Do I Have The Right To Complain

In our world, there is an abundance of love and a multitude of hate.
I have not seen extreme hatred but, I have also not felt a loving embrace.
Do I complain about the lack of love, or should I feel great for the absence of hate?

I have a family that is overprotective to the point of suffocation,
I know they will not leave me alone to take the fall, but I do not get to try something new and adventurous.
Do I complain about being held back from flying, or should I feel safe that I will never fall?

There is an ocean of opportunities for the talented and the educated.
When my job does not appreciate my talent, and I can only get this mediocre job,
Do I complain about my talent that goes waste, or should I be thankful to even have a job that pays?

I have the drive and desire to succeed.
I lack the guidance and wisdom needed to move ahead and succeed.
Do I complain about the absence of guiding light or succumb to the desire to succeed by any means?

I have my life planned out for me and well-wishers who will arm-twist all my hurdles.
I am standing at the top of the podium getting applause for a victory that I did not win,
Do I complain that I did not get to work my way towards a victory, or should I just stand and soak in all the ill-gotten success?

The Loved One

Hello everyone!! I want to thank you all for your continued love and support of the blogs that I post. Encouraged by your kind support, I have recently tried my hand at short story writing.

I have written a short story about someone I hold dear in my life. As is my usual style, I wrote the story to record and share incidents and lessons that teach us something. This story is of someone who has taught me many valuable life lessons with love and fun.

The short story is a part of an anthology with 20 stories on the theme of loved ones. You can buy and read my story and the others as an e-book or a paperback version too. Both are available to order online at the links attached.

INKFEATHERS STORE

Inkfeathers Paperback:
https://inkfeathers.com/shop/anthologies/the-loved-one/

Inkfeathers eBook:
https://inkfeathers.com/shop/ebooks/the-loved-one-ebook/

AMAZON PAPERBACK

Amazon India
https://www.amazon.in/dp/8194932459

Amazon.com
https://www.amazon.com/dp/8194932459

Amazon UK
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/8194932459

Amazon CA
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/8194932459

AMAZON E KINDLE

Kindle IN
https://www.amazon.in/dp/B096RZ7FRW

Kindle US
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B096RZ7FRW

Kindle UK
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B096RZ7FRW

Please support me in my maiden attempt at short stories by ordering your book today. Thank you all and, I hope to receive your continued love and support.

Wise Words Are Like Pure Gold

In an earlier post, I had introduced you to the poems of Yogi Vemana. This 17th-century ascetic had written extensively on morality, ethics, human pathos and spread this wisdom through verses known as Vemana Satakam or Vemana Padhyalu.

The current verse is another pearl of wisdom from him:
Alpudepudu palkunadambaramuganu
sajjanundu balku callaganu
kancumroginatlu kanakambu mroguna
visvadabhirama vinura Vema !

In this verse, Vemana talks about how an unintelligent person can fool others with his loud voice and grand plans. His words are extravagant, but they hold little water. However, a wise man speaks softly, without any drama. His words are few, yet the meaning and impact are profound.

He compares the words of an unwise speaker to a brass pot that makes a lot of noise when disturbed. At the same time, pure gold may appear similar to brass, but it makes no noise.

Passing Your Time During Lockdown

The first lockdown due to the pandemic has been hard to adjust to. The second wave of coronavirus has reached a new high, and the second lockdown has been announced in many places. All the travel restrictions are back in place. Most tourist places and recreational centres are closed, and parties are a big no.

I might sound like I’m complaining. But I agree that these measures are needed to curb the spread of the virus. I am just worried about passing my time during this pandemic. 

The last time, I revisited some of my old hobbies, like crocheting and gardening. 

I also learnt how to cook. I made pasta with Alfredo sauce, baked a cake, among a couple of other recipes. I wasn’t very successful, but I got the basics of cooking right.

I guess this time around, I need to try my hand at drawing. That has been an art form that I am not good at. In my previous post, I promised to learn from my sister, who is good at it. Let’s hope I can manage it this time.

Guineps

These fruits commonly grow in South America and Caribbean countries. They are called Guineps in Jamaica, and elsewhere they are known as quenepas, Spanish lime, honeyberry etc., in different countries. 

Guineps are seasonal fruits. When they are in season, you can find them sold on street sides by vendors. They are very inexpensive and sold in bunches. 

The fruit looks like a small size green lime. Gently bite the fruit and crack open the thin rind, and you will find fresh fruit inside.

Be careful not to bite deep into the fruit as the outer fleshy part is not very thick. Just beneath the sweet and tangy flesh is the hard-shell seed. Suck the sweet juicy pulp and discard the seed.

Guineps grow on tall trees that grow to a height of about 80 ft. The flesh of the fruit is nutritious; even the seed is said to be beneficial. The ancient people of the Caribbean region roasted these seeds and consumed the pith. It is said to be similar to a cashew nut

The pulp of the Guineps is used to make juices, jams and sauce for desserts. 

