Family, Food For Thought, Inpsiration, Journal, My Past, Myself

365 Days

And just like that  a year has passed. Papa. I would have never thought I wouldn’t hear your voice again or that not see you comb your hair right before a picture. I hear you in my head. You  enjoyed life, and made it your mission to be silly and make others laugh, and I catch myself doing the same. I refuse to be melancholy or be sad every day because that is not my way to honoring you. It still isn’t easy accepting it, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Each morning in the Gurudwara, I acknowledge that I miss you, and then move forward and keep you in mind as I practice law, and do the things you wished for all of us. I regret that I didn’t get more time, but then again, the time we had been so wonderful that I count myself blessed.

One thing is clear that in the year you have been gone, I am different, but in a good way. Your absence a constant reminder that I get to honor you not drown myself in self-pity. I gotta tell you, it hasn’t been easy. The house of laughter you created had fewer laughs, but we are your children, and we have managed a few. Not much, but a few. And then there will be more laughter, more silliness, more love for music. more Ziba Music because you ensured you left a legacy with your family.

So although it’s been 365 days, not a single one has passed without you in our hearts and minds.

Papa Loves You.

Sanjay Loves You

Food For Thought, Inpsiration, My Past, Myself

Checking In

If you are friends with me on Facebook then you have recently seen an upsurge in my Yelp check ins.I always check in with a tinge of shame and guilt. The shame is usually that I feel as if I am bragging about what a great life I have, and guilt that perhaps I shouldn’t be posting so much. And why Yelp?  First off, it’s because I only check into places I enjoy and want others to have the same experience, and secondly any commentary I put there is because I want the people I am with know how much their company means to. These past few days have meant a lot as I was lucky enough to meet so many I care about.

Then there are also the non-yelp moments where I couldn’t check in.  A beautiful one hour conversation with an old friend in New York.  We have managed to keep going for almost two decades this way. And watching Star Wars on Kodi and then breaking into tears as I missed my father intensely to the self-loathing I feel for not doing more to better my life. The anger from an argument where it felt easier to blame another when in fact, they are a mirror into my life.

So don’t just look at the check ins and picture a wondrous life because the reality is that while the check ins are happy moments, they are plenty of emotional states one doesn’t get to see.

My Past, Myself

Emotional Writing

an-opportunity-to-rebuild-yourselfI have been blessed to be part of a great writers critique group (The Long Beach Writer’s Critique Group) that has helped me to want to continue writing.  One small change that I made last year was to submit more often to the group. Initially, I was hesitant because like most writers, I had the fear that my writing was not good enough. Although the feeling has not gone away, the feedback I have received from the group has made my writing exponentially better.

That still has not changed the fact that I am a “pantser” (one who writes without an outline) or, in my case, someone who looks at a blank page and has no idea what is going to come out. So last week, I volunteered to submit a piece, and at first, it started with me describing my brain bleed which then got me to a dear mentors death due to anesthesia which took me to the deeper hole about my stroke then to my jaw surgery in high school and then to my cornea transplant, and suddenly I had pages and pages filled in and I couldn’t take a breath. The words poured out, and what started out as a simple essay about a simple surgery (I thought) suddenly choked me, and I froze.

I have heard about emotional writing, but never experienced it in this manner until now. What seemed easy suddenly became the hardest things as it hit me that there is so much I have not dealt with. So much stuff I just bottled up and treated it as if it was in the past, and then the old quote came up(paraphrased here): “those who do not learn from their past are doomed to repeat it..” So hit me that as much as it hurts, I have to keep writing. If for nothing else, just so I can finally know what emotions are still there.

 

Cancer, My Past, Myself

The Stench of Self-Pity Part 1

Is there a better feeling than waking up to the quietness of a beautiful morning?  When the eyes are still closed, but inside you feel full of gratitude and love for all that is in your life?  Think I am full of shit? Few years ago, I would have agreed and perhaps even said that I was just trying to be a creative writer.  Yet, last year around this time is when I was still recovering from my brain surgery and prior to that, my wife’s illness and then before that a stroke  around the time a loss of a dear dear friend reverberated through  my soul. So I could say life was not fair. I could have whined, and been angry.  And honestly, I did. I cannot even read some of the stuff I wrote around that time because the stench of self-pity suffocates me.  I felt so sorry for myself that I engaged in soul deadening behaviors like avoidance, and pretending all was well. I stopped reading, writing or really doing anything that gave me true joy. I fought with people in my life with such a vengeance as if it was their fault my life was where it was.

