‘You look beautiful, I said with the flower arrangement. It is nothing special, but I liked it a lot. I kept looking at it for a while.
Marigold at the center smiled and was feeling awkward. I could see it blush, and the flowers around started looking elsewhere.
I asked, “What?” with a smile. “Don’t stare at us like that; it’s embarrassing.” “I have somehow fallen in love. How can you be so beautiful” I asked.
One of the naughty ones among them said, “It’s in your looks, not in us that makes us beautiful. It’s your mental state and calmness which make you fall in love. We look important to you because of your focus and priority. There is nothing in us. Now, will you stop staring, please? It’s uncomfortable, and she blushed, and they all laughed”. I looked at the window.
Marigold, the queen, said, “I disapprove of her tone, but Yes, she is right. Beauty and love is always a personal affair. The person who is falling in love or appreciating the beauty is defining it. And that is only possible when you give the entity attention and priority over zillion other things in your mind. When you focus on a prioritized entity, you calm your mind, and that is enough to fall in love or appreciate beauty.”
“But you are beautiful, can anybody deny,” I protested. “Do you know how many times you have stamped on me and squeezed me to death? How many times you have split me apart to pieces to guess if another loved one of you loves you or not. You have thrown me, stamped on me, squeezed me, and tore me apart. Was I not beautiful then? I was, but I was not your priority then. Now, as you are in your best mental state, you appreciate me and declare your love for me”. Marigold said.
My head dropped with shame for the acts she counted me to pain her.
The naughty one said, “Don’t feel too guilty about it. That is life. Poeple who love you will tear you apart and again they will hold you together. Just realize, this world is beautiful. Full of lovely creatures. They all have a lot to offer. They all care for you. Their love for you is undeterred. Just become a responsible one and keep yourself calm. Be at peace. Love yourself to be able to keep calm. And calm yourself to be able to love”.
I acknowledged. I understood love is always one-sided. And you love your loved ones because you prioritize them and give them undivided attention.
The notification alert sound kept playing even before my alarm. I woke up to see my phone is flooded with Facebook alerts. Several thousand likes and comments from known and unknown. I was wondering what did I do to get such a response as I had not posted any for the past several days. Social media has been a menace nowadays. Not being there feels you are not social and being there makes you a zombie. So after a deep thought decided to remain unsocial than being a zombie. So was about to delete my accounts but then thought let me bring some self-restraint.
Anyway, at this time it was necessary to figure out what happen and was there any damage done.
I went to my posts to find a story published by me just an hour back. I wondered, “How is it possible?”. “Did kids post something in my account?”
I read the comments stating, “nicely put”, “what a thrilling story”, “I never heard about its guy, he is awesome”. “I found my inspiration”, “Nice job” etc. All appreciations about the post.
My social media accounts are treated as family accounts and my phone is a family phone. And it’s not today, during my hostel days, my room was more crowded than the common room. Anyway, it’s 4:00 AM and who would post so late in the night. I started reading the post. I was shocked to read the post. I felt chills all over my body. My hand started trembling and my throat dried. I could not believe what I read.
I sat on my bed to read, re-read and see all details regarding the post. It was my account, posted directly from my phone unlike my usual device, computer or laptop, It has the time stamp of 3 AM.
It was the dream that I just finished watching before I was woken up by notification sounds. It’s exactly the same dream with beautiful words explaining the best way possible. It also has a picture of what I saw in my dream. It’s written so nicely that I became a fan of my post and tapped on like.
Then I saw a comment from me in the comments section. It read “Not sure how it got posted, this is the same story I saw in my dream”.
“What??!!”, I just thought about it now and it went to the comments section, right at that moment? What’s going on? I switched off my phone as I was scared to death.
I took a deep breath and then tried to do breathing exercises to calm myself down and understand what the hell going on. My hands were trembling still. I could not dare to start my phone as I felt something strange with my phone.
But could not resist turning it on again and read the posts. I was thinking how dangerous would it be if I think about any secret that I have never shared with anybody. My wandering mind took me to a childhood incidence that I have never shared with my family and friends and quickly I was made aware of the fact that Facebook can read my mind. But in no time I found that posted on Facebook and my sister calling me, “Did you really mean to post that? Since childhood, I thought it was my fault to blame you and you behave all your life that it was true. Do you know how many sleepless nights I spent due to this guilt? How could you hide from me for so long”, Before even she finished it posted a comment tagging my sister, I know I gave you many sleepless nights due to this guilt. I am sorry.
