Posts Tagged Happiness
My fondness for Harry Potter series is no secret. Granted, I hopped on the bandwagon much later than many others I know, but that surely didn’t take away from the love I have for the books. And as much as I whine about how the movies aren’t at par with the books, I enjoy watching them nevertheless. For the past three years, I’ve read all the books in the series once a year (mostly during the Dec-Jan time) and then caught up with all the movies right after. And the last time I did it, the partner joined me in watching the movies.
It was fun. To have him join in on the adventure. To see him as restless as I was when we stopped at crucial points for various reasons. To feel my excitement double as I realized his appreciation. To watch his questioning eyes as he failed to understand little details, the ones only the readers of the book would’ve been able to catch, here and there. He had a ton of questions all through the journey. And I did my best filling in the gaps for him.
Yet, somehow, I didn’t think that was enough. Because, you see, when he reads or watches something his brain cells apprehend more than my little mind does. He observes. He thinks. And he finds the deeper meaning behind every word. And, as greedy as I am, I wanted to see this tale of witches and wizards unfold through his attentive eyes. I wanted listen to him share his experiences as he read through one book after another. I wanted to spend hours together pondering on the interesting discussions I was sure he would bring up. I wanted him to read the books.
So, time and time again, I put forth that option to him. But he rejected it, always with a smile, explaining that, need be, I could connect the dots for him and that he didn’t think reading the books now (after seeing all the movies) would be as much fun since he knew how the story unfolded. I disagreed.
It bothered me. It’s not that he doesn’t read – he is an ardent reader and he enjoys the world of fiction as much as anyone else. Whenever you give him a choice of reading a book vs. watching the movie version of the same, he’ll choose to do the former first because he agrees that the words bound together in a tale provide levels of details, which are, most of the times, left out in the latter. Yet, when it came to this series he chose to stay away. Primarily because he was content with all that the movies had to offer. And then there was me, who helped him put together missing pieces.
Still, I persisted. I nagged him every chance I got. Every time he would ask me for book suggestion I would point him to this series. And he would find a reason or two to dismiss my recommendation and move on to the next in line. This went on for months. Until one fine day, weeks ago, he gave in. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know why. I didn’t care. I was on cloud nine. He asked me where the book was; I pointed him towards the shelf in the living room. He picked up the first one and took a seat next to me on the couch. For some time there I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was blinded by tears of joy (ok, a little exaggeration that one, but what I was feeling back then was close to this, ok?). Guilt took over for a little while – I told him that I could recommend some other book, that he didn’t have to read this just because of my constant hassling. He quickly dismissed it and I was more than happy to move on (What? I wasn’t going to give him another chance out. I gave him one; that shows how generous I am).
The journey has begun. It’s been weeks since that evening. And a lot of reading is being done. Every day after dinner, we curl up with the comforters and get lost in the land of books for hours together. He has read two books so far and is almost done with the third. I am beyond myself every time I see him impatiently wait for that time of the day when he gets to read. Every other night, for a while before falling asleep, we talk about Harry Potter. A discussion or two have already cropped up and I enjoyed listening to his insights on those occasions. And then there are his remarks, which are amusing in their own way –
“Albus is so careless!” “How can Albus not know this and that?” “I like Voldemort!” “I can identify most with Fred and George.” “Look, Sirius Black’s name has appeared for the first time” “But this wasn’t in the movie…” “Question – who/what/when/how/why…” (my response always being ‘read along and you will find out’), “Dobby is here” “Albus is so wise, there’re so many life lessons to learn from what he has to say” “If I were Quirrell and Voldemort shared my body, I would make him listen to meditation music and calm him down a bit. It would work, don’t you think?” etc.
Immense joy, this is it! A great amount of fun, this is it! Love, this is it!
A serene kind of darkness surrounds.
It’s the time when the sun, with his first rays, hasn’t yet set fire to the sea. It’s the time when everyone, in their peaceful state, is enjoying the last frames of their colorful dreams. It’s the time when the birds haven’t woken, yet, to ring the day with their happy tweets. It’s the time when joy and sorrow take a back seat at everyone’s mind, leaving it in a state of oblivion. It’s the time before dawn when the world is still enamored by the final silver rays of smiling moon.
A musical kind of silence surrounds.
It’s the time when one can hear the symphony of the humblest rustle of the autumn leaves. It’s the time when one can hear the hushed hymn of the twinkling stars. It’s the time when one can hear a melody as the dew drops come to life. It’s the time when one can hear the chime of the clock every passing second. It’s the time when one can hear the gentle breeze smoothly whisking away the mystical carpet of mist.
A sacred kind of love surrounds.
Amidst the darkness all around, I see on your face the expression of pure bliss, lost in the land of trance. For minutes together I stand there staring at you; I take it all in, for it brings my heart and mind more calm. Amidst the silence all around, I hear, so clearly, every thump in your chest, as I rest next to you. Your heartbeats, your breathing, creates a musical of its own, taking me to a more peaceful place. In those moments I experience an emotion so deep, so positively overwhelming, that I look at you with a newfound sort of love.
