Picking Your Battles Well…

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What do you need to walk away from——?

You may fill in the blanks with your own life experiences. It could be a bad job, a  terrible boss, an abusive relationship, a splintering family situation …The common symptom is that it makes you want to scream, embitters you, weakens you, depresses you, makes you feel utterly helpless and causes you to indulge in self-loathing.

I have pondered on that particular question at length. And concluded that what is Manna for one could be Poison for another.

You might call it cowardice, I would call it wisdom. You might call it fool hardiness, I might call it discretion. You might call it intelligent, I might call it selfish. You might call it well timed, I might call it too late. You can never please them all. Neither can I.

I have seen  apparent wise men and women fail miserably because they did not have the courage( my terminology) to acknowledge reality for what it was. They pretended everything was absolutely perfect and went grinning to their downfall. I have also seen wise men and women choose discretion as the better part of valour, and pick their battles intelligently.

Recently, one very brilliant doctor asked me, how to avoid unnecessary confrontations and  avoid making unnecessary enemies. I thought of a life time of battle scars and grinned.

‘I  have read somewhere that you should speak up strongly if it is true, kind and necessary. It has to pass all the three tests!’

The good doctor, who was nursing his drink, gulped it down and toasted, ‘That is worth another one!’

Sometimes, as Dr Clarissa Estes so wisely reminds us, one has to have the strength of a jaguar and the heart of a butterfly. You should strive to have sinews of steel and a heart full of compassion.

First of all, be compassionate to your own self. If something makes you want to scream, please do. Scream your heart out. It is not worth killing yourself over an issue which can naturally resolve itself in one blood curdling yell.

If someone or something makes you suffocated, walk out before the life breath is extinguished. Gulp down the oxygen of normalcy before it is too late. Tolerating  anything bad (in any form) can be like inhaling carbon monoxide on a regular basis. It will make you slip into a comatose stage and from there, starts the end of what you truly are.

Will you survive at the end of it all? Oh yes! And shall live to tell the tale another day. Surrounded by warm sunshine and a slight breeze; staring at the blue sky and seeing a bird fly.

Because, when you walk away from oppression, you choose freedom. And if the battle is worth it- true, kind and necessary- then you will live to fight another day. With a sword by your side called ‘Self-respect.’

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Simple Joys..with Gratitude

” So read up about Hryvnia and Berkut, Ma, by the time I am back,” she calls, on her way out. She waves Irodov at me. The fat text book, I mean.

It must have been almost twelve years since I browsed seriously through international issues. As an aware reader, I knew generally about the world and its happenings. But the new challenge was serious. The kiddo had an assignment and she wanted  to discuss about Ukraine- the crisis, the currency depreciation, the riot police.

In two hours time, I found myself staring at  the deep socio-political-economic polarization challenges that the nation was facing. The similarities and differences with Greek economic crisis loomed large.  The Crimean annexation, the role of NATO, the international debt obligation, terms like economic hair cut/write off, sanctions, creditor associations, Tatar minorities, Black sea fleet, cease fire agreement et al started making sense. The deep links  that every economic issue has with military alliances and political realities of power balance came into forefront.

I also felt a sense of Deja Vu. This story has happened before. The story is happening now and will continue in future- across the world.I could have changed the name of the nation and the places and the allies and the saga would remain the same. A child in Africa, needing help for doing an assignment on the crisis of Afghanistan, would have a mother staring aghast at the same history of military alliances, socio political milieus, minorities and trust issues, strategic liabilities, economic policies and a country struggling for stability.World over, the human story remains the same. The players, the interests, the struggles, the fights, the bloodshed..it is like  script being rehashed again and again by new directors and new actors. The victims being always the simple citizens who only want peace and a safe future for their children.

My daughter returns, and switches on Dr.Who. The “Master” is hell bound to be in power. The most powerful drug in the world. And he marches to a tune of drum beats in his head. Actually , he is a very scared little boy within.

” The joy of travelling the universe, the privilege of seeing it- is that not ownership enough?” asks David Tennant.

The Master blinks for a second. Then the power crazy nature reasserts itself.

As the Time Lords start their plans, the episode closes.

I sigh deeply. There is a strange serendipity in all these events.

” Do you want to discuss the topic now?” I ask.

” No. I have homework. Maybe tomorrow?” she says.

I think of a country, far away. For a mother living there, and a child, it is not an issue to be discussed tomorrow. Will the child be at peace to do her homework and watch Dr.Who? Extending the metaphor- in how many countries, were children, especially daughters, free to study to their heart’s content?

I pray in gratitude. The simple joy of a normal day. It is a gift denied to many , many souls across our earth.

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Looking Out

Picture 185

1.

Looking out

Of the window

I rather like the fact

That I have the time

The love, the peace

To look out

And come back slowly

To my  own self.

Looking within,

I greatly like

The place I am in

Now.

That’s a great deal

Knowing where I

Could have been

Would have been

Should have been

But for a

Decision

To be able to

Stand and look out

Of a window

Fearlessly.

2.

You mix up the earth with your hands

Smile at me, calling my name

I squint at the autumn sunshine

See your kind eyes shining

As they gaze at me.

Holding your wet earth hand,

I rise, I rise, I rise,

Indefatigable as a tiny green

Plant, thriving with fierce spirit

Needing only one drop

Of

Respectful love.

3

Screenplays from an old time

Flash past before my eyes

Stereotypes, anger, suppressed rage

Humiliation, dressing downs, mockery

Love, lust, fear, hatred, envy, loathing

Mixed and merged like a canvas gone bad

With horrible hues

Disgust dripping down like ashen failure

I stop the movie within; hit the mute button

And switch on the Now:

It hums your name, my name,

Ours.

My canvas clears once again

With bright, joyous colours

Of happiness.

My movie script begins again

This time, the lines are written

By my own self respect.

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