Wednesday, January 28, 2009


(Doing this for a friend who's celebrating her 50th birthday this year. She thinks 50 is the end of the world - her world.
This piece was written long ago and I'm bringing this here now for her.)

Here I am with lines creeping where I wouldn’t want them to (laugh lines I agree is a nice way to call them), a spreading middle which I hoped wouldn’t (three daughters gave me that. I wonder what other women’s five or six would!), silver streaks playing peek-a-boo out of once glorious dark tresses (my beautician has a solution to that quite expensively though), and a less than flat abdomen (next to laugh lines, this horror of horrors gives a woman’s age away) -- that surely makes me think. I guess women who find they are blowing out 50 or more candles on their cake would consider those in serious retrospect. And looking at the youthful glowing skin, lithe figure, and silky black hair of gorgeous models on the cover of glossy woman magazines or ads serve only to feed that quiet unease. Come to think of it, we’ve always been told that – white pearly teeth, soft smooth skin, and skinny no-bulge bodies is beautiful. Like saying that only women of 20-year-olds-and-under inhabit the face of the earth and anything beyond that is absolutely unheard of and --ugly.

But no! look again. See these women in your ordinary everyday neighborhood --the middle-aged woman selling fish and vegetables in the market; the government employee who sells beauty products on the side; the ordinary housewife who does her chores with clockwork precision each day tending to a rowdy brood of five while a husband is away in Saudi; the dependable single older aunt selflessly sending a niece or nephew to school; the crisp ladies of the church in their equally crisp bland uniforms; the rural teachers who patiently trod to their classrooms on gravel roads rain or shine. These women are real -- as real as ice cream cones and pizza pies. They may do a hundred turns before the mirror tremulously tracing age’s progress on their faces and skin, yet they don’t fuss and fret over beauty jars and trips to the gym, salon or spa. Instead, they get busy as mothers, wives, grandmothers, nieces, aunts, office mate, friend and other more roles laid out before them each day.

Now here’s the million dollar question-- what if all that would be gone one day and truly it will-- when all that’s left is the so-called void without and within. When age finally creeps in as bones and joints go stiff and ache, skin crinkle with defiant lines, eyes strain to read small print, sleep turn erratic, appetites change, visits to the doctor more frequent and pills nestle permanently in one’s purse. When loneliness glides into each day furthermore heightened with the children planning careers and lives away from home. Now what can they do with the portions left of their now solitary lives?

It dawned on me while I was sitting in my favorite corner one lazy afternoon with a book that went stale in my hands. A book to my mind should pass the first five minutes of reading. Otherwise it goes down to the bin of the lost and forgotten. Anyway, I realized this -- life does not stand still for those who enter through this portal. No, it does not. But one does have to make a choice-- to move along in step with the passing of father time— or fall back and be left behind. With the same eyes, ears, mind and heart honed by past experiences, one can better see life and the world with fresh new interest, appreciation, understanding, and wisdom. Born out of hurts, pains, bruises and bumps from a journey through life’s dusty and more often grueling road, one now wears a new sense of independence, confidence, and self-worth. There can be no void where one does not allow it.

This journey continues. It’s a lifelong one. I do look back often to see what’s gone past or what’s left behind. I do this to appreciate where I am at now. The past, cruel in some and brilliant in another, created my passions, desires, expectations putting it all together in one package that people see, interact with, and relate to each day. I am able to give back to life because life has filled me well. My cup overflows. It’s a continuous play and exchange of receiving and giving in this real game called life. At times I can dish out master strokes thereby bask in euphoric victory. Then again in the next instant I hit the gutter with my poor aim and find myself pulling at my hair in utter disbelief, disappointment and frustration. Success and failure, bitter and sweet, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, smart and stupid, joy and sadness, high and low, have and have-not --- one will often find himself at one end or the other of that broad spectrum. It is a rich life, though definitely flawed and imperfect but rich. Yet it is what goes on inside a person that lends to its richness.

Yes, we are part and parcel of this universal ebb and flow of life. I uniquely as an individual fill my own allotted space in this vast universe and time—and so do zillions of other lives in other places. There is no secret to living this life. It’s simply keeping in step with the beating of the universal drum --- to the music played by the ONE magnificent drummer. Ah yes! Life indeed is beautiful 50 (or more) birthday candles notwithstanding!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009



Maria (that’s not her real name, of course) only 5’ tall, weighs about 119 lbs, short black hair, black eyes, worry-wart, perfectionist, stubborn, outspoken, multi-talented, conservative, analytical, and reflective. Her life story is quite dotted with disappointments and unhappiness but she’s got spunk which I admire. She lives an hour away from me in another part of the city but we call each other up if meeting up isn’t possible.Ralph is married, in his early fifties, doesn’t have a regular job, gets by with special projects much to the consternation of his wife, has excellent pr with friends and colleagues but isn’t quite successful in the home and with family.

