Are We Truly Independent

Independence is one of the most coveted aspects of our lives. For many of us, independence can be considered a perk that is bestowed upon the blessed few mortals. What is independence? Most people would say that it is the lack of control over our life, freedom to make decisions and choices. But, I feel that we all are missing the single most important aspect of independence. It is the lack of dependence on anything or for anything. You might ask me, what is the difference? And I will say, there is a lot of difference.

If independence were only a matter of freedom to make our decisions and to choose, then it becomes an external force that we have to fight. To remove the control of others is something that we fight outwardly and against others. However, when we talk about independence as a lack of any dependencies, then the fight becomes an internal struggle. Now, we have to fight ourselves to overcome these impediments, and that is not an easy fight to win.

When I speak of dependencies, it includes various types of them. It can be a financial dependency, emotional, substance abuse, physical dependency etc. One might have the deepest pockets and a steely grip on all aspects of their life. Yet, being a slave to approval from loved ones and general public opinions can cripple our mind. Something as simple as being dependent on coffee, to start the day, has a far-reaching effect that most don’t realize. A day without coffee can make you grumpy, slow and generally irritated. But we laugh off such dependencies. Some of us can’t function without constant reassurance and approval from friends and family. I may be a free spirit that is waiting to fly, but my dad/husband/obligations/debt is holding back the money I need.

It is time we all take a closer look at our life and analyse; are we really independent? Have we been living the life of a slave, a glorified slave, all this time?

Was Thanos Really An Evil Villain

By now everyone has watched The Avengers franchise and are aware of the supervillain Thanos. He was so disturbed by the greed, suffering, war and imbalance of resources across the universe that he sought to build the ultimate weapon to wipe out half the living beings in the universe. He carefully strategized and worked towards wiping out half the life on one planet after another. He built the infinity gauntlet that would randomly wipe out half the population of a planet and leave the rest to rebuild their world as they choose. Everyone was horrified by his plan and did not see it as a solution to the problem. But, is his plan really that bad?

I am not supporting his plan to wipe out life. I do not condone his actions to indiscriminately wipe out life or play God. However, when we observe all the tragic events over the course of history, isn’t that how nature works? When the planet was overrun by dinosaurs as the dominant species, we saw cataclysmic natural disasters that wiped out many of the predators and life started afresh. Man has witnessed the rise and fall of many tribes, kingdoms, empires even, that fall victim to nature’s balancing act. It does not matter whether the people were the humblest, most pious, benevolent, or the greediest, cruellest, most violent bunch. Everyone that goes up has to come down. Every empire that rose had to fall.

In fact, all the major religions in the world today predict a similar ending. Be it Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc they all state that when greed, evil, dishonesty, treachery etc. overrun humans, then God and nature will act swiftly to wipe out life to cleanse the world.

This is just a random musing of mine, but it made sense. Tell me your thoughts and views on how you see Thanos. Is he a villain or a teaser to how our world will end up?

Father Bull On The Road To Falmouth

Last week we went to Falmouth, Jamaica. It wasn’t a pleasure trip, we had some work to do (my husband and me). We wanted to get over with the work by 11:30 am, however it stretched on until 2:30 in the afternoon. I was starving by then, and barely had any energy to even sit up straight. We decided to have a quick bite on the way home. I was ready to eat anything, so my husband took me to Father Bull restaurant. What a strange name for a restaurant, I thought. Anyway, all that matters is the food. It is located at Greenwood on the main road.

They are located right on the waterfront. Literally, you can walk up to the backdoor and find yourself looking at the waves crashing on to the rocks. I fell in love with the place. The cool sea breeze was heavenly. I could easily fall asleep in my chair, had it not been for the fact that I was famished. It was a great place to unwind and sit down with some hot Jamaican style pumpkin soup and meditate on the happy things in life.

This place is not a fine dining restaurant; it is a casual, informal place. The food was served in a Styrofoam container. That was one down-side; I hope they change to something healthier. The ambience is very relaxed and casual.

You can see the Caribbean Sea from every window. It is a sight for sore eyes.
The food was hot and delicious. We ordered Curry chicken. My husband used to get food home from this place several times in the past. I tried Curry Goat, Pumpkin soup and Manish water. All of them tasted great.

It was a very hot day and the cold water was a welcome relief. But if you like to try some of their alcohols, they have a tie-up with Appleton Rum. You can try some at the bar. I forgot to mention that the place is not exactly quiet. There is music playing all the time.