I probably would have continued if some of the strangest things came together to salvage who I used to be. It began with a subscription to The New Yorker. I have been buying books all my life, and there are always piles of unread books surrounding my homes, but subscribing to the New Yorker was a new commitment for me. I had no idea that each week, a magazine that was extremely well written with VERY long articles would come to my doorstep.  Each and every single fucking week. So I began reading. Around the same time, a forwarded You Tube link of BK Shivani’s “Healer Within” caught my eye.  At first, I was uncomfortable with the Indian accents, but her words struck me into submission with their clarity and accuracy.  I also began doing Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way as well as doing Lumosity brain games while trying to learn Spanish (still struggling).

I didn’t realize at the time, but I had begun constructing a new me….

To Be Continued….

My Past, Myself, Random, Ziba

Music

Anokha – Soundz of the Asian Underground
Anokha – Soundz of the Asian Underground (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These past few weeks, I have started to delve into my playlists again, and realized that I have become stagnant.  Each playlist is a compilation of the same songs as well some new albums that I thought were interesting.  My playlists are the height of my laziness. I no longer hand-pick the songs. Instead, I am content believing others that this is relevant music.  Worse, I have even tried to convince myself, yet the playlists have become dustbins of music that I wish I liked but don’t really.  Just like me to rationalize that all recommended music is something I want to listen to.

Are they all bad?  Of course not! It’s my lack of willingness to sit through music so I can fall in love with it. Instead, I rather cursorily go through it, and added them nonchalantly.  So there the music has languished and so has my willingness to engage with it. In the process, I completely stopped listening to music.  Period.  I didn’t quite miss it till much recently as I began writing. I felt something was missing.  Music has always been my soundtrack, the thing in the back that goads me to keep punching these keys. It takes me on flights of fancies, and remembrances. Listening to some of the original playlists, I see how each track meant something to me, a bookmark for a particular person, time, or event.  Some had instrumentation that shook me like A.R Rahman‘s theme music for the movie “Bombay” while others like Talvin Singh‘s “Jaan” featuring the ethereal voice of Amar hit into my soul.  Each song had personal meaning or connection.  They were friends.  They were there when I needed them.  Yet. I had abandoned them so thoughtlessly. So now I am back on Spotify, You Tube, Podcasts, looking for music that will feed me.  That will make me dance across this page, keep me sustained as well as entertained.

A tad romanticized? Of course, what would music be if we didn’t add our own meaning to it?

Jaan By Talvin Singh Featuring Amar

Kehnde Ne Naina- Devika (Reshma Cover)

Journal, My Past, Myself

Oversharing

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

I talk too much. I post too much. I tend to do everything too much that pleases me, and when I do something that pleases me, I like to share it. I never thought much about how it affects other people. I just know how I feel, and when something moves me, I like to forward it to people who I think would benefit from me.  A friend of mine advised that perhaps of just blindly forwarding, I explain why I am forwarding to that particular person, because to some it may just look like over sharing.  I know I am struggling with things personally, and I have an inkling that others are too. I just read something that hit me, we are all bozos on a bus.  We all pretend that we are OK when we talk to each other, saving our real feelings only for a few or none.  I lived that life, and it got me an unhappy life.

Yet, my friend has a point. If I quietly forward an email or share on Facebook, what will that person get out of it?  I guess I am afraid of offending them. “Does he really think I need help with exercise?” or “Who does he think he is telling me about depression.”  I create their response in my head and so I forward in silence because I am too afraid to really tell the person what I feel.  It’s also because I am afraid of being rejected if I reach out to the person.  Or it could be that I have this tendency to want to tell people how to live their lives.

I don’t know when I became so afraid when before I would blurt out whatever came to my head.  That also got me in trouble because I usually ended up revealing something about someone that probably shouldn’t have been shared.  That’s been my problem my whole life. I either over share, don’t share enough, or not at all.  I am struggling with my own thoughts and feelings on a constant basis. I realize how whiny this post may seem to some, but I’d rather share than err on the side of not really being myself.  So you’re gonna have to bear with me while I share because I’d rather been seen as a oversharer” than someone who did nothing.

That does not mean I will forward blindly, but if you do happen to get a forward from me that’s not a joke, perhaps, just perhaps I am trying to say something to you politely, or just reach out to you in my way.  If its unwelcome, tell me, but no matter what, tell me something, anything rather than the deafening silence I continually face in my forwarding marathons.

0333-2