She said, “Are you listening or busy on Facebook. You are incorrigible”, and hung up the phone. There was drama going on every where due to my thoughts being broadcasted. I realize it kept posting even when I switched off the phone. The only option I had is to switch off my thoughts. I started meditation. After a while, I felt at peace.
Tried to forget about it and follow my daily routine and at 10:20 AM started my laptop to start my day with a 10:30 AM meeting. I could not resist opening the Facebook page to see my thoughts since then till 6 AM were being posted on Facebook even if my phone is off. I was dumbfounded by this and could not think of what to do.
Started searching customer support for Facebook and found their email address. I opened my mailbox to write an email to them about it as I was not in a condition to speak.
I found there is already an email from Facebook.
Inadvertently we turned on a feature that was under testing and that caused your thoughts to get posted automatically into Facebook. We realized that in 3 hours and immediately turned it off.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience it might have caused you. Please find Rs 399 credit in your Facebook ad account as a gesture of appreciation for your understanding.
This is an attempt to help people with disabilities and lack typing skills to post their thoughts by just thinking about them. It is to help ensure all are included following the inclusion and diversity principle that we believe.
Also, feel free to write to us about your feedback on this new feature we are planning to launch in the year 2022. If you want to continue with this feature please write to us.
Your Facebook Team”
I was so relieved to know that they had turned off that feature post 6:00 AM but wondered how they could read my thoughts and my dreams. Is this going to be a new reality? Our privacy is no longer limited to physical privacy but mental privacy.
Whether you call it a bug or feature, it exposed a truth about the human mind and human behavior. We think beautifully but do not know how to express our thoughts. The day we learn to express and express in a timely manner we will find life will be much beautiful.
The hustle-bustle of the mall looks fantastic after a year long lockdown due to the pandemic. The crowd and noise that was irritating earlier now feel good. Feels good that we are back to normal. Three kids passed running on the floor, caring little about the crowd. They looked so happy. They were going up and down through the escalators, talking to strangers, and finally stopped near an ice-cream stall. Suddenly my attention went to the lady in a black dress standing at the stall.
She looked familiar. The way kids were speaking with her, it felt they are related to this lady. I was trying to churn my memory sack to find out how I know her.
My iconic memory of remembering people was laughing at my attempts loudly, but I did not give up this time. I kept rummaging through the memory lane to find a clue.
“Yesss, I know her,” I shouted. People around me looked at me with surprise. My wife was inside a cosmetic store, and I was sitting outside as it was crowded, and I found a place to sit outside. I looked at her; she was busy selecting the nail polish shade and occasionally showed me to get an affirmation which one will look better.
I recalled, she is Kavita from my 11th standard Physics Tuition class. I saw her after almost 3 decades. She used to sit next to me in the front row. It was Vinod Sir’s Tuition. We both used to compete to be recognized as the best student in the tuition. She attempted to speak with me on several occasions, but I was the shy one who used to respond through nods and gestures and hardly spoke. She used to wish me every day and compliment my answers in class. She became my reason to come on time to the class. I made all attempts to get noticed by her but never dared to speak with her.
If I remember anything from that entire year, it would be waiting to get noticed by her and make at least one eye contact.
Her father moved out of the town, and I never saw her after my 11th. But one incident during that period kept this afresh in my memory even after 3 decades.
It was my birthday, and I wore a new shirt to the tuition class that my mother bought for me. It was light pink. That day we had an evening class. We went to the tuition around 5 in the evening. All my friends made fun of my shirt color as they found it girlish. I was a little upset with that and tried to hide the entire class so that Kavita doesn’t notice me and laugh at me. For that day only I sat in the last row with some of my friends. I saw she was there at the front bench and felt like she was looking for me. I continued to stay hidden from her world. As soon as the class got over, I went out to get my cycle out and go home before she comes out. But my cycle was stuck among others. It took me some time to get that out, and by then, she was out. I hid beside my cycle, but then I heard Vinod sir calling my name. I had no other option to come out. Sir said Kavita’s father is unable to come today to pick her up. Her house is on the way to my house if I can take her along.
