Thriving Mindfully

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Who is a friend?

‘Oh no, not again!’ I hear my little five-year old neighbour shout out in anguish.

I don’t need to peep out of the window to know what’s spoiling her evening. I’ve seen her grow into the angel she is. I know each inflection, every giggle, every whimper of her animated self.

I go to my backyard and get a long bamboo stick. I open the front door, and she’s already there, waiting for me.

She needn’t speak.

I prop up the stick and reach for the shuttle-cock stuck on the flower-studded Champa tree by the street. After some poking in the lush canopy, the florescent shuttle cock falls down in tandem with the little girl’s squeal.

She is back at play with her mother on the street. Her reclusive mom wonders about this telepathic understanding between her daughter and me.

While at play I hear her tell her mother,

‘I told you. He will come to help. He is my friend!’

And that gets me wondering too.
When did we become friends?
What does it mean to be a friend anyway?

Soon, I realised the most sincere of definitions of a friend.

‘A friend is someone who cares about something with the same love and passion as you do.’

Think about it.

The interruption in play from the stuck shuttle cock is as much a matter of concern for the little girl as it is to me. We both care about the continuance of childlike play.

And I come out to help.

And we are friends!

We both find it inconceivable to not dance in the first shower of rain.
We care about the experience equally.
And we are friends.
Without ever needing to say a word.

A childhood friend cares about you almost to the same degree as you care about yourself.
Your emotion for them is exactly the same.
There’s an element of truth in that relentless reciprocity.

This mirrored magic of caring is what sustains childhood friendships for a lifetime.

If you make a friend later in life, chances are you are interested in similar things. You care about the similar political and philosophical ideas. You are passionate about the same thing in some manner.
Or you make something with them in some work context. And that leads you to care about a common idea or product or art.

The hours spent together, help coalesce your conceptions of friendship and soon, you start opening up to each other.

All friendship is a measure of how much we care about the same thing.
All brotherhood is a deed in trust.

Sometimes going out in search of friends doesn’t help.

All one can do is open up to care.
Care for someone, or something, or an idea with deep passion.
And let a friendship manifest around that commonality of care.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make a friend.

Sometimes all you have to do, is to make the stuck shuttle cock fall down from a tree.

Once you’ve done that enough times, a little girl might call you a friend.

Is there an honour bigger than that?

With that thought, I wish you a happy friendship day!

On realizing a higher self

Today I was going through an old journal. About three years ago on a particular page I had listed down what I what I wanted to be in future. One of my desires was to be a writer. But I didn’t have the understanding about the element of writing consistently. And the desire reeled in inertia for a few years.
However, about an year ago, I realized that the surest way to be a good writer is to write consistently. So, I cultivated the habit of writing every single day no matter what. Even if I failed in the process, I chose to get back to the streak of writing. And before I knew, I was writing better, because I was writing everyday.

I realized that we often set ‘being’ goals for ourselves. I want to be a chef, a gymnast, a banker, an architect…
What helps though is to have the ‘doing’ goals. An aspiring chef should cook mindfully everyday.
A budding writer should write every day and learn from better writers.
A wishful entrepreneur should take initiatives and responsibilities every day.
The consistent act of ‘doing’ something is the surest way to realize all of one’s ‘being’ goals.
And one should never forget that in the end it is all about being remembered as a good human being. Cultivating kindness and compassion in everyday life coupled with consistent practice of one’s craft will surely help one realize his highest possible self.

On loving like a child

Today morning I was walking around in the forest. I saw my four year old friend a bit further away from me. He was walking his new puppy around. Both of them were in a joyous mood of discovery.
My friend started humming a simple melody to express his happiness. He had a new puppy after all!
His world couldn’t have been any better !
It was a sight to behold.

I too started repeating the melody behind him. His eyes lit up as he heard someone sing exactly what he was singing. He kept on singing and I kept on singing back.
Curiously he started walking along with the puppy in the my direction.
Once he got past the outgrowth of the forest he saw me humming along.
He was delighted. He kept on singing as I kept on repeating his melody.

With glimmer in his eyes he asked me, ‘What is your name?’

‘My name is Sreenath.’

‘Sreenath, I love you’ he expressed.

His puppy found place in his lap and he started singing again, walking towards his hut.

I just stood there wondering,
‘ If only we could love each other for the little things, the small kind actions, a modicum of care,
And express them like a child, with effort less flair
We would be such a loving brotherhood!

On Falling…

As kids, when we were learning to walk, we fell down almost at every other step. It was certain that we will fail within moments. That did not deter our innate wisdom. We got up to face another failure. Because deep inside we realized that success can only stand strong on the bedrock of multiple failures.
Every child knows this law of nature.

But at some point in our childhood, we become myopic about how we look at failure. We fail to reassure ourselves about impending success along a road rife with failures.
We lose the big picture.
In fact, we’re embarrassed about our failures!

And alas, as we deliberately avoid failure, we inevitably lose prospects of any success.
We fear falling,

But, falling is beautiful!
It indeed is.
Why else do we have the phrase ‘to fall in love?’ One has to fall without inhibition to experience this glorious emotion. There’s much to learn as we fall and rise up in life.

If we preserve the faith in falling,
In failing
Resolve to stand up every time we fall,
Then, there’s only success,
Only emancipation.