Where all efforts cease
and the desperate fights are put to rest.
The menacing chaos meets peace
and grants a halt to its aggressive quest.
You no longer have to pretend it doesn’t hurt,
coz you know the pain will be back in waves.
But tonight you’ll sleep like a fallen leaf under the dirt.
Unseen. Undisturbed. Still, as in the graves.
So what if life is slipping away?
Your desperate hold on life is strangling it anyway.
So relax for now and let the surgeons play,
You’ll get to fight your own fight every other day.
You’ll hear faint voices from time to time,
calling out your name from miles afar.
Like a loud church bell sometimes or sweet mumbles of chime,
making it sound sinister and bizarre.
Where darling you don’t complain of the ultimate distress.
Despite the oxygen feeder choking your throat.
So what if poking needles and entangled saline pipes are in a mess,
you got a handful of nights to stay peacefully afloat.
Where you know it’s a story of your perseverance
and not of punctured nerves and neat stitches.
For you will see all but scars in reminiscence
and the resilience against life’s ugly glitches.
So when the fight gets tough, come over my friend
into the renowned realm of sedatives.
A no-man’s land in world’s end
unflatteringly sung about in poesies.
As she watched nature weaving it’s own wordless poetry,
her heart fluttered with ecstasy and soul beamed.
And while the playful breeze tingled her senses
she wrote as she walked on the exotic beach.
She felt like the ocean, her roars creating music.
Fathomless and serene.
One who knows she will have her share of storms,
and yet nurses calmness on the surface and within.
She ran along the woods
soaking in glitters of sunshine filtered through the trees.
And smiling wickedly at the surrounding wilderness,
she crowned herself ‘the queen’ with a tiara made of blossoms and leaves.
She knew she was magic incarnate.
Fiercely independent, passionate and free.
An embodiment of elation and peace.
Like the unshackled bird, singing as she flies in glee.
Waking up to the familiar pain shooting through his neck
and a grumbling stomach put through endless tortures by time travel juice,
ignoring the mind numbing headache
his eyes transfixed to those rolling empty bottles effortlessly trying to seduce.
As his lustful lips longed for a sip of the poison
driving him ill at ease,
his parched throat let out a pained groan
begging for his thirst to appease.
Crawling his way to the well stashed bar in the living room
he felt like a stubborn and naive kid.
As he dragged himself thoughtlessly towards his doom
he yearned for nothing but from his burning thirst getting rid.
Right when he wrapped his fingers round the bottle of ill fame
to quench the thirst that understood no bargain,
he heard the voice of his deceased beau calling out his name
from a far corner of the outstretched garden.
Stumbling and falling every few steps on his way outside,
as he ran clumsily towards the voice of his sweetheart,
the distance kept growing with every step forward
and he felt his insides into a thousand pieces being ripped apart.
Screaming his heart out as he squandered whatever remaining zeal
he ultimately gave up on existance and the willingness to live.
And as if to quench his thirst and fulfill his dying wish
a drop of dew sitting atop a grass blade brushed upon his lips.
Thinking about finally joining his beloved in God’s abode above or under,
seconds before the soul’s departure he was washed over with bliss.
And counting his final breaths he smiled like a baby in deep slumber
letting the fact sink in that the dew drop was life’s ultimate goodbye kiss.
Written by Victor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning is “a classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust”. I still can’t believe that I laid my hands on such a remarkable and fantastic work. It is the kind of book that possesses the power to turn one’s life around. It would pick your broken pieces and give you the psychological tools to get the pieces back in place and redeem your life all at once. I feel like I read it in one breath. And now that it’s over I feel like I’m earnestly and almost thirstily breathing an air better than the one before I beheld the book. One filled with freshness and hope. It would make you appreciate your life and be thankful for the problems you have encountered, however brutal they once felt like. I highly recommend it to all the readers and non-readers as well. Good news for non-readers is that it is a quick read and would leave a chip on the back of your head, that would give a direction to your life.
