encroached on your land? Like you don’t have enough money and power to reclaim your land through the law? Burn it down yourself? You and your mother? It’s absurd? And she obviously felt no remorse and was talking about it at a dinner party and everyone there didn’t object either! Sure we know these things happen but it’s still horrifying!

How does one deal with something like this? While it isn’t surprising, how do we deal with the blatant insensitivity, selfishness, and greed?

One-line verses

The trouble with learning memory verses I think is that we cling to a line in the Bible while we have no clue what the context of that line is. For the past few weeks I have been reminded of “None of you should think more highly of yourself than you ought” Romans 11. I blamed this verse (among others) for my insecurity and feeling insignificant. However, if one looks at the rest of the passage it’s about something else. Even with years of Sunday school and church and seminary even, I kept thinking that this verse aided my low self-esteem. We are not told to learn and understand entire passages of the Bible; in fact, entire books would make more sense really. How can anyone meditate on one paragraph of a letter? How would you know what the writer is talking about if you only read 14 lines? We can’t break up the books of the Bible and study only chapters. We need to see the chapters in the light of the larger book, and indeed in the light of the larger Book itself!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Finding Jesus

I wrote to my professor a couple of days ago. I told him how I was struggling with my faith and life. How I didn’t know how to live with Jesus, or without Him. How I was exhausted and couldn’t feel God near most of the time. I also told him that I blame myself because I have not read the Bible regularly or prayed. And now, because
I find it really difficult to be in Church, I don’t go either. I said I had come to the point where I can’t pretend to be a good Christian anymore. The church I go to does not work for me. The regular ways of worship and prayer and living a “Christian life” does not work for me.

My professor wrote back. Life with Christ is a mystery he said. He shared some of his own struggles and said that what has helped him is to mediate on Grace and stop worrying about what we are doing for God but concentrate on what He has done for us.
We do place a lot of emphasis on works - on what we must do for God. On reading the Bible, praying and attending church. But we miss out on enjoying God in our lives. Then Christianity becomes a burden, when in truth, it should set us free.

So how does one meditate on the Grace of God? I am quite note sure really. My prof drew my attention to a couple of hymns. I guess that’s a start. I guess one could also consciously thank God. And one could read a little more about it. I don’t know. This is going to be an exploration for me.

I want to find out who God really is… in the “raw” so to speak. Who is this Jesus? Really who is he?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roz Savage

My husband sent me a link about Roz Savage – an ocean rower who has rowed the Atlantic Ocean and is currently on the Pacific, rowing for the environment. Savage didn’t always use the water as her mode of transportation. She took the London Tube, and lived in a nice house with her husband, worked as a management consultant, and drove a “little red sports car”. At 33 she wrote two obituaries of herself – one for the life she lived and the other for the one she wanted to live. Then she decided to make the latter be the one that gets printed in the local newspaper.

She’s out there somewhere on the Pacific Ocean doing her thing. And you can track her on her website rozsavage.com.

Interestingly, last night I told my husband I was “sinking.” I am not exactly sure in what, or why, but I guess it comes from a deep frustration of not living life to the full. Of compromising, adjusting, being safe and living dull. This is not a new feeling for me but it has got worse over the past year. I’m turning 30 next year y’see, and I feel like a complete failure. What the hell am I doing with myself? Where did all the big possibilities go? What happened to my moments of greatness? Have I lost it forever?

Turning 30 has made me feel like half my life is over and there really is nothing much I can do with it now. If I wanted to be great at anything I should have started earlier. I play the blame game and hold everyone else responsible for what I’m missing. Ditching this idea I think will have to be my first step.
Then I have to believe that life does not end at 30, that if you really want to do something you can, if you work hard enough, hold fast enough, fall hard enough, and get back up enough.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Crossroads

Don Mclean's Crossroads.

I've got nothing on my mind: nothing to remember,
Nothing to forget. and I've got nothing to regret,
But I'm all tied up on the inside,
No one knows quite what I've got;
And I know that on the outside
What I used to be, I'm not anymore.

You know I've heard about people like me,
But I never made the connection.
They walk one road to set them free
And find they've gone the wrong direction.

But there�s no need for turning back
`cause all roads lead to where I stand.
And I believe I'll walk them all
No matter what I may have planned.

Can you remember who I was? can you still feel it?
Can you find my pain? can you heal it?
Then lay your hands upon me now
And cast this darkness from my soul.
You alone can light my way.
You alone can make me whole once again.

We�ve walked both sides of every street
Through all kinds of windy weather.
But that was never our defeat
As long as we could walk together.