I wish I could have some more right now. Even looking at these pictures is making my mouth water. Their cuisine is authentic Jamaican and they have dishes like oxtail, jerk chicken etc. In fact, you can smell the jerk chicken in the air the moment you enter the premises and it’s hard to resist.
I sat by the window and clicked a few pictures. I notice that there were a lot of fishing boats on the other side.

What more can I say, it’s a good place to eat. Take a local Jamaican with you and pay in Jamaican dollars for it to work out cheaper. That way, you can avoid the tourist prices ;-). I leave you with some more pictures to enjoy.

View of the highway road.

You can see the phone charger on the black table. While you charge up, your phone can get charged too.

View from the window by my table.

The place is very well maintained and every window has a wonderful view. Even though it was 2:30 in the afternoon and very hot outside, it was pleasant and cool inside. They don’t need fans with the breeze they have.

Take one step out of the restaurant and you will be swimming with the fish in the sea. Hahaha!

I did not go out the back door. I just stuck my hand out of the window and clicked this one. There seems to be a little space to walk but I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not trying to scare you or anything. Just saying that I am over cautious.
That’s it, guys. Mi see yuh likkle more den (Jamaican Patois for – I’ll see you later then. I am trying to learn the language).

Take up drawing as a hobby

When we talk about drawing or sketching, we think about life like imagery that one replicates with pencil or charcoal. We rethink about the complex shades that bring out light and shadow to create depth. Drawing always brings to mind images of portraits, realism, charcoal sketches, architectural drawings etc. It always sounds like a complex art that seems beyond my reach. I always felt jealous of my cousins, as they are artistically gifted.

However, now I discovered that drawing is not limited to just lifelike imagery only. There are many more styles and facets to drawing apart from realism, that requires a different set of skills like imagination, dramatic flair etc. I am talking doodling, caricatures, anime, cartoons etc. These streams of drawing are very different from traditional styles but are just as impressive and beautiful.

If you are anything like me, then, you cannot draw a straight line without a scale. Do not despair, there are many styles through which you can express yourself. Step away from the traditional classroom style and discover yourself through another style. Tell me how successful you have been and we can exchange stories of discovery.

All drawings in this blog are contributed by Sharda and Sharath

Don’t We All Just Hate Free Advice

The title of my post must have made it amply clear that I hate free advice. The fact that most free advice is just common sense makes it even more irritating and frustrating. The whole thing makes one feel like they are too stupid to figure out a matter of simple logic.

Incidentally, the other day, I was sitting and complaining to my friend about a meddling neighbour of ours who cannot seem to mind his own business. Lo and behold, my friend’s neighbour comes up and starts dispensing free advice about being patient and tolerant. She tells me that there is no point in arguing with a stupid person and I almost blurted out, “I know aunty, that’s why I am not replying to you.” She literally gave a detailed reenactment of meddling neighbours and proved the reason for my rant.

I might sound like a rude and arrogant person right now but think about it. Most of the time, when a person is ranting, they are just letting out their emotions. We sit down with our friends to rant about the problems in our lives, we are not looking for solutions. We are just venting out emotions and frustration. At such a time, when someone gives unsolicited advice, it only fuels our anger more.

The next time you hear a person telling you their problems, just listen to them. Don’t try to give advice. Many of us are not clueless about how to handle our life. We are just looking for someone to listen, someplace where we can speak our mind out loud so that we can declutter our thoughts. I, luckily have my blog to declutter my mind. Every once in a while, I pen down all the things that I want to say out loud and post a ranting article.

The reason for any misunderstanding

A man once asked Swami Vivekananda about the reason behind all misunderstandings. His answer was, “We see people as we are, but not as they are.” I was amazed by this response as it made a lot of sense.

Swami Vivekananda

As the very word suggests, a misunderstanding occurs when we mistake the meaning or the intent of words or actions. In any situation, everyone involved enters with a certain perception or impression of what has occurred. A misunderstanding happens when we close our minds to all other perceptions that are different from our own ideas. When faced with a new concept, we tend to get defensive of our thoughts.

What Swami Vivekananda tried to tell us is that we should step away from our dogmas. If we want to clear misunderstandings, don’t just put yourself in their shoes, but look at it with their eyes too. Often times, we put our self in the other person’s shoes but still retain our stubborn ideas and judge harshly.