Countless works have been produced in order to help us find the purpose of our lives and lead a life of meaning and example. But, only a few such as this have had the power to reach deep into one’s soul and impacting us in ways we had been promised. It is a book of modest volume and can be easily read in one sitting. However the impression it would leave on you would undoubtedly last a lifetime. Life is a one time opportunity, yet many of us give up when the times are tough. This book would, in many ways, make your problems seem too trivial to put your life at halt for. It would introduce your own strengths to you. Trust me when I say that it is one of it’s kind in survival literature.
Victor E. Frankl was a professor at Vienna Medical School where he taught neurology and psychiatry until his death in 1997. He remains a much revered hero of many. And the book having sold more than 12 million copies, speaks for itself. It more or less, reminded me of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. What is common to both is their way of getting the readers emotionally involved and leaving us with the feeling that we have personally experienced some of their grief and hence we understand what they are speaking of. Along with the numerous accounts of the horrors faced by the author, there also are lessons of life spoken with such passion and positiveness in the face of unimaginable adversities, that leave the reader with nothing but respect and admiration for the survivor. One of the biggest lessons here is to deal with every situation with the best of your faculties, for we can’t control the situations but our attitudes. In Frankl’s words “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
The book is divided into two parts. The first part comprises of an autobiographical story where Frankl gives accounts of his depressing and painful life at different Nazi concentration camps during World War II, including at Auschwitz. While the prisoners were treated like animals with no identity, many of them couldn’t stand the physical and emotional torture. Yet there were many, who kept the virtues of humanity flaming within and denied to become what was expected of them. They chose to stick to their lives as respectable humans with empathy and zeal. Frankl has presented many such instances where he empathizes with others and happily puts in little possible efforts from his side so as to help his fellow inmates. In the second part of the book he introduces to the readers the concept of Logotherapy and then onward we are introduced to numerous other technical terms and application of the therapy in different spheres of life.
Having a Psychologist in the family, I have come across some beautiful and astounding techniques of Psychotherapy. So, perhaps that was the reason I saw Logotherapy in a clearer light and absolutely loved the vivid descriptions of real life implications. However, it is absolutely fine if you don’t want to bother yourself with the statistics, therapeutic descriptions or findings included in the later part of the book.
If I am asked to give out my favorite parts, I would end up writing down the whole book here. For each page had something brilliant to offer. Laced with helplessness was a shimmer of hope, which kept Frankl going. At a point of time, a thought transfixed him. That love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. And he concluded that “The salvation of man is through love and in love.” While his life was falling apart he created his wife’s image in his mind with much acuteness and clung to it as if his life depended upon it. It was a beautiful and touching part.
There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is meaning in one’s life. There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Another part that left me awed was the story of Death in Teheran, and the way the Author compared it to the ill fate that his inmates faced later.
A rich and mighty Persian once walked in his garden with one of his servants. The servant cried that he had just encountered Death, who had threatened him. He begged his master to give him his fastest horse so that he could make haste and flee to Teheran, which he could reach that same evening. The master consented and the servant galloped off on the horse. On returning to his house the master himself met Death, and questioned him, “Why did you terrify and threaten my servant?” “I did not threaten him; I only showed surprise in still finding him here when I planned to meet him tonight in Teheran,” said Death.
While going through the photographs which had been taken at a different camp, the author stumbled across the images of partially charred bodies of his friends who had then thought that they were traveling to freedom, the night they were loaded into a truck and taken to another camp. But actually were locked in huts and set on fire. Frankl reflected upon the fact that how fickle human decisions can bring major impacts upon the destiny. How fate had toyed with him and the remaining prisoners who got to live.
In the whole story, there are umpteen accounts of death. Somewhere, someone is dying every once in a while. And yet, the essence of LIFE has been so well propagated through it. In the later part of the book where Logotherapy has been discussed, many other aspects have been brought to light. The meaning of life, love and suffering could not have been explained any better, in such short an excerpt.
And ah, what profound ending.
“So, let us be alert-alert in a twofold sense:
Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.
And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.”
