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Saturday, 24 December 2016

7 Ways to Make Creati-witty Your Best Friend

This year was phenomenal - mostly they were ups but there were downs too. Life! Would like to share some lessons learnt about 'social triggers' this year.
1. The next time you're faced with feedback that's difficult to handle, remember this - it's not always about you... it's mostly about the other person. Many people don’t realise this. When we face criticism, we slip into questioning our value. We tend to hide our truth and thus limit our potential. Face the music but don't dance to it!
How to stay inspired in your distractions: I never thought I will find a similarity between celtic knots and South Indian kolam drawings. Yes, they do! Now that I put these dots in place... it is a celtic kolam. When something original is born... it is a distraction worth keeping!
2. If you choose to respond to haters, then surprise/kill them with kindness. Nobody can be too rude for too long to people who have their guards on and have mastered how to behave/keep calm. If they choose to completely ostracise you - thank your lucky stars! ;)
3. Reduce your negative interactions with anybody.  When somebody doesn't want a solution or wants to feed on the negative stress - accept the truth. This is how they deal with their feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. Move on. Leave them high and dry! Just like they wish/rant/sing songs about. Keep 3 minutes maximum time-limit to rants. Rise above the negative. Distract and divert attention to something positively exciting. Make creati-witty your best friend.
Keep the fire straight from your soul alive: Why did I paint Bob Marley? Of course it was only childhood nostalgia of listening to his music. But when this work was exhibited it did get a lot of eye balls... to what lies beneath the art. Not just nostalgia but coffee... in this instance.
4. No matter what you do and how well you do it, there will always be someone there to rain on your parade. There is no point yelling and kicking. Handle it like grown ups do. Ignore!

5. Set boundaries.
6. Read outside social feeds and have an opinion. It is important to speak to your mind, even if you may not have a social handle to do so.
7. The best way to silence the destructive criticisers or haters is to do more of what they hate.... cos haters will hate... while doers do!
I always thank my supporters but I would like to extend my gratitude to haters too this time. If not for you, I would have not had a chance to unlock my creati-witty in this direction :)
Thank you for staying amazing, abundant and generous in love and kindness... more power to all... this new year.
Happy holidays! 💖

- B'lu ps: this post is not just for the creative minded but for anybody who wants to know how to stay creative in your day-to-day lives... anybody who wishes to outwit the unnecessary... or focus on the important.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

When Man Meets Mountain

I'm going to be a mountain someday, collecting crystals from the heaven and dispersing them to thirsty fields, tilled by hardworking humans. I will be a mountain, firm and humble. I will urge the brave to look up and rise above the banality and hostile indifference. The memory of the white of the snow peaks at a distance holds me rapt. I'm going to be a mountain someday... for this I rise up.

Back from the foothills of Himalayas, nestled among the Kumaon hills is Almora - a rustic district comprising of breathtaking views of a landscape not seen anywhere else in the world - am at a loss for words. The trip served as an appetiser to a main course of deeper subjects I wasn't aware I was seeking.

8 lessons I learned while standing face to face with the mountains of Uttarakhand:

1. Meditation: People seeking spiritual strength have long looked to the mountains to be inspired in their prayers and meditations. So did I. And glad it was found. Long, blue, spiky-edged shadows crept out across the snow-fields, while a rosy glow gradually deepened and diffused every mountain-top in a new hue that crept down to its foothills. This was the Himalayan glow, to me the most impressive of all the terrestrial manifestations witnessed so far. At the touch of the morning light, the mountains seemed to kindle consciousness. The peaks stood silent and devout like worshippers waiting to be blessed.

2. Gratitude: Dear mountain, we take the world for granted, please accept my apologies. We take you for granted for your gracious gifts that we do not earn, for the daily strokes of luck that we do not merit. Please accept my confession as we acknowledge our self-absorption nowadays through our cell phones, our short-sightedness; our failure to care for all creation. I can already hear the rivers clap their hands as the mountains echo - Amen.

3. Humility: The mountains and its rocks, rivers and valleys, animals and plants forgive us our devotion to greed, destruction, and selfishness so that we might be freed to truly see the other as ourselves and hold the care. The mountains are never tired of seeing us standing in admiration. These mountains have seen untold sunrises, they don't long for anything. They stand silent watching man's weak praise.

4. Faith: All you need is faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move the mountain. You can climb high up there and wonder how you made it.  When faced with a mountain, you can also choose to see several options. You can climb it and cross to the other side. You can dig or blow it up. You can turn around and go back the way you came. Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home. Or you can pretend it's not there... like you never saw one. But that is just not possible after all the faith it brims you up with.