The last day we were in the small island off the mainland PR, we wanted to go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters. Unfortunately, we realized as we woke that morning that a storm was brewing. The partner got a little concerned and talked to various people about whether or not it was a good idea to carry on as planned. Some said that it would be ok since the storm was moving a totally different direction; some said they would think twice before venturing into the water. The mixed responses that we got were not to satisfactory, so, we promptly canceled the idea to go snorkeling as soon as the owner of the guiding company said it wasn’t advisable to go brave the ocean in such a situation.
Now we found ourselves with a good few hours in hand before it would be time for the Ferry’s scheduled departure. At once, we took a cab to get to the other side of the island since we hadn’t explored that part much the previous day. We decided we would walk around for a while before stopping by some local place for lunch, and then head to the terminal.
And merrily pace the quiet streets we did. There was no crowd, no noise to face. We went, hand in hand, here and there. The open courtyard of the Mayor’s office caught the partner’s fancy and we stepped in after asking the guard on duty for permission. She might have thought that we were interested in building itself, so she kept prompting us to the upper floor showing us a room where the Mayor’s office probably was. The partner politely thanked her and let her know that he was more fascinated by the beautiful tree that stood in the middle of the courtyard. And we stood there for quite some time taking it all in. As we got out of there, another guard was in conversation with the one that let us in. We thanked them for letting us take a peek, and told them that the tree standing tall over there was magnificent. Did those Spanish speaking folks understand what we communicated to them? I don’t know. Were they wondering why this crazy duo was so mesmerized by a tree that was for them was an everyday sight? I don’t know. It was fun, though.
After that, we rambled along more. Most of the shops were closed. It started drizzling a little right when we came across a café. It was open, so obviously we went in. While I ordered a coffee and was going through their book collection, the partner went out to the back and stood there positively charmed by the downpour. This feels just the way monsoon rains in India feels, he said as I took my place by him, leaning on his shoulder. We listened to the music of cloudburst. We saw the million cats at the café find and take shelter from the rainfall. I sipped on the bitter coffee as the partner struck a conversation with one of the owners. And right when we came in to sit and relax for a bit, the lady let us know that she was going to close the place for the day. With the drink in hand we were out again, this time under the bawling sky.
We treaded along the walls trying to keep ourselves under the roofs of the buildings. It a while before the canopy of black clouds up above moved away. And then, without the song of falling rain ringing in the air, all we heard was the gushing water that ran along every street trying to find its escape into the drains. Let’s make boats and set them to sail, flickered the partner’s brilliant mind. Without losing any time to discussion, we leaped into action. He cut pieces out of a big sheet of some tourist map we had and I made the boats.
We set the first one on water. It went away with rushing stream while we stood there watching. Within a minute or two, it was out of our sight. The next boat was made. And set to sail. This time, though, the partner said we should tag along with it before bidding it goodbye. So we did. As the boat sailed along the roadside river, we ran beside it. The tiny boat endured a few rough tracks on its path. Yet, it kept on sailing. And sailing. It went a few blocks before finding it’s resting place behind a truck’s huge tire. And that’s where we stopped too. We bent over, looked for it under the truck. It was nowhere in sight. We lingered nearby, glimpsing at every point around the truck to see if we could spot our boat. Alas, we couldn’t.
We had to let go and move on because we started getting unwanted stares. There were people on the streets clearly eyeing the madness of our actions. I don’t know if they knew that we were behind our precious boat or if they only saw two silly tourists running on the wet streets of their town and observing closely a lone parked truck. My bets are on the latter; I am pretty sure they found us / our activity peculiar, bordering on suspicious. It wouldn’t have been ideal to wait for them to understand the emotions behind our childlike behavior now, would it? Hence, so as to not give them any wrong ideas, we moved on with our faces beaming with joy.
Splendor. Silliness. Smiles. What’s not to love?
For as far back as I can remember I haven’t shared an amicable relationship with anything arts or crafts. I don’t have the hands and eyes for it – I can’t draw, paint, sketch, knit or do any of that good stuff. So, for years, I stayed away. In school, I remember my sister helping me out, working her magic, whenever there was an art or craft project that needed to be done. And after that, for a long time, I was happy I didn’t have to deal with it by compulsion. I experimented from time to time – bought knitting supplies, but never got around to learning it; started painting, but gave up after trying it for a couple of evenings, etc. – but could never muster enough interest to persevere.
A year ago, though, I had this strong urge to give painting another chance. So off I went to buy supplies and started one evening with a lot of hope. This time around, though, I focused more on the process than the end product. Whether the painting turned out good or bad didn’t matter. My fervor to keep going instead came from the time that I spent working with the colors and the canvas. With each stroke of brush and with each shade of color, I experienced absolute pleasure. I wasn’t any better at it now, but the few hours that I spent in the study every week made me happier.