If you are a fan of Classics but not strong enough to ignore the new arrivals altogether, I think it is wise to set some ground rules so that your mind is spared the homicidal battles within. After finishing a new favorite, go back to an old one. Alternate your precious time equally between the two. Life is too short to miss out on all the great works that have been produced. You may thank me later nerds 😉
A week back, with the release of the movie starring Tom Hanks and Irrfan Khan I was taken aback by the fact that I had not read the book Inferno by Dan Brown. Needless to say that in readers community it is considered a deplorable crime to watch the movie first, keeping the book to be attended later. But then mixed feelings of regret and relief donned on me when I found Dante’s Inferno in the book shelf at home. Without any further adieu I hopped on the bed with a mug of hot chocolate and wrapped in my cozy blanket started devouring this epic work by Dante Alighieri written in the 14th Century. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighiery, ‘INFERNO’ – A verse translation by Allen Mandelbaum. If you are a lover of poetry, you can’t ignore a work of such rare perfection. It is a book of modest volume, but I suggest that you read it for as long as you can. Absorb each dialogue with sincere admiration and a hawk’s eye. That is where the fun lies. Devour the fine details with the best of your faculties.
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem that was presumably written in the period 1308-1320. While Dante was in exile he wrote three volumes of it, Inferno, Purgutario and Paradiso. Inferno is the narration of the journey that Dante undertakes down the hell. Guided by the Roman poet Virgil, he fearlessly embarks through numerous circles of hell, 9 to be exact. Each circle represents a sin, and the damned souls are trapped there for eternity. The three beasts he encounters represent three kinds of sinners, the self-indulgent, the malicious and the violent. The circles or sins are of lust, anger, gluttony, avarice, violence, fraud, treachery, those who ignored the existence of Christ and those who confused others about the idea of Christ. As Dante passes each circle he meets people known to him as well as strangers. The dialogues they exchange are insightful I must say. Each sin that has been described is exceptionally realistic and is explained to Dante either by Virgil or the sinners themselves.
The beauty of this book is that it is a dual language edition and comes with explanatory notes at the back. Don’t go on if you are not getting the plot. Read once, twice, thrice, as many times as you feel like. Take it slow and read with patience. If you feel like you are not just ready, drop it for a while. This is not another easy going novel you can take with you to read by the beach while your friends are howling around. It is the kind that you read in the silent confines of your room. Give it time and exclusive attention. Give it love, and it will reflect the same.
I’m screaming it loud and clear. VISUALIZE everything you read. Every single dialogue. That is one rule you have to strictly stick by.
Come, have a good look at hell.
And yeah, don’t get all serious while reading it. I personally couldn’t help smirking every now and then. It is a blend of both horror and humor, so of course both are meant to be felt. There are times you will have a sinking feeling for yourself, but then you may have some fun imagining people you don’t like, damned to hell. Dante is brilliantly imaginative in devising ways for torturing his enemies. You may have your own opinions during the journey, which may make you question the perfection of Dante’s work, but it is absolutely fine. The uneasiness and restlessness that comes with it is absolutely worth it. This book is outrageously diplomatic, philosophical and political at the same time. Dante has sent to hell real people. Daring, eh? One thing that took me by surprise is finding his beloved teacher Brunetto Latini in hell, convicted of sodomy( canto XV ). Seems like God( as per Dante’s assumptions) wasn’t that open minded regarding sex during the 14th century. Homosexuality? Nu-uh.
Dante doesn’t cease to amaze the reader, despite the aforementioned scene or a couple others that may make us raise brows. But come on, it was written 7 centuries back. We can be sensible enough to ignore the difference in mindsets and enjoy the book as a literary blessing for once, right?
In case it makes you feel any better, in canto XX the fortune tellers were damned(*chuckles* which serves them so damn right) and were condemned to walk with their heads turned backwards, restricting them from knowing what lies ahead, since this is precisely what they had done all their life, creating fear of the unknown in the minds of people.
It is the kind of book that gives you a bad hangover. The kind that nerds would kill to experience. Can’t wait to lay my hands on the other two volumes. Take my word for it folks, at one point in life you will be ready for this book. And when you are, it will be one hell of a read.
They said she could never create music
for she wasn’t gifted with hands.
But they were deluded
for they only saw that she was physically impaired,
and not the burning passion within that flamed her desires.
‘My body is simply a machine that takes my commands’ she said
pacing frantically through the lush green grass.
‘I give the orders, not take them’
cried her chirpy heart.
