It’s all about emotions

Basal Ganglia inside our brains plays an important role in habit formation. This is quite a norm in our lives for all we do- bathing after breakfast; waking up late on weekdays vs on weekends; grabbing a drink daily especially especially when leaving office etc. etc.

While basal ganglia and its role in shaping our habits has a long history of research, six decades or so, our reaction to exceptional or non-routine events intrigues me. This does not indicate any unexplored field of research for a Nobel prize aspirant to pursue. This is simply my lazziness to not read further.

For example, Why will someone be nostalgic for pleasure and painful events equally. Why is this so? A couple of centuries back, Nostalgia was an emotion that threatened life. Today, it is simply a word of emotion – missing a place or an event- and does not trigger neurological symptoms that may lead to death of an individual.

How can an event that triggered extreme sadness/ unhappiness, equivalent to a trauma, be felt on same dates several years later? This could be simply, in layman terms, a result of our obsession with dates, or our memory. This may also be out of habit/nostalgic feeling to re-experience and change the course of events that occured in past.

Of course research has answers to above questions that I am unaware of. But why should one not try to approach it in a manner that is less punishing to say the least?

Valentine’s day

We celebrate 21st anniversary of proposing each other on Valentine’s day today. Its been two decades since we ended the ambiguity about our relationship and still the excitement is afresh in our memories.

But that confession never meant that we may not have anymore valentine’s in our lives. But this may not have been obvious/ desired twenty years back when we had fenced our world between two of us. No one mattered us more than each one of us. We had, even limited our parents involvement in our lives.

But with every passing year, as we grew being more confident about our relationship, we ventured to spread and add more of us- crazy lovers- but I added far less than what she did.

But the crux of every such engagement was to live and live fully this life of ours.

I won’t mind including individuals in my valentine who were of same gender as me.

Burhan Dalal- he completed my assignments submission at college when I dated her. He pure to heart and full of respect for us till date.

Malik- my junior as a cyclist who lied to his elder brother to let me date her.

Simran- my sister who did not ask me for a refund. She paid for her trip to Indore when we got married secretly.

Rahul- for all his subtle support except when he drove her to nearest bus stop to elope with me on his LML Vespa two-wheeler.

Debraj- his blunt advise of quality of our married life and having a kid so early. Debraj, pls do not mind, it was not as explicit as mentioned here by me. You blessed us by visting us last week.

Manik- for being our first family friends. Manik and Shalu shared a similar rebellion history as ours.

Shalu- you being so practical but never so when it came to welcoming us at your place and feeding us with hand-made delicacies.

Shivam- a toddler ( son of Manik and Shalu) who made me experience being an elder brother (Pal Bhaiyya).

Pushpal- a down-to-earth but highly sensitive professional at work who fell for me to let his subtle care fall on me.

Reeta- most trustworthy at work and went on to be a great family friend. Daughter to two twins, she carries an unique aura of selfless (coupled with cautious) care and attention, only for us. I cannot forget the first and only lunch at her place.

Anjali- how can she be so similar to my own sister who shares same day of birth? She has to be warned, alrerted, and cared for at times , but simply out of my insecurity/possessiveness about her.

I am in Chandigarh since I turned 40 and yet to have a valentine here. But both of us have found our parents as valentines’, caring and demanding and yet so subtly.

I am grateful to you all. Never is a valentine owned only for selfish purposes.

Nostalgic on a Bollywood movie

My younger angel- Ruhin would have heard the title song of the movie ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and was humming at home. I told her that the song belongs to a movie. She wanted me to play the movie for her. Thanks to Youtube where the full movie was available.

While my daughter was watching the movie streaming on my hand phone, I, sitting next to her was quick to check the year. It was in 1998 when this movie was released.

I had loved this romantic story due to glamour and romanticism showcased, quite similar to my stage of relationship with my spouse. We were in love but miles apart with no access to internet or hand phones. We could not see each other for months together.

My mind ventured further into details of those years of my life, trying to recall all the details as minute as possible. My memory could not help me with much details though.

I was soon nostalgic about the whole event of my relationship with my spouse and how we finally got to get married. Then I sensed that my brain was attempting to rationalise the years ‘lived’ thereafter.

All the major events that I could recall seemed to me as ‘random’ with no measured effort on my part to make them happen. This was a sincere attempt to decode my past life since we as humans are masters of rationalising our past lives akin to a perfect story unfolding with all ups and downs as being experienced my daughter while watching the movie.

She wept when the child in the movie could not speak on topic ‘Mother’ in some competition and was weeping when the lead actor- the father of the child – walks upto her speaking on her behalf and then gives her a tight hug.

My daughter leans further into my shoulders. As a parent I did not want to influence her flow of emotions nor interrupt it with usual banter- it’s just a movie with actors playing it to a script – followed by laughs irritating enough to spoil her flow of emotions.

While I had my own regrets for not being able to recall full details of my life unfolding in last 18 years, I pledged to make it memorable and record everyday of my life penned here on a blog or in a personal diary.

Substantiating religious texts

I was visiting my long-time friend’s parents for the first time last weekend. They turned out to be very religious and hospitable. Within the first 15 minutes they gauged my interest and approach towards life and shared a bundle of religious books on Sikhism written in Punjabi.
I have no formal education in reading or writing Gurmukhi (official name for Punjabi language). But I learned to read the printed scripts in Punjabi while narrating the Jap ji Sahib, Rehraas sahib and Sukhmani Sahib prayers. My wife and cousin also guided me in a causal manner to master reading Gurmukhi.
I was done reading a two-page editorial in one of the books gifted to me. The article highlighted the reason for troubles in life and attributed it to ignorance/disregard to the teachings compiled in Guru Grant Sahib. A stanza was quoted from Guru Grant Sahib to help the reader relate to relevance of the text in today’s world.
However, I feel the writing lacked the depth thats is usually expected of well-read younger generations. They do not relate to notions of ‘Akaashwani’ when the Gurus across religions received the message from almighty and they narrated it verbatim to their discipiles. Even when we speak specifically about Sikhism the most important message is to lead a life of a human- have familiy, have fun but then do it in a manner that does no harm to others. In other words, it can be said that Sikhism preaches to keep God in perspective while dealing with the outside world as well as our inner self. It’s about being ethical in all our dealings. 
So what should the text books on teachings of Guru Grant Sahib be written on? The answer lies in attempting to comprehend the dilemmas the life puts forth to the young today and then try addressing it using the wisdom of Guru Grant Sahib. The mention of Guru Grant Sahib should be as subtle as possible.


“We will never return to share the experience of death but atleast let us resolve to share the experience of life.”  

7 years back when I posted this thought, I was not good at defining ‘sharing’, ‘experience’ and ‘life’. Since then I became a parent 2nd time, changed jobs, took debt to buy a house and toned down the expectations I had from my capabilities. 

But one thing that has significantly changed in me is a far higher degree of selflessness and openess to know and engage with people. I have stopped complaining about many things including the usual cliche, ‘humans cannot be trusted’. I have built defenses in sub-conscious that have helped me deal better and live better. 

I learnt from photography the art of seeeing and framing subject to be clicked in a right perspective. My attempt from this blog that I have been compiling for a decade now is to help my kids know the true personality of their father- what I thought, felt, worried etc.

Everyday when alive, we create and live experiences. This one thought will surely help us to be more conscious of Life while death is still not forgotten.