Otaheite Apples

When I came to Jamaica two decades ago, the Otaheite apple was one of the exotic fruits that I came across. But ever since I tasted them, I have been in love with this delicious fruit. 

Yesterday my husband brought a dozen of these apples. Otaheite apples are soft and juicy like a plum. There is a small seed inside it that can be pulled out easily. The white flesh inside the fruit is sweet and has a tangy taste. One bite of this fruit fills up your mouth with the sweet juice, as the red colour from the skin slowly seeps into the delicate white fibrous flesh. The darker the colour of the skin, the sweeter is the fruit.

It is also known as the Jamaican apple, and it grows on tall trees that generally bear a lot of fruits. It is a seasonal fruit. The previous house where I lived had a lot of space in the yard. So, I planted a seed of this Otaheite Apple, and it grew to approximately three feet tall. When I moved from that house, I left the tree there. My current residence has no space for trees.

Just like any other fruit, these apples are rich in vitamins and minerals. They work wonders for our body and prevent or cure a variety of ailments. The best part is that they taste great and are surprisingly inexpensive. 

I enjoy eating them raw however, they are used to make jams and juices. It can be stewed with brown sugar and ginger to make jam. You could even run it in the blender with water, sugar and a tiny bit of ginger to make an excellent juice. 

All this talk about Otaheite apples has worked up my appetite. Bye for now, see you all on my next blog.

Keep Faith And Do Your Job

I know I am being irrational,
But I can’t seem to form a rational thought
I can see that I need to be brave,
But I can’t seem to find the courage
I know the problem is small,
But I can’t help finding it insurmountable

How do I overcome this state of mind?
How can I find a way past this hurdle?
How can I see past this fear that is blocking my sight?

Subconsciously I asked God for help.
Subconsciously I chanted his name asking for guidance.
Subconsciously I heard his answer to keep the faith and do my job.

My Budding Love For Photography

They say A picture is worth a thousand words. We can easily convey our emotions and moods with images in situations where words fail us. This thought motivated me to take up photography as a hobby. I imagined that I could capture the complete mood of the scene through my lens, and I only needed to aim and shoot.

I bought a few books to learn the art of taking great pictures and practised with an old SLR camera that we had.  I diligently learnt about focal length, aperture, shutter speed etc. Read about how to use filters, different lenses for different effects. Tried to practice taking pictures. I encountered only limited success and became disillusioned by the process.

Call me daft, but the science involved behind a good picture flew over my head. I ditched the SLR and picked up a DSLR, thinking that it would make things easier. I was initially met with limited success, and my shots were average. The lenses and filters needed to take great pictures were very expensive. I did not invest much for expensive equipment due to my weak photography skills. I tried to practice more with my existing equipment for as long as I could. Despite my shaky hands and limited knowledge of light and photography, I took amateurs pics like the ones below.

With the latest smartphones, I feel like a professional photographer now. They come filled with a wide variety of features and settings that do not require any filters and knowhow. Here are a few photos I took with my smartphone

It is safe to say that for me, photography is more of a skill than an art form. A talent, I am not able to master, yet I needn’t give up on my love for it as long as we have smartphones.

Beauty Of Tiny Homes

Of late I have been binge-watching the “Living Big in a Tiny House” video series by Bryce Langston. A tiny house is typically 120 sq ft or less. When I first heard about tiny houses, it did not make any sense to me. I wondered how all the furniture and appliances of an 800 to 1000 sq ft house, could fit into a tiny house. The concept did not appeal to me. However, the more videos I watched, the more I understood why so many people prefer a tiny house.

Some tiny- home owners say that it is the cost factor that encouraged them; the cost of building a tiny house is much lower than a regular-sized house. The cost of a tiny house can range from $10,000 to $150,000. The cost depends on the kind of materials used, the design and the additional features added.

For some, a tiny house is a way to diminish their carbon footprint. They don’t mind replacing a regular toilet with a composting toilet in their house. They make clever use of things that were discarded by others. Often, these repurposed materials look very artistic and impressive. Solar panels are used for electricity, to sustain an off-grid living. I have also seen a few people build marvellous systems for rain-water harvesting. Some have even created a biogas digester too. Greywater treatment systems are also incorporated by a lot of these enthusiastic homeowners. It is absolutely amazing to see the effort that they have put in to save the planet.

A large majority of tiny houses are on wheels. The house can be taken wherever you go. This freedom is another reason for the rise in popularity of tiny houses. Their love for the outdoors is so great that they are ready to make any sacrifice.

Image Of A Tiny Home From the Show ‘Living Big In A Tiny House’

The dimensions of the tiny house are very important. There are rules regulating the tiny houses but these rules vary from place to place. If someone were driving under a bridge, the height of the house becomes very important. You understand the reasoning, right?
Whatever be the reason for opting a tiny house, one thing in common: it’s important to downsize the lifestyle. This means, only the bare essentials stay and the rest have to go.