And she hopped over the piano,
creating sensational music
and uproar among the men she belied.
Despite the odds she lived her dreams
and left on the pages of history a substantial benchmark
to remind the world not to give up on their dreams even in the darkest hour.
As they say Prevention is better than cure. Creating healthy habits in your 20s not only helps you feel responsible for the state of your mind and body but also flushes you with ample confidence. Needless to say that yoga tops the chart when it comes to healthy habits for a stress-free life. Whatever activities we indulge in, whatever thoughts and emotions we generate are indirectly shaping our future life. For we are like wet clay now, capable to be shaped as per our predilection. So go ahead and shape your life until it is too late and you are no more a flexible puddle of clay, rather a misshaped piece of pottery. 20 years down the line if you want to see yourself young, vibrant, intellectually sound and doing great in both your work place as well as your personal life you better start investing for that future you so desire.
In today’s scenario almost every other person you meet is a potential competitor and is working in one’s own way to meet personal goals and society’s expectations. Every person’s training starts in one’s domain ever since childhood. Acquiring skills and abilities in a particular field is no big deal. Every single person is doing just that. So instead of picking up the topic discussing the keys to success and achievements I decided to write about a more important issue-“mental and physical health”.
Busy in the hustle-bustle of city life people usually learn to live without the pleasures of brisk walks along dense tree-lines, sea-shores, lush green grass and even barefoot walk on damp earth. With this they are not only missing out on the little joys that life offers, but also they are killing the essence of human life by training themselves to act more and more like machines as time passes by. It is the screaming need of the hour to reconnect with the human inside you. You need to start nourishing your starving soul. You are not here to merely survive, but to take charge and mold your life the way you want.
Yoga is the most effective physical and mental exercise that would help you regain control over your life. The regular practitioners of yoga must be well aware of the fact that it slowly makes all small and big woes of life disappear. Like no back-aches or sore limbs even after working continuously for 12 hours, no dizziness, no more common cold or fever, no headaches and so on. In short, it keeps you maintain the body and mind of a child. Forever young, overflowing with energy and enthusiasm. Yoga includes asana, pranayama, meditation and chanting along with the physical exercises. These activities together ensure that a person stays sound in all aspects. The body, mind and spirit are given equal emphasis. And the overall results are reflected in the conduct of the yoga practitioner after a couple of months itself.
Overcoming stress, mental disorders, heart diseases, chronic colds, diabetes, emotional imbalance and numerous other health issues sucks all the joys of one’s life. Human mind and body are no doubt the best creations so far and they do not cease to surprise the world with the infinite possibilities they can stretch themselves to, far and wide. Human mind and body are to be celebrated. To be used as means to achieve heights and fulfill the purpose of our gifted lives.
Yoga helps a person in numerous ways. Starting from building up your muscle power, strength of bones, maintaining a healthy heart-rate, improving eye-sight, lowering blood-sugar, dropping blood-pressure etc it also helps a person win over ones addictions. A regular practitioner of yoga would never feel the need of external sources to get your mind off the stress or emotional distress. Drowning yourself in alcohol and pumping smoke and tar into your lungs would no more seem as an option you would undertake in case the ride goes rough. Life, the roller-coaster ride that it is, would keep adding twists and turns your way, occasionally adorned with speed barkers and surprisingly sharp highs and lows. But to enjoy the ride you need to keep your mind and body fit. And for fitness you need the healing magic of yoga. So do not delay it further and embrace yoga. Embrace good health. Embrace life 🙂
Dr. Spencer Johnson’s ‘One Minute Manager’ was the book I had picked up a couple of months back merely because of its modest volume. The college library was to be closed in a couple of hours and I wanted something I could finish in one sitting. However when I closed the book and headed out of the library in the evening I had a strange smile etched on my face. The feeling returned after I finished ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’. The similar feeling of relaxation and contentment.
I sometimes wonder how the RIGHT books find their way to me at the right time. Crawling close to me at the hour when I need them the most. However small a book maybe I would never commit the mistake of judging its effectiveness. For it may be a blessing in disguise, a turning point of your life, a simple answer to the question that had been killing you from inside.
‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ is the book I’ll recommend to all my readers. There is probably not a single soul who walks on earth free from the evils of change. Yeah, the question in discussion is CHANGE. Different people react to change in different ways. Every person has his unique way of dealing with change, be it good or bad. A few people take a bit longer than the average time to get used to the after-effects of the change, whereas a few are quicker than the rest, while the other unfortunate few deny to even acknowledge change and keep going in their old way until they are forced to admit it.
This magical book talks about embracing the changes and keep going. CHANGE is an inevitable part of life and no matter how much you dislike it you will be entitled to it over and over again. So, the point is if we are going to encounter something again and again in life why not befriend it? Fearing change only makes it worse. What matters in not how bad the change is, but how are attitude is.
Here co-author of the multi-million best seller ‘One Minute Manager’ Dr. Spenser Johnson has written a very deceptively short story which once read would stay with a person till the last breath. It is a simple yet powerful story which if implemented in real life may turn one’s life around. The compacted version of the story is-The faster you accept change and move on in life, the better. Keep the currents moving, for still water stagnates. And we definitely don’t want our life to stink. Do we?
I wish to sing a thousand songs on its fascinating beauty.
But the artistically carved pieces of rocks
hold my tongue in a bit of frenzy
for I seem to be lost in their hypnotizing beauty, my thoughts entangled in knots.
I wish to write a thousand sonnets on its enormity.
However the magnificence of these towering mountains
dwarfs my words and creative ability.
And a painful feeling of inefficacy is all that remains.
I wish to feel the depths of the oceans
but its fathomless pulchritude seems to drown me
with thoughts so elated but marked with a thousand fears
and I am left with no other option but to deny myself the touch of something I love to see.
I wish to dance to the beats of the wind.
But the fierceness of the wind would not let me perform
for the pace is too fast for my distressed soul.
And I can’t help but deny myself my heart’s desires for they seem too fancy and tiresome.
I wanted to start the new year doing something worthwhile. And picking this book on January 1st was no doubt the best decision I could have made.For I not only got a practical idea about how to make the best out of my life but also the key to happiness. I was somehow drawn to this particular book in the shelf, as if there was some hidden force that impelled me to read it in a single sitting. Believe me I could not put it down. Not that I wanted to, but it somehow magnetized me and would not let go.
The quest for the answers to a certain set of questions that I kept pondering over endlessly can finally get to rest. Now that I have the answers right on my palms in the face of this book ‘Conversations With God’ written by Neale Donald Walsch.
Like many of the other readers of this book I too am not sure whether God actually interacted with the author to give birth to this uncommon dialogue. However I am pretty sure that the source of this book is not spurious. And even if it is, should that concern us? Ask yourselves -is that going to bring any difference? I don’t think so. All I know is I have in my hands a manual that is going to help me lead my life in a lot better way than before. And believe me when I say that I have already started experiencing the results. Results that are astounding. Results that seemed impossible before. So instead of counting it among the counterfeit I suggest the readers to not judge this extraordinary book and simply try to absorb its teachings. Those if implemented with honesty may guarantee you a truly fulfilling and never complaining life.
Surprisingly I find myself beaming with energy all the time. I see myself accepting things as they are and trying to make whatever possible changes I can do at my own level to make things better. I no more blame God for the adverse situations and circumstances. I no more punish myself by straying away from things that give me joy( denial we have said to ourselves is goodness, but it is not). I no more stick to the stereotypical rules for ensuring happiness and success in life, for they didn’t work. And the new ways discussed in this book are so much practical and believe me they work magnificently.
I am so much overwhelmed by the tremendous results brought upon me by this book that I can not keep myself from writing my review on this beautifully woven masterpiece.
When asked by the author “How does God talk, and to whom?” the answer he received was- “I talk to everyone. All the time. The question is not to whom do I talk, but who listens?” God communicates to all of us in his own way. But so preoccupied we are with our everyday trifling issues that we fail to become worthy receptors for the messages he keeps transmitting our way.
