Winter has finally arrived and temperatures for the first time this year dipped below 0 degree C. Yesterday it was -1 degree. I fell victim to this cold and recovered only last week from severe throat infection. A combination of antibiotic and paracetamol helped me recover finally. I was quick to switch to bus from bicycle - basically the cold air that passes through nostril/mouth and takes a heavy toll on the vulnerable throat. Otherwise jacket, mufflers and gloves are sufficient to keep the cruel cold at bay - but I can't find a way to prevent inhaling the cold air.
Romir's schools are going on as usual - 3 days a week: Mon, Tue and Thursday - and his mother is doing a fabulous job in taking care of all his needs - starting from getting him ready for the school, bringing him back from school, gather feedbacks from teachers - and then finally reporting me about his progress. There are a number of activities Romir has started participating in and she loves to take him to various places - the gym, park, library and so on. She doesn't get tired or bored of these activities and I am such a relieved man. It helps concentrate on my work and come home with peace of mind.
I remember my father once said - "Isn't it a beautiful feeling to have done all your office work and then come back home after a hard day's work. Rightly so - and sweet it is also because you are returning back to your family from work - and it's such a comfortable cocoon to belong to - and so I seldom go to parties and team lunches/dinners. You can't have all of it at the same time. To get something you have to sacrifice something else. Time is precious and spending time with family is more rewarding.
I love truth and love to speak straight and gel particularly well with noble souls. In one of the discussions today at lunch we were discussing about how its difficult to interact with some who are so argumentative and have no respect or harbor false ego and bad attitude. The best thing is to avoid such people but it's not possible to do that in a team, wherein each member works like a nut or a bolt of a big unit and the purpose is to achieve the goal together within a team. Ofcourse, the bigger picture should take precedence over individual ego - and the bigger picture is enabling the entire team to function properly and attain positive results.
I am now short of words... What will I write and what are the new thoughts? Sometimes the mind says there is nothing to write. But believe me, if you think there is nothing to write you can't start ever. So just sitting with the laptop and making an attempt to write is the best possible way to break the habit of not writing often. I was chatting with one of my friends who urged me to again start oil painting. The years are just passing by and paper currency is just going to be meaningless as we age... If I could only manufacture a few unique paintings that could beat the barrier of time and enter the realm of eternity - just like the paintings of great painters have... it would be so much sweet and relishing. I have always had this feeling of leaving the world with something eternal, timeless and valuable - but I am not sure actually if that would be possible.
There is no harm in trying though. "The king was once a crying baby" - so it's not important where you are - but it's important where you are aiming to reach. I used to paste small quotations everywhere on walls in the room I lived in childhood... quotations that were powerful and positive - like "whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe it can achieve through positive attitude"... and so on.
I have read countless of positive attitude (self-help) books. Somewhere in the manner the events have unfolded in life i do believe that all these positive messages that I soaked in during my school and college days - particularly when the going was hard and the emotions of youthful fantasies and infatuations torn me apart - I managed to find a comfortable shelter under the warmth of self-assuring, encouraging and innumerable motivational messages by Napoleon Hill and other self-help authors.
But then they have a limit. You can't keep reading and getting motivated from them. There is a phase in one's life when he has to break that shell and lunge forward into newer layers of meaning... go from old thoughts and find new thoughts and philosophies. Reading books is so important for that reason because books offer you the opportunity to delve in to the author's psysche. Without the book you simply have your own perspective.
Not only books, sometimes real and powerful personalities influence you through their speeches as well. One such powerful person who influenced me to follow the path of Bhakti Yoga, ie. Krishna Consicousess is an IIT Delhi Professor. At that time I was preparing for GATE in Jia Sarai (that was in year 2004). The compound of IIT Delhi was adjacent to Jia Sarai and we could sneak into IIT Delhi campus every now and then. I remember during the cricket matches we would shamelessly enter one of the IIT hostels and sit with other IITians infront of the big television. One of the Jiasarai residents had given me some cassettes recorded with The IIT Lecturer's Krishna Consciousess discourses. I heard them one after another and I was so much moved by his lecutres that I started to following Krishna Consicousness. The start was 4 rounds of chanting on the Tulsi Beads. I would go to the rooftop in the night in pitch darkness and chant alone. Ofcourse I din't want anyone to find me doing this. I hated being talked about this or being mocked at by others.
One day one of the Krishna Devotees - more ardent and passionate, ofcourse, took interest in me and started encouraging me more and more to take this path seriously. Having discovered my crazy cravings for watching cricket he urged to quit cricket as this was not very helpful in the path of Bhakti. I was in a complete state of war in my own mind and couldn't find a way to promise him that I would quit watching cricket. And I didn't quit. Rather I couldn't quit. Once I would know about the start time of a match, I would find myself sitting shamelessly infront of a restaurant TV or the IIT hostel TV. I remember now and can't help but laugh only about how the restaurant owner would sometimes switch off the TV to urge his customers to leave so that new customers could come in. Now all this I have been narrating for such great length of time to make one point which will sound pretty interesting - I AM NO MORE ADDICTED TO CRICKET RIGHT NOW. Can you believe it?
The point to be noted here is a change of circumstances has led to this. Here in Netherlands there is absolutely no discussion of cricket. And luckily the Television in my room doesn't have a channel that broadcasts cricket. So I have taken to new interests - snooker. Right now as I write this - I have the UK Snooker Championships second semi final match coming up. The blog about the first semifinal match is here.
There have been other changes ofcourse. I haven't played TT for almost 2 years now. I haven't driven a car or a bike... sometimes I feel it's hightime I go to India for a vacation. And then sometimes I hold back looking at the ticket price. But not everything can be weighed with money. The other day I was having a chat with my friend in Pune and he said that he wanted an onsite opportunity for a few months -so he could make some money. It is then he told me that he couldn't afford to stay long term due to family obligations. I told him that you are with your parents and you are able to take care of them and live with them - through the happy and sad moments - don't underestimate it's value - because HE who is not with his parents knows the real pain. It becomes more pronouced especially at a time when your father is ill and you cannot make yourself available to offer him assurances of well-being and comfort.
But there are other aspects in life that somehow starts taking precedence. It might sound cruel but that is reality as well. I have seen those who have broken the boundaries of their original place and gone far in search of work and fortune have actually progressed. While others who have continued to stay in that same place have failed to make much progress. You might ask - what do you mean by progress? Is it money? I would say - it's not only money - it's about experience as well. It's about interacting with new people, embracing new challenges and seeing new places. The cocoon of home is good for a certain stage in life but not for eternity. And this cycle goes on - children grow up and spread their wings and fly high and far. With the passage of time it has become more and more difficult to live with the whole family and the extended family together. The small bubbles of nuclear families have mushroomed in the cities globally. This is the reason why it's so important to take vacations and spend atleast sometime with parents in homeland.
I think I can go on and on - but I should stop somewhere. So let me stop here and until next blog post on my experience in Netherlands - it's a warm BYE on a cold night to all my readers.