I was not able to believe what I heard and was nervous about going with her. What will I talk to her? I will go speechless if she asks me anything. My throat was going dry, and I was sweating at this thought. On top of it, my shirt was sitting on my shoulders like a mountain.
She came close to me, and by then, I had taken my cycle out. She said, “Let’s Go.” I started walking, holding the cycle. She said, “Happy Birthday.” I was shocked to know that she knew. “Why didn’t you sit in the front row today? I was searching for you.”. I smiled and kept my head down. This shirt looks so lovely on you, she said, and I felt she is making fun of me. Men look complete with colors, and this light pink makes you look like a man. I felt as if somebody has pumped me, and I am swelling like a balloon. I was literally pressing my feet on the ground so that I don’t float. She kept talking, and I kept responding with my gestures. For the first time, I saw her face. She was the most beautiful girl I had seen in my life ever. But the moment she looked at me, I turned my face down so that she doesn’t realize that I saw her. After a hundred meters of the walk, she said, “Do you plan to go home by walk?”.
I looked at her in surprise as I was unsure if she expected me to ride the cycle and let her walk alone. Then I realized she may be asking me to give my cycle to her to go by cycle, and I will walk home.
I thought, How stupid of me. I should have thought that before. I said, You take the cycle and go home. I will come running behind you.
She laughed so loudly that I wished earth to split, and I go deep inside.
She said, “Don’t you ride double?”. I said, “Yes.” “Okay,” I will sit on the rod you ride.
Now I was trembling like a dry leaf. I wanted to vanish from this world and never return. But before I could think, she was sitting on the rod of the cycle, and I started riding. My hands and legs were shaking rapidly, but I tried to control myself and save myself from any embarrassment. I was speechless, beatless, breathless, lifeless till I dropped her. And that 20 minutes of cycle feeling is still alive with me.
I saw she is wearing a black gown, looks as beautiful as she was then, and went up to her. I was much more daring now, so I went to her and was 300% sure she was Kavita. I called her Kavita. How are you?”. She looked at me. “Hi, I am good.” She looked surprised. I could imagine 3 decades. I told her, “Sakti from Vinod Sir’s Tuition.” She recalled Vinod Sir’s tuition, “Yes, I remember in 11th. Were you in that class?” I was not sure if she forgot or playing a prank with me. “Sorry long, long years unable to recall. Good to see you”. She excused herself and left with her kids and husband.
I realized my wife had selected the cosmetics and was coming out. She told me ‘Buttlescotch for me. Don’t you dare to eat alone” and laughed. We both laughed and soon after that left for home.
In recent times I have seen two of my close friends have dropped specific social media tools as they realized the addiction and the corruption of mind due to unwanted consumption of harmful content. It makes me wonder if this is the beginning of the end. Possibly! I do not know, but it is undoubtedly a phase where I find people paying attention to what they are consuming. Most importantly, ‘paying attention.’
Paying attention is a beginning that would end with a great result. Paying attention to our behaviors, actions, and reactions is the beginning of a journey where we are fully aware.
When we are fully aware, there will be no need to boycott as we will apply self-restraint. These tools help us achieve a lot of good things (the main reason they came into existence in the first place) but at the cost of ‘paying attention’ that we do not get attracted to these tools’ addictive nature. It is like food. As long as we are mindful, you will eat what you need for a healthy body and mind, but you will get attracted by your senses when you do not pay attention. Completely stopping food does not kill the desire within but makes it a problematic urge to control and leads to other complications.
With this learning, I intend to use Social Media or any such tool as a mindful one. What about you?
It means more as I mature, how precious the agreements are for any group of people, whether it is between your life partner, friends, family, housing society, organization, village, town, city, state, or country.
We agreed when we were in our best mood, form, and intelligence, and the same becomes a guiding force when we are not at peace, the best state, or fully awakened intelligence.
It works best for organized sectors like agreement with the country is our constitution, agreement with the employee is employee handbook, housing societies have their constitution, but we do not have any written agreement when it comes to family. Although ancient Indian civilization had suggested rich and useful agreements, generations destroyed them with religious and patriarchal toppings, and ignorants brought it to peril.
While India celebrates its republic day where every citizen reiterates to bind themselves under the agreement called constitution to remain free and prosperous, we must think about how we can agree with the family to live a free, dignified, and prosperous life.