This book is literally an attempt by God to spoon feed wisdom to the people on earth. I consider myself too fortunate and gifted to have this book find me in the right time, at the right place. I am still a student and everyday I keep adding to my knowledge and skills via the faculties of our college and the materials available in the library. And the lessons provided in this book seem no different. They are as practical and useful as studying engineering is. The only difference is that here the faculty is God and the subject is Mastering in Life Skills 🙂
God says that even the so called leaders, ministers, rabbis, priests, many of the books, even the Bible, Gita, Qu’ran and other sacred religious texts are not authoritative sources. Listen to YOUR FEELINGS. Do not accept what the crowd is following. Accept that which your heart complies. Do what you feel is right. There is no rule book that states what is right and what is wrong in God’s eyes. There are no restrictions on what you should do, think or feel. All that counts is the answer to the question- whether the act is Godly. That is whether it involves the highest, the clearest, the grandest thought and feeling on your part. In God’s own words “The highest thought is always that thought which contains joy. The clearest words are those words which contain truth. The grandest feeling is that feeling which you call love.”
God says that we are the creators of our own lives. Whatever happens is in accordance to what we think and feel. God is merely the observer who occasionally assists us in building up and experiencing our lives. The creator is US. Not the other way round. This illusion has being ruling our minds since centuries that God is the creator of our lives and everything that is to happen in our life has already been written beforehand, which we have no power to alter. Absolute nonsense. If you think that God is the decider of your life, you are hugely mistaken. We create our lives through the power that he has given us. Over time we have created the image of God as revengeful, judgmental and cruel. We fear God for we have been taught this ever since our childhood that God is supposed to be feared, to be bowed before, to be pleased through superficial materialistic things, to be prayed as frequently as possible. Speaking from my personal experience ever since I learned talking I was made to memorize a number of Sanskrit shlokas and mantras whose meaning I was not aware of then, and am very sure that my parents and grandparents who taught me those must not be knowing the exact meanings of all the words they made me memorize painstakingly. As I kept growing I was made to memorize longer versions of these prayers which I was supposed to chant two times a day during the everyday Hindu ritual known as Puja performed before sunrise and sunset respectively. Even though these are traditional ways of pleasing God( not just one but all the forms of God; with different ways for pleasing respective forms of the almighty) we must reflect upon it at least once before blindly continuing our age old customs. Through Neale God has very clearly mentioned that he does not want to be prayed and pleased. What he wants from us is to create our lives in such grand way that even he gets to applaud on our creative, loving and thoughtful performance. God is no doubt a creative being( the result is this vast and unrealistically beautiful universe) and we being his pupils must follow his lead and create our lives in such a beautiful and uncommon way that he feels that yes, his children have inherited some of the qualities of their creator.
We must not live under the constant fear of doing something wrong and ending up in hell, for God says that HELL does not exist. It is the creation of our overly active imagination. Hence we must not fear doing something that God would consider Paap and would ultimately condemn us to hell. For there can be no parent so ruthless as to subject ones own offspring to a plight so terrible and inhumanely.
One more important thing covered in this book is the concept that has been elaborately discussed in Rhonda Byrne’s book ‘The Secret’. The concept of power of attraction. Our soul is the sum total of every feeling we have ever created. In God’s words “The process of creation starts with thought-an idea, conception, visualization.” So keep your thought process on check. If you are thinking about negative things, feeling negative emotions like anger, distress, jealousy, anguish etc pause for a moment and reverse the thoughts or feelings. It may initially be tough but eventually you will get used to being optimistic and creating feelings only happy and comforting. The universe responds to your thoughts and feelings in a way so powerful that it almost seems unrealistic. If you keep saying to yourself that you hate your life and that you are no good, you will actually remain no good and the universe will make sure that you keep hating your life. This is how the law of attraction works. Keep feeling grateful for all that you have and you will be rewarded with abundance. You will be rewarded with all things pleasing and beautiful.
“Your thought about yourself is that you are not good enough, not wondrous enough, not sinless enough, to be part of God, in partnership with God. You have denied for so long Who you are that you have forgotten WHO YOU ARE.”
God says that we are his/her equal. For we possess the same powers that he has. We are the creators of our own lives.
After reading this book, and the other two volumes in the series I felt complete. I felt truly educated and ready to take on my life to its peak..slowly, smoothly. This book is a true masterpiece and I would recommend it to all the people I know, for I know that everyone is searching for these answers somewhere.