Even then, after a month or two, I stopped again. The finished and unfinished pieces lay on the floor, alongside the tubes of paints, array of brushes, and unopened pack of white canvases. They called out to me every time I walked by, but I pretended not to hear. The partner had nothing but nice things to say about the finished work. As biased as they might be, the partner’s words of encouragement gave me a little push. And, I couldn’t stay away any longer.
I have resumed the journey. And, hopefully, I will continue, without taking long breaks or giving up entirely, for as long as it brings me peace. If I get bored and want to move on, that’s another issue altogether; I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Until then, here’s to my calm evenings…
If you want a sneak peek at how dismal my paintings are, go on, read about it below and have a hearty laugh –
I find an image of a nice yellow flower and decide that it’s easy enough for me to to be able to paint it. I start sketching, while the partner gets busy with his office work. Time passes. When I am almost done applying the layer of yellow paint on the rough outline that I’d made, the partner takes a peek. “Oh wow, that’s a beautiful mango!” he exclaims. And is quick enough to add “Oh is it not a mango? It’s the color that threw me off. I saw that orangish yellow and first thing that came to mind was mango.” after reading the bemused expression on my face. Now, every time I look at it all I can see is a huge blob of paint that vaguely resembles a mango, not a pretty flower. Sigh.
Monday morning. I don’t feel getting out of the bed – blame the cloudy weather outside… who would want to go to work when it’s so beautiful out, with birds chirping constantly and the leaves rustling in calming tunes. As the partner wakes me up, I tell him that I want to work from home. He opens one more window to let more of the melody in. I do too! he retorts, but I have this meeting at 11 that I must be there in person to attend. Perhaps I can come back after that. He gets ready and leaves in a while. I am still in bed, logged on to work, checking what needs to be done for the day. Around noon, I go down to prepare lunch leisurely. I cook, wait for the partner to return from work, and we have lunch together once he gets back. Then, he works and I do some web browsing. He diverts my attention every now and then to show me how the colorful leaves are falling off the trees and onto the lawn with every breeze… look, it’s raining leaves, he exclaims, and I look out at the splendid sight. Time passes by. Since there isn’t much work to do for the day, I go to the study to try my hands on my so called hobby. The partner accompanies me, sits by my side, concentrating on his work. Once in a while, he stops whatever he is doing and attentively observes the output of my creation. Hours go by. It’s already evening. A friend calls and invites us over for dinner. We finish up pending work, get ready and go to their place. Conversations, jokes, fun, game, laughter, good food – what’s not to love?! Night beckons. We head back home. More relaxation comes in the form of reading before bed. Bliss.
Dark chilly night. Hymn of rain falling flows in the background. The music of Tibetan meditation chants fills the air with peace. A book in hand, I settle on the couch with a comforter to keep me warm and cozy. What do I do? you ask. I point to the book lying on the coffee table. You pick it up and sit next to me; I rest my legs on yours. The fragrance of lilies diffuses all around us. As if the books are instruments, our hands play with its strings, the pages – turning them one after another, creating a melody. My heart melts little by little as you read through the chapter animatedly. Love, everywhere. Some moments are stolen by the silent, smiling glances we exchange. Bliss.
In that hour, every blink, every word, every thought, every sigh, every breath – all of it becomes a prayer.
We stepped into a café in Old San Juan after walking around the city all morning, which was hot and humid and blistering. We ordered a blended coffee drink and sat there discussing this and that while waiting to be served. The partner then noticed that one of the baristas at that café had a tattoo on her arm. He looked at it intently and let me know that it was the date April 1, 2011 in roman numerals.
What do you think it signifies? he asked
Probably her wedding day or perhaps the day her kid was born. Some major life event like that, I suppose.
But she looks so young, he pointed out.
Which she did. She was a petite woman and appeared, to us, to be in her teens.
Let’s just ask her.
So, when it came time to leave, we went to the billing counter and this barista happened to be there. The partner pointed to her tattoo and asked her what it meant.
It’s April 1, 2011, she said.
Oh yes, that I figured, but what does that signify? he asked.
Since English wasn’t one of her strongest points, she drew a blank. And since Spanish isn’t a language we can speak, there was an awkward silence for a moment until the partner found a way to keep the conversation going.
What is it, that date? Is it your birth date? he asked.
And both the barista and I stared at him for a few seconds before breaking into laughter. She looked young, yes, but nowhere close to being called a two and half year old.
Oh no, not my birth date, it’s my son’s, she said, still chuckling.
Later the partner had this to say in his defense since I kept giggling every now and then recalling the conversation
I knew it wasn’t her birth date, but at that moment I didn’t know how else to put forth that question to her, what with her poor English and our non-existent Spanish speaking skills.
Of course I realized that. But that doesn’t take the amusement factor away, does it?