My idea behind this post is to give food for thought. I do not intend to pass judgement or tell you how to think. We are all capable of thinking on our own, but we might need a little guidance on picking the right path. I only hope to help you pick the right path.

Make informed decisions… Not emotional decisions

Most of the classic Indian movies are built around strong emotional values that are based on family, friendship, love etc. It is always the emotional decisions that win in the end. This is one of the fundamental differences that I see between Hollywood movies and Indian cinema. But, I am not here to discuss movie plots, rather I would like to highlight the futility of emotional decisions as against more informed decisions. As always, this post is also inspired by a random thought that I had while retrospecting on a few choices I made in the past. As is the purpose of all retrospection, I was thinking back on where the priorities changed and what moved my path to its current course.

I have always been a bit of an emotional person. I have known this about myself and always tried to make sure that it does not colour my judgement. I would like to say I was successful at doing it, but it would be a lie. I was, in fact, retrospecting to see how many of my decisions were taken emotionally. This made me realise something about myself. I saw that most of my strongest memories were an assortment of emotions that I experienced at that time rather than the exact details. For example, when I think back to my sister’s marriage, I don’t remember the menu or my favourite dish or what was said about the bride or the groom or the elaborate rituals that we followed that day. I only remember that the food served was a simple and traditional cuisine that everybody enjoyed. I loved the curry that I ate (though I do not remember what it was). etc. I enjoyed that day and I returned home dog-tired. Same was the case when I tried to recollect the day I got my job. It was a hot summer day, I remember I had a headache due to sunstroke. I remember taking my mum along because I was new to the place and I had no friends to help me. I don’t remember the questions asked by the interviewer or how many rounds there were. All I remember was just the hot sun, the headache, the long distance travelled and my joy after getting the job.

This realisation made me understand why I took emotional decisions. My mind mostly stored what I felt at different stages of my life and ignored all the finer details. So, every time I made a decision, I always made sure that I did not end feeling specific emotions. What I am trying to say is, I made all my decisions so that my loved ones or I did not have to face disappointment, hunger, anger, loss or failure. I always tried to protect myself and the people I care for, from harsh reality. I did not take a risk and always made safe decisions, lest I end up feeling tasting failure or disappointment.

I forgot the fact that failure and disappointment are, after all, stepping stones to success. We have to face them to learn the lessons that will shape a future that fits us best. Every time we make a decision, we have to weigh in the facts, the pros and cons, rather than limiting our self to a fixed course of action so that we do not face the unknown. As my grandmother says, only when we taste sour will sweet taste sweeter.

Rain Makes Everything Brighter

Hello everybody. How are all of you doing? It has been raining a lot all week here in Montego Bay. I love the rain because it cools down the temperature and nature looks bright and beautiful after the rain. This morning, I took a walk in the yard with my phone and started clicking. Can you see the blades of grass still holding on to the tiny droplets of rain?

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My curry leaf plant is in full bloom and there are so many bees buzzing all over it.after rain 12

These are some other plants I have at home.after rain 11after rain 10after rain 9after rain 8after rain 7

I love these pink bougainvillea. The only problem with it is the thorns. A bougainvillea thorn prick is very painful. It takes a long time to heal. I found out that these thorns are toxic. They cause itching, rash, and pain.after rain 6

This red hibiscus attracts a lot of hummingbirds. Unfortunately, I did not get one in this picture. Hummingbirds like red coloured flowers. Maybe one day, I will be able to get a picture of a hummingbird and I will definitely share with all of you.after rain 4after rain 5

The firecracker flower is a new plant in my garden. Since my childhood, I always liked these flowers. My grandmother used to make beautiful garlands with a combination of jasmine and orange firecracker flowers. These flowers bring back all those memories and I smile every time I look at them. One day, I saw this plant growing wild on the pavement and a paid worker was chopping all the wild growth. I understood that he would chop the plant anyway so I requested him to dig out the plant and give it to me. And that’s how I have it in my garden today.after rain 3

I love wildflowers. No one waters them; they grow on their own and provide the bees with nectar. They make my yard look beautiful. Sometimes the entire yard is filled with these beautiful, white, wild daisies. They attract a lot of butterflies and dragonflies. Sitting for even ten minutes in my yard and watching the bees, butterflies, and dragonflies refreshes my mind as it would if I did half an hour of meditation. That’s the power of nature.after rain 2after rain 1

Have a nice day.