Growing up in the dusty by lanes of small town India during the eighties and nineties, we had a accumulated a wealth of memories. This was before the internet, cell phone and the gadget era. Come to think of it, it was even before the TV made inroads into the homes. It was those times, when we had plenty of time for each other. People actually conversed with each other instead of getting lost in their phone or talking to some one miles and oceans away ignoring those who are seated right across.
The bonus you get with the middle age in addition to a paunch is the quest for the question – who am I? For many the question it self does not arise. Blessed are those. They live a contented life or not depending on whom one is talking to. They might also be so busy in the race of the daily grind, that there is no time to pause and ponder. The struggles of life take over the luxury of time.
For those who get the question, how do we connect the dots? Where do we start the quest? Is there a definite answer at the end of the tunnel? If I do get an answer, does it mean that everything is crystal clear from then on. After all, if I can unravel who I am and understand, then there should be nothing more complicated in this world. When we set out to seek the answer to a question, there are more questions that we encounter.
Drawing the attention back, it is very important to have a sense of identity. Does belonging to a country/place identify us? Or is it in the association with a certain idea or ideology? If it is so, then what if the ideology changes, or we no longer believe in it because of changed circumstances.
If we go one level deeper, it could be in relation to those around us, who we call family and friends. I am xyz’s parent/sibling. I have gone to college with abc. Identity here is wrapped around the relationship with our immediate and intermediate society. The social and familial structures define who we are. Does that mean that the identity is a reflection of what we are with respect to an anchor/person in our life. Yes, it is. It is this strong bonding that we have which is sustaining the social fabric of the society.
What if we want to go deeper. It does not mean that there is no contentment with the association and relationship. What if the relation which was once central is no longer the focal point. Case in point is that of parents with their children. For the parents, the children are the center of their universe when the kids are young. Children look up to their parents and their life revolves around them. In the teenage years, there is a certain distance that comes with the territory. Parents might be continuing to be in the same state whereas the kids are outgrowing and spreading their wings. The empty nester syndrome sets in. Some couples grow closer during this period and start defining their identity around each other. Some might pursue other interests in addition.
When there are interests that are beyond the familial pursuits of caring, sharing and providing, do they form the framework of an identity. Does that dictate the day to day living? Does that provide more contentment and a sense of destiny? Occasionally life might throw curve balls, which question your sense of identity? When the base of what we consider “I” are shaken, how do we cope with it? If that sense of I was intertwined with another person, and that relation undergoes transformation, does that impact our sense of self?
Can we have a sense of self, that is beyond and not linked with the physical attributes, the relationships, the dimensional attributes. This does not in any way undermine the relationships. But it is in addition to it. It is the “Core” within self that sees it self in that light. Not only in the sense of what we are with others. Will that become an anchor for ourselves? A rooted feeling that comes with an association that we deem worthy of.
That sense of identity is very self driven. It can also change as we grow old or matured because of life experiences. It cannot mean anything to other and is futile to try and explain. It is like having a charter of life which we define for ourselves. It is our own address mapping, very own GPS in the web of life.
True Friendships are always beyond boundaries. They exist beyond the societal definitions of family. I am not diminishing the role of family here. Family is like Oxygen. We cannot survive without them. We cannot live without them. We cannot exist without them.
Friends are the vitamins of our existence. They do not directly sustain us. But they help us grow better, richer and add meaning in other dimensions of life. They add new dimensions, they add new zeal to life. They help us keep fresh without stagnating in the flow of life. Continue reading
I could wear my diamonds
But I loaned them to sky
To twinkle away at night.
My string of pearls is missing
Hidden safe in the shells
Of many oysters in sea.
To all my girls who can cook with turmeric and talk about teradata on the conference call at the same time.
We come from a time and place where family dinners are valued. They provide a sense of nourishment in both the physical and the dimension of the soul. Mothers enjoy the process as they know that it is building their kids stronger and keeping the family together. Yes, in many ways, family cooking keeps us all together and rooted.
Simple is not cheap. A oxymoron, yes. Yes, it sounds contradictory but it is very difficult to be simple. Simple in the mind, the thoughts, the deeds and the action. For example, a lot of us, try to maintain a healthy life style. We know it is not good to eat processed foods. How many times do we give in to the urge? Or being an early riser daily is the most simplistic but one of the most difficult habits to master for most of us.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, Davinci, most famous for the Mona Lisa, found elegance and sophistication in simple things. Simple life, being content with what we have, all easy to say but very difficult to do.
Manifest Destiny the doctrine, in my opinion, is responsible for the position and power that United States of America enjoys in this world. If I have to explain the word or phrase that comes to my mind, the moment one says America, it is this. It was responsible for the American’s pursuing with a single minded zeal the expansion of its territory from coast to coast. I have written more about it here.
I am also fascinated how this phrase means more than that. It is a philosophy to indicate that we manifest our own destiny. It is not in the hands of anyone, not a God, not our parents, not our environment. It is in our hands and our hands alone. We will it, we do it and then we are destined for the results. We manifest our own destiny.