I define love thus: The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.

Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful.

–From ‘The Road Less Travelled’ by M. Scott Peck

Both these quotes say one of the biggest truths.We all have always dreamt of being in love. Love looks like a seredipitous phenomenon- you have somebody to understand you, listen to you and care for you. Seldom do we realize that love is that one thing that requires the maximum investment. The care and understanding that we all expect must be given as well. Love is action- oriented. It involves the growth of two people. It becomes even more important in present times. Relationships are failing at an alarmingly high rate.

People today are moving towards conscious love. People want to be in relationships where both the partners are committed to growth- individual growth,  collective growth and the growth that makes the world better. This growth requires efforts. Love might just happen, but it won’t be able to sustain itself. To most of us, love looks like a destination, whereas it is a practice that must be practised day in and day out.

The lines you whispered in my ears

Daily prompt Whisper

Napping, we were walking on our roads
Enroute to end, our roads crossed
Engrossed in my world, I was singing a song
Little efforts in, you understood my incomplete song
The lines you, hence, whispered in my ears
Entered my world, took away my fears
Jubilant and happy, we got along and sing our crazy song

 

With this piece, I have attempted an acrostic.

The Evolution of my Name-Ritika to Ritika

Say Your NameWrite about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

*****

My name is Ritika. It is a name in the Hindi language, my native language, and can be easily translated to English as well.

After my summer vacations in the 9th grade, while I was submitting the holidays’ project to my Sanskrit teacher, she noticed my name written in Hindi and told me the very spelling of it made it meaningless. No such word ever existed in the Hindi language. Language evolves, new words are added and more than 8 years since then, there is still no such word. What a meaningless name! I had always asked my parents the meaning of my name and they were ever clueless. I think they fancied this word.

Curiously, “Where did this word come from to your minds?”

“We don’t know; we were unaware!” The answer is in a flat tone.

“Who does that to their child? Meaningless name!” (Sarcastic, awestruck and shocked)

We have this conversation routinely. Isn’t it strange, in a society that believes, to a significant degree, in the impact one’s name can have on one’s life, a couple gave their child a meaningless name? I have read cases of successful Bollywood stars who changed their names and became successful. I know I am exaggerating a bit, but let’s just think!

My teacher then told me two words that resembled my name and had meanings. She gave me a choice- one meant going by traditions and set conventions, and the other one is related to the creation of the Vedas. I chose the latter; I found it better. I had a choice to choose my name, in English all the three were the same, my original name and the two new names; however, in Hindi, there was a sea change. Only a few days ago, I checked the meaning of my name on Google, given the storehouse of knowledge it is, an altogether different meaning appeared-‘Movement, flowing stream’. Even this meaning looked apt to me, I love changes in life, perhaps, change is the only constant in life. Any thing that refuses to change with time, meets its end. The old must pave way for the new.

Whole of this conversation with my teacher was a short 5-minute talk. I do not know if such things really have any impact on one’s life or not and neither do I rely on them, but it felt good after 13 years to have a meaningful name; it feels good even now. I do not leave things to destiny, but, somewhere I believe it’s still good to set the forces by your side. Only recently, I came across a post on speaking tree indicating how good my name in English ‘Ritika’ is for me! It sounds stupid, but I wouldn’t change it for anything else.

I Pledge Allegiance

Are you Patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

*****

We all have nationalities. Owing to the country of my birth and the current geographical boundaries, I am an Indian. However, my lineage takes me to a small village in Pakistan named Chunian, near Lahore. My grandparents were amongst the several thousands who crossed the borders when Bharat got independent and partitioned.

I have never been to Pakistan. All my memories are associated with India. To correct myself, all my memories are associated with a few cities in India where I have spent my life until now. I aspire to visit several other places in the country; at the same time, I long for visiting the Americas, Europe, Africa and other places in the world and the yearning is the same.

The Indian army and the Pakistan Army are never at peace with each other. There is news of the Pakistan Army violating ceasefire bringing truce to a standstill. All the efforts of the governments of the two nations are in vain. Yet the people in the two nations really do not despise the other. Pakistan isn’t spared from terrorist attacks either. It isn’t about these two nations alone. People everywhere are struggling. The society is shackled by crippling menaces such as terrorism, poverty, unemployment. It was as heart wrenching when kids were shot in Peshawar as when they were shot in Connecticut. It wasn’t Pakistan or America’s, but the entire world’s loss. Every government aims at providing quality education to children; at least, it’s on their agenda. People everywhere experience fernweh, love serein, hope for kairos with their beloved and experience many more emotions. Despite being distinguished on endless parameters, we, by our disposition, are, essentially, all the same.

The daily prompt came a day after India’s Independence Day. I am patriotic. However, my patriotism isn’t for India, it is for the people that define her. For if all the people were to leave the world, every place would just be a piece of land and the same. India has been fighting for years against the caste system that has been prevalent in the society. Likewise, America has been fighting for giving equal rights to people of African origin. My allegiance is for all the people who stand up for what is right. It isn’t for a piece of land, it for the living beings that define her, who are truly all the same. My patriotism is for humanity.