So there's no need for turning back
`cause all roads lead to where we stand.
And I believe we'll walk them all
No matter what we may have planned.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

To do

I found a really cool site today: infochangeindia.org and a microsite infochangeindia.org/kidsforchange.
They have a do-it-yourself section and I love the one on building your own bird bath. I have been wanting to make one at home. It’s been on my list along with a composte bin, plants for the balcony, and a herb garden. I really must get down to doing these things!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I wish

I wish I could paint across a large, white canvas in bright colors.
I wish I could run on the beach at sunset.
I wish I could stand on a mountain top under a clear blue sky.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sewing

Gotten back to sewing now. Bought some fabric. Handloom at this point. I need to explore more fabric and see what’s in the market.

Made this for my nephew who turned one recently.



Strangley after I hand sewed this one, my mom bought an electrical sewing machine! But I'm glad it's there. I have to get on my next project soon.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Shift

I realized today that I give work too much importance. I am too involved.

I need to step back. Work isn't everything. I need to figure out what is important to me and invest more in that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dream

My friend, on his gmail status, says "If you don't have a dream...how the hell is it going to come true!"

The worst thing that can happen to someone is that they stop dreaming. And that happens to a lot of people.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Someone watching over me...

I joined up with a health club - Fitness First. I love it!

The day before I joined I sat outside waiting for my husband to arrive. Looking up at the glass window with the many cycles stacked along it, people going in and out carrying their blue bags and fancy shoes, I was not sure what to make of this move in my life. Snazzy health club? Me?

Hmm... an hour later I signed up and was on the cross trainer the day after that. Easy shift.

I'm glad I made the shift though. I enjoy it and it feels like I'm doing something with my life. Like I'm growing up somehow. Feels good.

This morning I went in at 6:30am. The night befor I asked God to help me out with this whole thing. I have started other programmes to loose weight but still am overweight. I asked Him to help me wake up in the morning, to get a decent auto driver to take me there, and another one to take me from the gym to work. I asked that I would enjoy the morning and my session. I did. And both auto drivers were nice.

As I walked down to work, after picking up some cornflakes for breakfast from a nearby grocery store, a song came back to me. A song from Sunday School.

I know there's someone looking over,
Someone watching over me.

I know there's someone looking after,
Someone watching over me.

I know there's someone looking over,
Just above my shoulder,
Someone looking after,
Lifting me with laughter,
Someone looking over,
Someone watching over me.

Then you sing - I know there's Jesus looking over...

I may have goofed on the words a bit but it's something like this.

I have not felt that someone was watching over me for a long time now. I was grateful that I realised it today.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Climbing the Mountain

Sometime in October 2008

My quest for meaning is still on. Over the past few weeks I have been plagued with questions I have asked myself ever since I was eleven – what is life about? Why am I here? What should I do with myself? Where do I go? Is there meaning to our existence?

The questions are not new. But each seeker is. We each will need to find our own answers I suppose – like those who have before. Philosophers, artists, government servants, homemakers, astronauts – I guess everybody asks the question. So my depression at this point is really nothing out of the ordinary. My complete lack of will to wake up in the morning, take the bus to work, work, and return, eat, sleep… is not peculiar to my condition. It has been and is a part of most people’s lives whether they know it or not.

Now...


I wrote this at a time when I had just joined work and was also reading Arthur Schopenhauer in Alain de Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy. That was the fourth chapter in the book and it really pulled me down. I couldn’t understand how this man could be so pessimistic and yet not kill himself! For four days I walked about in deep despair unable to find hope or a reason to smile. Thankfully I went on to the fifth chapter of the book which was about Friedrich Nietzsche – ‘Consolation for Difficulties’. I must say Nietzsche saved me from turning into the brooding old man Schopenhauer was! (I might have even begun to look like him if I were not careful).

I have a tendency to want the prize without running the race! I dream of great achievements but I never consider the path that will take me there. In fact I don’t even get on it! I crib and whine and blame everyone else for not getting what I want when the only person who stands in the way is me.

Nietzsche said, “Examine the lives of the best and most fruitful people and peoples and ask yourself whether a tree that is supposed to grow to a proud height can dispense with bad weather and storms; whether misfortune and external resistance, some kinds of hatred, jealousy, stubbornness, mistrust, hardness, avarice, and violence do not belong among the favourable conditions without which any great growth even of virtue is scarcely possible.”

Botton says, “…no one is able to produce a great work of art without experience, nor achieve a worldly position immediately, nor be a great lover at the first attempt; and in the interval between who we wish one day to be and who are at present, must come pain, anxiety, envy and humiliation. We suffer because we cannot spontaneously master the ingredients of fulfillment.”

We must all climb our mountain, on all fours sometimes, but we must get to the top. Only then can we see, touch, and feel the beauty of the peak.