They are just two of countless other people in my social circle -- Same as with yours and too with theirs. Now why should I even mention these? I’m trying to drive home a point – an essential one.

We see zillions of people around us with distinct features and characteristics. Well, in our close circle we can only count about tens or hundreds, if you're lucky. But in the world outside there are zillions of them. Zillions! We’ve been told that no two persons are alike although they seem to be similar but still not the same. So then you, I, and they are distinctly different and separate in our own selves and persona.

I like that thought. It makes me feel very special. Don’t you too?

When you see me do the things I do, talk the way I do, think the way I do, walk the way I do ---- that’s me --- intrinsically genuinely me…Unless I put up a façade, but what for? Why pretend what I am not when being real is a lot more fun and interesting, at least to my point of view. It has nothing to do with being smug or proud or snooty liking oneself --- Although some people may take it to extremes and that’s where the problem begins. The idea of appreciating who I am and what I am makes life simpler and less stressful in a huge measure for myself and for others who move in and out of my turf or vice versa. No masks, no pretenses, no facades.

When I see myself as who I am --- the whole package of traits and flaws – and understand what makes me tick and still be comfortable with that I think am right on track with good sense. So then I can too appreciate others who may display other traits possibly quite unfamiliar to me and yet which I know do genuinely reflect their own distinct personality --who they are. I begin to learn to allow leeway for unpleasantness or idiosyncrasies of character because that too understandably is also in my own physical make-up. Understanding then takes place and then sets the correct mode in my relationships or in dealing with others.

I’m not going to dwell on the idea of changing where change should be, with reference to unpleasantness of character. Let’s leave that for another blog post.

The whole point of this exercise is to highlight how special you are as a person, an individual, a human being, creature, and character. Let nobody tell you otherwise. They have no permission to say that you are not. Neither do they have license to heap words of abuse on your character and person. Defend yourself and stand up for who you are. You are special, particularly in God’s eyes.

Oh yes, you are special, you are one and there is nobody else alive like you. They may copy you or seem to be like you but still they are not you. Get my point? Who else would heap canapés on his sandwich or walk in the park bare foot or look through a magazine back to front? Who else would dive straight into the pool in pajamas or eat dessert before and not after a meal or wear leather jackets in summer? Others may share your taste or preferences but you alone possess your own particular trademark as Mary, John, Peter, Lee, Pedro, Raj, Diwa. There is so much more of who you are that makes you quite unique and special. That was God's agenda when he created you. So like who you are and as you go along with that thought.. also do take time to see where you can improve on 'you' for an even better self.

Dr. Seuss says…..

(Wrote this some time ago. Taking this here now for a friend. Hope this works its purpose.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009



The previous year for the world was a mix pot of odds and ends, tumultuous at some point and ecstatic in another and even so diverse in-between. The world is because everything good or bad must run its course -- helped along in most by mortals. Well, can't complain (Oh maybe a whimper? lols -- loudest when doors closed to my face) as far as my own life is concerned, not now anyway as I look back to it. You see, I have realized that everything that was in my 2008, good or bad, was my life and it helped form me in more ways than one. And leaving out something no matter how bad or unpleasant it was would create a void in my life tapestry. I understand now that those things were necessary for a purpose only Somebody up there would know. I didn’t know that then when I was hurting. But now I want to think that I did and have learned, grew, matured into wisdom and becoming albeit one painful bit by bit the person I was meant to be in the first place… as predetermined by the Heavens. And the learning still continues.

I believe that goes for everyone too. We’re all the same no matter the race, color, or creed. Basically we have the same needs, wants, expectations, hopes, and dreams. And we with our temporary lives are all travelling the same road to Heaven. If there was really a serious attention to a New Year’s Resolution… maybe it should read


We can do that… bit by bit or one tiny step at a time in our lives day by day. Who says it can be achieved in just one sitting. Nah, that’s not how it’s done. It may take awhile to change or develop new habits or shift one’s paradigm of thinking but it can be done. Leaving our comfort zones may be the best thing to happen to us yet. And come to think of it, maybe that would take care of the ills of our world too. --- God bless you.