When I was a child…

london bridge
Image : David East

When I was a child, mum used to wake me at five o’clock in the morning, every morning, tugging at my blanket and whispering, “When you sleep, your luck sleeps with you.”

Mornings were much the same in our apartment. The banshee screams of neighbouring families would greet us as we sleepily navigated the concrete steps up to the communal terrace to welcome the rising sun. We had our routine. Dad would hold up a small copper pot of water to the deep orange part of the sky and whisper a prayer. Then he’d tilt it forward slowly until a thin braid of water splattered on the terrace floor. Mum and I, a few steps behind, would hold our palms together as first light appeared over the Kolkata skyline.

The following day, the sun shone just as bright above London as the train, crammed with dozing commuters, crawled into London Victoria Station.

From the concourse, most of the commuters spilled into the vast London Underground network. I could’ve followed them and taken the stuffy tube to Piccadilly Circus, but I decided to take the scenic route past Buckingham Palace.

London was a proud city and that was evident in its traditions. The palace towered on the left with an unending throng of tourists plastered to the gates outside, eager to catch a glimpse of the ancient guard-changing ceremony.

All the while, my mind was replaying the moments from the day before. Why was it so necessary to be invisible? What kind of work were they doing? I’d imagined all sorts of fancy things from controversial self-sustaining fusion experiments to gesture-controlled drones for the government.

In St. James’s Park, the lake under the bridge that seemed to connect the palace to Horse Guard’s Parade on to the right was ablaze with the light of the sun. I crossed the thick red road leading away from the palace and climbed a set of steps on to Waterloo Place. The tree-lined road seemed to jump out at me as if to grab my attention, to stop me from going any further. But I couldn’t see beyond the salary I’d be receiving. For that and the recognition that came with working in the capital of England, I’d sell my soul.

Sample from a science fiction novel that I’m currently working on. More to reveal in the coming months.

 

Short Story – ‘The Trip’

I see my home in a field of golden corn becoming as tiny as a star in the night sky.

My little sisters are in the field, picking corn like I used to.

There are other girls in the truck just like me. They’re also wearing their best dresses. One of them is crying. Maybe she doesn’t like adventures.

I ask, “Please sir…how far we goin’?”

Maybe he didn’t hear me.

There’ll be a palace made of the colourful, shiny stones like the ones Mama used to talk about, in the middle of green rolling hills where children laugh and play. I’ll tell my sisters all about it.

I can’t move much. Outside, there are trees, so many trees, and roads I’ve never seen before and different smells that remind me of the village fair.

There’ll be iced tea and butter, fresh bread and jam served on a great big table.

There’ll be rainbows in the sky and women singing under the trees.

I think about why the man in the suit didn’t answer me when I asked about our trip.

Mama said it would be a surprise I’d never forget. Maybe that’s why she was so happy, and all that money in her hand that the man in the suit had given to her must’ve been too heavy for her to wave goodbye.

child peering out
Image Courtesy: Dmitry Ratushny

The Happiest Man in the World

if we recall a happy moment for ten to fifteenHere’s a link to a great article about the happiest man in the world and how his brain produces waves never recorded in scientific literature when he meditates on compassion and altruism. Unsurprisingly, he’s a Tibetan monk who’s humility shines through as he reveals that comparison to others is detrimental to happiness.

Click here to read the article.

 

Thank you!

Art needs an audience and, for any writer, a reader is god. Without them we’d fall by the wayside and crumble. So when 17 come along at the same time, it’s like Christmas in July!

There’s no way of finding out who you are so I decided to write this post to say thanks for placing your trust in my writing. The reason I write is to spread my life-philosophy and it’s encouraging that it’s been accepted by readers.

Out of the 4 books I’m promoting the one that’s gaining popularity is Day of Mindfulness followed by An Inspiring Afternoon, then The Secrets of Eternal Youth. My latest title, 20 Unbelievably Healthy Smoothies has also been doing well.

Thank you for reading my work. #grateful

🙂

What Jainism teaches us

I’m not bound to any religion, but I like reading about them. I came across a religion, perhaps the oldest in the world. It’s called Jainism. The reason why I was drawn to researching about it was because of its foundation teaching of non-violence or Ahimsa, as it’s known in Sanskrit. A concept that was absorbed by Mahatma Gandhi back in the day.

