Rigidity – Not a Recipe for Happy Living

How many of us are rigid in our lives? Not sure about it? Read further..

Rigidity comes because we believe that doing a thing in one particular way is right while there is ‘N’ number of ways to do things. It is just that people aren’t able to get out of their beliefs and be open to accepting certain other behaviors around. There is nothing called RIGHT and WRONG. What is right and what is wrong is relative.

Examples of rigidity:

  • This is how you should keep your house. Keep these things in this place, that place.
  • I am beautiful is also a rigid way of thinking.. Be ok with accepting when someone says you aren’t beautiful.
  • Instructing your kid to study daily and asking him/her to be more planned in life – Haven’t you seen your kid getting frustrated when you do this? (Will you study for your office related things or your business related things every day in a planned manner? Why don’t you do that? Oh might be you are tired after coming from office. Yes the kid is as well tired after going to school and playing for some time after that. Understand the kid’s expectations and strike a deal with the kid as to when it can study and help it out rather than posing a rigid constraint “you have to study daily”. You would love to read but the RIGID factor of doing it every day would make you feel irritated to do it. Anything when done in a rigid way bears no fruit. If there is flexibility and if you tell your kid “You haven’t studied today. It is ok. Have fun today but do study tomorrow..” This way kid will feel motivated to do things.)
  • Not willing to try/experience something because we THINK it wouldn’t be useful. (Here thought process is rigid because it isn’t being flexible to try out different things in life)
  • If something is said, you should do it immediately (Why so? Are your priorities and my priorities the same? Rigid beliefs/thinking will only strain relationships. This happens especially when elders say something. They are the ones to point out immediately “When elders say, you have to do it immediately”)
  • Rigidity on money aspects – you might be well planned financially and every rupee might count to you. But if your son or daughter loses some money say Rs.5000 or even Rs.5,00,000, be flexible enough to accept it. Don’t be rigid saying “you have done a sin. Money is hard earned. Money is earned out of much struggle in life”. Some situation might have triggered them to lose it. Be it their mind that was preoccupied, or be it their carelessness, or be it their memory that would have failed them at that moment. It was all unintentional. It is just because of the beliefs you have about money, you react like this.
  • ‘N’ number of societal rigidities
    • Woman expects her man to be very informative. (Knowing something is again interest based. One might be too much inclined towards technology that he will not care about politics. Other might be inclined towards something else. Other might be inclined towards knowing everything that is happening in this world.)
    • Living together is a sin (The society in which we are brought up considers it to be a sin. Hence we think that way. If in case our kids end up that way, we have two options – either to be flexible and accept or to be rigid and suffer.)
    • Caste –> Traditions –>Firm Believers or Believers in some traditions (They wouldn’t be able to accept any deviations from the norms defined in the traditions)
    • You shouldn’t sit cross legged in front of elders (It is purely ones comfort to sit that way)
    • The horoscope says this and so you must follow it. Eg: Horoscope says that you must avoid driving for next 6 months. (Many of us don’t understand that our mind is more powerful than the planetary motions. Even if the planetary motions decide certain things in life, our mind is more powerful to overcome it. By believing in the horoscope, I feel that the capabilities of our mind are restricted to a larger extent)
    • I will have to make my Kid study hard so that it can compete in today’s world. (The flaw is in the education system. Why do you really want to screw your kid’s life by doing that?)
    • Buy something while visiting a relative’s home (In many places, what you buy is directly proportional to the lasting of your good relationship)
    • Buy Horlicks while someone is in hospital irrespective of whatever their illness is. (Horlicks gives strength is what they say. Fine. It is useful when someone is dehydrated or is lacking energy. But why do you buy Horlicks when someone has a fractured hand or when someone has an asthma attack or when someone has an injured shoulder)
    • Buying/Wearing gold is a sign of prestige             

And many more societal rigidities……………………

By being rigid, you lose your flexibility and thereby your peace of mind. Rigidity in any form is not a recipe for happy living

Have we really introspected on what we are rigid about? When someone says we are rigid, we immediately say “I am not rigid”. By saying that immediately, we safeguard our image from getting spoilt and our mind from thinking deeply. Instead, when we listen when people say that we are rigid and when we tell them “I will introspect on this”, it gives us a better realization.

Steps to overcome rigidity:

1)      The first most important thing in changing ones behavioral traits is ACCEPTANCE of what you have already. Accept that you are being rigid towards certain things

2)      Have a conscious check on whenever you do your rigid activities or whenever you stress upon others to follow the activities in the same rigid way

3)      Have a small board at home or black chart or diary and note down all the things you are rigid about

4)      See that diary or board and tell yourself “It’s ok if these activities are done in a different way or if these activities are done a little later.” If you see someone doing a set of activities in a different way, just ignore them and tell yourself “What if they do it that way. It doesn’t matter”

By doing these, you are just conditioning your mind. By conditioning your mind, you can change the way you live.

Reiterating the crux of this post – Being Rigid in any form is definitely not a Recipe for Happy living

Society Suppresses our Expressions

Few years back I traveled by train from Chennai to Coimbatore. I was seated in a coupe where there were 2 families each of them with a 3yr old kid. The kids were playing so happily with their toys/dolls. When the train started, one of the families got down with their child. The child in the train started crying so badly for having taken away from him his little cute friend. His heart was heavy and he expressed his emotions right there. It didn’t matter for him if it was public or private. He tells the world the love he had for his little friend. I felt so sad for him. Children are so open and expressive.