Storage space in a tiny house, I’ve noticed, are designed very skillfully. Every item of furniture or fixture has multiple functions. The seating areas have a hollow space underneath to store things. The staircase is made of a set of cupboards or they may have some other arrangement to store things. Collapsible tables and couches that can be pulled open into a bed. These are some common design elements. Almost all the tiny houses have a loft above, that is generally a bedroom space. In some cases, this is even an office space or a lounge to sit and relax while watching T.V.

Bryce Langston himself has a marvellous tiny house that he designed and built for himself. I thoroughly enjoy watching his videos. I am blown away by the creativity of some people to convert an old school bus, or a train coach, an old truck or a shipping container into a tiny home. One guy built his house, using completely reclaimed timber, tin sheets and an old trailer on a large permaculture farm.

Finally, I can say that I changed my attitude towards tiny houses after binge-watching Bryce Langston’s videos. Even though I can’t see myself living in a tiny house, I have a lot of respect, admiration and awe for those who do.

Disclaimer: All Above Images Are Taken From The Show Living Big In A Tiny House

Beauty Is Not Just Skin Deep

We have all heard the age-old adage, beauty is only skin deep. It is a way of saying that external beauty is superficial and true beauty comes from the heart. It was drilled into us when we were young and impressionable. It was taught to us, not to be deceived by the charm of a person, but we should learn to see the honesty behind the facade. We should all strive to be good-natured, hard-working, honest and loving to succeed. Then, why did I title my post as ‘beauty is not skin deep’??

As a child, I might have accepted this lesson, but in actuality, the matter is not straight forward. Beauty is not just about having lustrous skin, clear complexion, slim physique, glossy hair, perfect posture, excellent bone structure etc. These are the parameters used by many to decide on beauty standards. But, to achieve these standards of beauty, we require more strength and character than we realise. To appear beautiful and maintain this image over a while, a person needs to make an effort, both mentally and physically.

Our health and inner emotional turmoil can be kept hidden, yet they manage to find a way to reveal themself. Our eyes, appearance of wrinkles, pimples, skin texture, hair quality, weight, posture will give away our state of mind and impact our beauty. Lustrous skin that is free of acne and wrinkles is a dream for most women and men. Every time we have mood swings or stress, our skin ages by a year. Lack of sufficient water can add to skin problems. Hair fall, oily scalp, dull, lifeless, thin and damaged hair are a result of sudden stress, emotional upheavals, bad sleep and bad eating habits. While we correct our posture, the way we walk or sit can be controlled with exercise, yet close observation will reveal any tensions or depression.

With these indicators ready to give away our state of mind and body, can we honestly say beauty is only skin deep? Beauty treatments, spa sessions and cosmetic surgeries can only do so much to hide the truth. A balanced diet, stress-free mind, good exercise, proper water consumption can do more to our beauty than we imagine.

Drinking at least 4 litres of water every day keeps our body hydrated. Water flushes out most toxins and gives us glowing, clear skin. Rigorous exercise for 30 mins daily helps us sweat out toxins, burns the extra fat and tones the muscles while it gets rid of stress in the mind. Regular meditation and deep breathing techniques remove tension in the muscles and help us relax. A balanced diet with the right amounts of fat, carbs, protein and minerals goes a long way in improving our physique and posture.

The suggestions I have made are not revolutionary concepts. They are not novel concepts that we never tried. Yet, we often overlook the importance of such simple activities that make a vast sea of change. I hope that I have reminded you to get back into these habits daily. I am sure many of you have many more simple tricks that help you daily. Feel free to share them with us and help others too.

How True Are Our Prayers?

“Atmasuddhi leni acaramadi ela ?
bhandasuddhileni pakamela
chittasuddhileni Sivapujalelara ?
visvadabhirama vinura Vema !”

This poem was written by Yogi Vemana. Yogi Vemana is a famous Telugu ascetic. He wrote a series of poems that spread wisdom, morality, and ethics based on the social fabric of south Indian society in the 17th-century. His poems highlighted the flaws and inconsistencies in society in his times. Sadly, they are relevant in society today as well. The above verse is close to my heart, I hope you see the wisdom in it too.

This verse in Telugu, speaks about wholeheartedly understanding and supporting your beliefs. Vemana points out the futility of your faith when your heart and mind is not invested in it. He tells that there is no sense in following the ceremonies when the heart and soul are not invested in it. It is the same as cooking a fancy meal in a dirty kitchen with soiled utensils and impure ingredients. He questions you about the purpose of all your prayers when your intentions are not genuine.

This poem rings true in most of the current situations that the world is facing. We have laws, constitutional rights, being used and abused to serve evil intents and purposes. We also see god’s gospel is misused to spread the wrong message. People are following the rule of law in word, not in spirit. We see people offer insincere apologies, offer assistance that will only hurt you more than it helps or offer a helping hand while pulling the rug from under you.