According to scholars, Jainism used to be widespread across Asia, now its slowly fading, mainly because of the dominance of other faiths in the region. But how is religion kept alive? Well, by recruiting agents and forcing people to convert to their religion thereby slowly eliminating the competition, but, as non-violence was the way of the Jains, they never picked up arms in the name of religion and they never forced anyone to follow their path. This explains why there are so few Jains left on the planet, yet the basic values of this faith live on and will continue to as long as our species holds compassion, kindness, altruism and, of course, non-violence in high regard. The moment we lose our basic truths is the moment we lose the right to be called human.

The demise of the Jain community, religious violence (how on earth did violence ever get with religion in the first place?!) and the fact that there are many paths to one goal teaches us that we can believe in whatever we like, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. Being religious is not compulsory. We can do what we wish, as long as it brings light into our lives and the lives of those around us. It’s not a competition. Be humble and kind, but never throw your opinions on others or force them to believe in what you believe.

What kind of world would this be if all the religions taught and lived by this? Well, I reckon the idea of organised religion would disappear. In its place there’d be seven billion beautifully diverse religions, no, not religions, let’s call them ways of life, and each one would be a testament to the potential of the human spirit. No competitions, no forced converting, no marketing, just life and the acceptance of others!

Fill each moment with life

jumping

The majority of us find it difficult to sit in one place for more than a few minutes without our minds wandering. One practical way to nurture the skill of being present is to expose the mind to new tasks every day. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or cost money. You could take a new route to work, cook a new dish, watch a television programme you don’t usually watch or meet up with an old friend. What about simple things like sitting in a different place to eat dinner or changing your sleeping position? The list is endless and it’s a fun exercise to do. By doing this regularly your brain will shift its focus from long-term to short-term memory in order to record the onslaught of daily events. You will effectively move your past experiences to the back of your mind and focus on the present. It will become a natural habit. (Remember: It can take up to 21 days for your mind to adopt a new habit. This is why regular practice is advisable).

The stress of living in the past or worrying about the future can directly affect how you feel about life. If you feel regretful, you can’t connect to life fully and that will make you sluggish. You’ll drag your feet and even procrastinate. Life is all about joy and fresh experiences. If you’re not experiencing life now you’ll lose that buoyant glow of vitality. You may even become weak as a result. So try to experience something new on a daily basis. Fill each moment with life, there’s so much of it!

Find out more about staying young in my eBook, The Secrets of Eternal Youth. Available on Kindle.

eternal-youth-cover

20 Unbelievably Healthy Smoothies

The earth is turning and colder nights are approaching. It’s time to boost the immune system. A great way to do this is to prepare a smoothie. Provided you make it with the correct ingredients, a clean smoothie can help the body fight illness and fill you with energy.

What’s a clean smoothie? In recent times, obesity has been in the news. We aren’t eating the right foods. Processed ingredients, packed with preservatives, are making us fat. Clean foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, milk, fish and eggs. They come from the field, sea, tree, ground to your kitchen with little tampering. They don’t contain sugar-enriched preservatives or chemical compounds that play havoc on our digestive systems. Therefore, a clean smoothie is one that is completely sugar-free and made from a combination of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and milk. I wouldn’t recommend fish or eggs for a smoothie!

Should a smoothie be juiced or blended? Well, anything that is juiced is a juice, it’s not a smoothie. It’s important to give your digestive system something to crunch, to keep it worked out. A juice will make the digestive process lazy. Also, a juicer works by removing the roughage thereby eliminating a lot of the nutrients. However, a smoothie does the trick because a blender retains the entire fruit or vegetable making a slightly thick-textured drink, ideal for the digestive system to break down and digest. So, invest in a blender, not a juicer.

Smoothies coverI’ve recently published an eBook on Amazon titled, 20 Unbelievably Healthy Smoothies. In this book I’ve selected 20 unique recipes made using only clean ingredients without compromising on taste. Here’s a recipe from the book called Morning Kick-start. As the name suggests, it’s ideal for breakfast:

Blend together 50g of raw oats, 1 fresh banana, a handful of spinach, 1/2 cucumber (with the skin), 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and a little iced water for hydration.

The oats and banana provide essential fibre and energy. Spinach and cucumber are packed with vitamins and minerals. Ginger aids the body in removing disease thus improving immunity. You get all these benefits in 370 calories.

Other recipes in the book aid in weight-loss, increase energy-levels, promote quality sleep, provide the nutrients required before and after a gym workout, help in skin and body detox among other things.

I do hope you’ll check out my latest eBook and try the recipes for yourself.

20 Unbelievably Healthy Smoothies – Available from the Kindle Store on Amazon

Note: The links connect to Amazon US. To find the book in any other country, please search for the book title in the Kindle Store of your native Amazon site.