5. Time: The greatest gift of life is time. Time to think or not think - to sleep or take a walk in the woods or to sit and stare at the shapes of the hills. While sitting idle I produced nothing. Not even words. I realised time is just as stretchable as we can imagine it. By being utterly useless in the calculations of time while stuck in a zone that demanded never looking at time I became useful, at last, to myself.

6. Rejuvenation: Reaching the destination was a high task. Ravaged by motion sickness, I finally reached there. Almost limping out of our SUV as a new born calf. But this lasted no more after my eyes wandered high and higher still - far somewhere - completely spellbound. The two peaks of Himalayas from the Him Darshan point held me looking up. Never once did I think I should also capture this magnificence in my camera. A new numbness of a good sort enveloped me like as the nip in the air comforted the aches of low oxygen brain. The mountain has left me feeling renewed, more content and positive than I've been. Something has been given back after a long absence. I've let myself be rooted in this unshakable sanity of the senses as I spared my mind the burden of too much thinking. My outward experience translated inward - to savour the pleasures of being me.

7. Strength: I am tempted to answer. But they are offering me a free dwelling without having to conquer anything. The difficult path and its slippery bend - I cannot choose both but I have a choice to make. This will determine my fate. I choose. I choose the mountain. Because only by climbing can I rise above the plane of stress and strain. I simply choose the mountain as I will never stop climbing. This is a promise.

8. Charity: One foot in front of the other, keep walking with your eyes focused on the mountain. Rest your heart on the much around you... on the blade of the grass that sways to show you the direction of the wind or the cloud that moves to others to conspire a sudden burst of shower on you. Just keep walking towards that mountain. Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it. This joy has the power to give up the apex to those who cannot see this far.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

To Snowflake with Love

This story is dedicated to my only pen pal whom I met through a postal mail address exchange section in a children's magazine. 

More than 20 years ago in Delhi.

Her pen-name was Snowflake, like mine was Mowgli. Our real names were not revealed for the six years we were in touch. We lost connection somewhere at the turn of the 21st Century with the commotion of growing into adulthood. Meanwhile, I also carelessly lost my old diary of names and addresses somewhere between travels, moving homes, jobs and countries.

She wanted to gift me something on Christmas and parted with a silver bell locket that her uncle had gifted her 

Snowflake was born in North Korea and was then deeply moved by the 90s famine situation in her country. Children were the most affected. In her last letter which came after a year-long break, she said she was now in a good shape but when she left North Korea was very weak. Her uncle visited her when she was receiving social adjustment training after she arrived South Korea. I remember while reading this I could not hold back my sobbing. I was imagining her away from her family or something more terrible that must have happened. But I was also distracted and amazed at how much she was now keen to talk about origami! The art of making paper sculptures.

That letter came with many miniature paper sculptures that kept me occupied for hours long tracing its folds. She must have made them even during famine and the cross-country migration when she met 'poor children who had frost-bitten toes'. She must have found solace in folding paper. It is perhaps her hobby that kept her spirit together in the folds of the paper, neatly secured in right angles. Her letters were folded in interesting ways. Sometimes it opened into a fish. I clearly remember that the last one opened into a kite.

She had completed the later half of the last letter in Seoul. She had changed. I was too young to even pronounce personality then. But I remember I felt or rather sensed Snowflake melting into a new place.

The last paragraph of the letter had a date seven months after she reached Seoul. She had joined a new school. She wanted to gift me something on Christmas and parted with a silver bell locket that her uncle had gifted her long ago. I still have the locket and look at it more often than wear it. It reminds me how kind she is and that I had a special place in her life.

I miss you Snowflake. 

I missed you when I picked a book on origami and gifted it last Christmas to someone our age when we first wrote to each other. I missed you each time I read anything about Korea in the news. I missed you when I met the Coreyah band of contemporary musicians from your country in Abu Dhabi last year. I think of you when the CD plays Korean folk numbers in my car. Your thoughts flew to me in the Alps when snowflakes touched my bare skin before disappearing. 

You taught me that people come together and go away for no reasons logically possible to establish. And hence we must celebrate exploring every moment we have with anyone who is in our lives at the moment and be willing to let go when things change.

Today, after a long long time, am wearing the silver bell you gave and hope you are fine wherever you are. And somehow I am pretty sure you are more than fine! I am so happy we met through our letters. Thanks to the universe who facilitated that.

Happy New Year!

Your's truly

[PS: Remember you wanted me to get the red shorts that Mowgli had - coincidentally just after I got your last letter and when I went home for vacations, mother had bought me red shorts! I thought she was fooling me as a pen pal, like parents do for Santa Clause. But then mother told me she couldn't get the Korean postal services to stage so much drama. I had to believe her.]

About the author: Archana RD aka B'lu is a contemporary artist-writer currently based in the Middle East