Families are slowly losing their dignity, integrity, and power to hold people together. A family where few members work day and night and others feel privileged to relax and enjoy, where elders are treated as a burden, and younger are taught how to become famous. Where a person who is going through mental trauma is either left alone or misunderstood. The word ‘separation’ and ‘break-up’ are now a lot more commonly practiced in our society. Not getting married or not having kids is becoming a popular solution to avoid such conflicts.
Before we see our family structures or society becomes irrelevant, let’s join hands to create a constitution for ourselves, our families, and society.
I thought of jotting down few agreements, and I encourage my readers to add to this list by mentioning them in the comment section.
The dignity of elders and the Purity of thought of children should be kept intact no matter what.
Physical and mental, whether indoor or outdoor, tasks must be distributed equally among family members based on each member’s ability and wisdom.
Suffering, struggle, and sorrow of one member must be a concern of the entire family.
Let’s spare some time building a constitution for a family where every member feels free and dignified.
Every thought of winning is as eroding as thoughts of losing. It is an extremely difficult exercise to just enjoy the act and stay away from the thoughts of winning or losing.
Pleasure of being part of the journey and giving our best is the only truth. This is the portion you have full control over. You can decide to be happy doing it or not. You can decide whether you want to give your best or not. You can decide whether you want to enjoy the moment of doing the act or not. This will make you feel even more energetic rather than draining your energy.
But it is so surprising that we still keep our focus on the results rather than the act. We think of past or future rather than the present moment. We prefer to drain energy, feel stressed and end with disappointment.
This practice of focusing back on ‘now’, ‘this very moment’ and enjoying the act/journey is not easy and takes time provided we practice.
This starts with few agreements with self.
Choose Happiness: Every moment you have a choice to be happy. Choose that.
One task at a time: How easy it may be, if you can focus on one task at a time and give your 100% to it. You will enjoy the act.
Erase Future: Any action that comes to your mind as future action, ignore it unless you can do anything about it now.
Forgive Past: Any thought that wishes to punish yourself or anybody else due to the act of past. Pardon them till they rest at peace.
Silence today morning is deafening. Still the chatters of the past many months are reverberating in my ears. I am not able to tolerate the silence anymore.
A small bird sat on my balcony last spring. It was tweeting the song of happiness but something sounded odd. I kept looking at it without an utter and it continued its chatter all day. I got busy with my daily routine.
Alarm from my phone woke me up. When I tried to stop the alarm I realized it was never set. I went in search of the sound of bird chirping to find the little bird of yesterday has made home in my balcony. Its eyes made me surrender to her immediately. The same surrender that Gopis experienced when they heard Krishna’s flute. I spent my morning listening to her chirps and watch her build her beautiful nest.
As days passed by she became a companion and a habit. Shared ups and downs, twist and turns and the deep scars within. No judgement, no solution still pure solace.
In no time next spring came. This little bird’s dreams had made her wings stronger and now the nest was not big enough for her. She looked at me with a puzzled look and I gave her a look of optimism. She expanded her wings, flapped it couple of times before I could see her disappear.
Today I am sitting at the balcony looking at the nest. I could see a big bird circling up above in the sky above my head with its wings spread with confidence, head lifted with positivity and flying like a liberated soul.
I was grinning at this scenery but surprisingly the silence of missing chirps moistened my eyes. I went inside to continue my journey.
When we go beyond the basic bodily desires, the greatest desire of all is the desire of significance. Each and every human wants to feel significant but it varies from each other due to choice of audience. Some want to be significant before the world and some just before self. Many want to be seen as a significant one before selected set of friends, society or co-workers.
Our eyes look for that audience every moment and in order to satisfy that selected audience we seek money, power, dresses, makeup etc. When we don’t find the selected audience is making us feel significant we try to engage in activities that gives us the feeling of being significant like, shopping, entertainment, social media attention, intoxicating substances etc. But unfortunately these are short-lived.
Few enlightened ones can keep the audience limited to self. This helps them remain calm, satisfied and always happy. When audience is self, the actions mostly involves service to others in solitude, mostly anonymous and immediate exit after the service is given. Intention is to not get corrupted by attention.
The ones among the enlightened ones who overcome bodily desires are the ones who experience absolute bliss.
Many a may say what’s the point in living without any desires alive but the experienced in this path have often described their experience which is infectious, attractive and worth a try.