We are so conscious to express ourselves. The environment matters more. Crying is viewed as negative in the society. Loud laughter is negative. What is this society if it even deprives a human of his basic right to cry when he is in deep sorrow or to laugh out loud when his heart is rejoicing?

Our intention is to express but our actual action ends up in impressing the society.

As children we expressed our interests in everything but now we suppress it as we project ourselves to be more strong and dignified.

While looking for a bride, there are instances when we look at the right match and talk to the girls’ parents regarding our interest in her. There would be instances wherein we might not get a reply in a day or two. But we would genuinely be interested to ask their views again but we suppress it. Reason being our thought process which goes like this “We are from the boy’s side and so we shouldn’t be leaning forward so much to know their interest. Let them get back. I should maintain a strong image.”

We don’t even express our basic interests. Unlike children, we kill our intentions basing it upon the undefined, meaningless societal norms.

Our intention is to express but our actual action ends up in impressing the society.

As children, we loved to watch cartoons, read comics, watch animated movies etc.

A 25yr old feels shy to read Champak or to read Tintin in a public library as people look at him/her in a bizarre way. Usual immediate response being “Those are childish books”. But who writes it? A child is it? The 25yr old wishes to express his/her interest in those books but stumbles by what others would say..

Our intention is to express but our actual action ends up in impressing the society.

This society views the word “childish” as a derogatory term but by being childish, it will help us in a lot of ways to express our intentions. Follow your intentions and express your intentions as actions.

Deep down, our intentions are always true and pure but the outside world in a way influences a person to create a mismatch between intentions and actions. It is up to us to resolve the mismatch..

Miss you Grandmother..

It was 30th September 8.45pm when my loving Grandmother left this world. I really really cannot express how nice a human being she is. Her last word to me was my name “Anand” on September 29th night around 9pm and she kissed my palm. It felt like something.. I bent down to touch her feet and pray and I broke down as I knew her situation looked bad. I thought “Would this be my last worship??” and I said No No to myself. The next day when I entered my uncle’s house, people started crying. I knew what had happened and this was not I came there for. I couldn’t see her alive on September 30th 😦 Memories ran through my mind and tears rolled down my eyes. I was there with her till the moment she was burnt. Her body was sent into the electric furnace like thing. I just couldn’t see that. Hmmmmmmmmmm.. Let her soul rest in Peace..

I loved her innocence. I loved her love for everybody. I loved her attitude of “Do good things even for people who do bad things to you”, I loved her attitude of “Money is not life”. I love her so much.

But I feel bad for one thing. I repent for it. It pricks me. 😦

Even when I go to a shop nearby, she used to say “Careful Anand. Cross the road carefully. Ride the bike slowly.. I will go to the shop and come.. You take rest”.. Whenever she said this 5 or 6 times, I got little irritated and said “Please don’t keep repeating. I am not a little kid”.. Sometimes very softly. Sometimes I said a little harshly.

She loved me to that extent that made her tell multiple times. But why did I reply harshly to her?? Why couldn’t have I ignored those repeated statements? This pricks me.. It pricks me hard..

Why do I realize it now saying it is love and why did I say it was ‘loving and pampering’ me at that time? I am so so so sorry paati.. I loved u so much but at times I hurt you by being harsh whenever you repeatedly said things. I am very very sorry paati.. I request everyone to not be harsh to their loved ones whatever the reason might be that triggers you. It really pains later..

Now that I am feeling but

She is not there to repeatedly say things

She is not there to call me “KUTTY”

She is not there to call me “THANGAM”

She is not there to hold my hand and kiss my palm

She is not there to make me the dishes that I love, anytime I ask

Whenever my mother kept sweets in her plate, she broke it in half and fed me the rest or sometimes even gave me the whole sweet.

She showered so much love on me. I am able to see only her everywhere.. In the things that she used, in the place where she slept, in the pickle that she loved..

My mom, aunt and few others were serving us (Cousins and me) food yesterday morning. When we were eating, my cousin said a statement “Remember how she used to serve food for us?”. It just brought tears in my eyes. I remembered the rice rolls she gave us. I remembered the big banana leaf she placed in front of us and served with full heart. She seems to be everywhere now just like God..

You are GREAT grandmother. You are loved by so many people and that shows who you are. Please be with me all my life..

I love u so much and I will miss you very badly.

Unconditional Love

I am not sure how long my grandmother will be there in this world. She is ill and suffering now.. She is 93yrs old. I have never ever seen a hard worker like her but I guess god has ordered her to take rest now.. Yesterday, she couldn’t bear her heart pain and she said “I am going to die” and she wanted to see all her sons, daughters and grand children as soon as possible. Everyone arrived immediately and we were with her. Her son (My Uncle), whose house she was in, had a severe headache that day morning. We told him “Go and sleep since you have severe headache” and my grandmother somehow heard what we said. Time passed by and it was night..

Grandmother (In the bed.. Not even able to turn and see her son properly.. Suffering with pain..): Calling her son through actions .. Says come come with her hands

My uncle goes near her and bends forward

Grandmother: Did u take tablets for your headache? Are you ok now?

Inspite of her suffering, inspite of her fear of leaving the world, she asks her son this question without forgetting.

This is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. The moment was truly emotional for me. It just conveyed one thing. “Money isn’t life and it alone cannot bring you happiness”.. People, who go behind money all the time, just give it a thought.

Yet another tradition/belief followed blindly

A week back, when I went to my relative’s house for lunch, this happened.

  • Aunt (Serving me food, she serves rice first)
  • Uncle: You have to keep vegetables first and then you will have to serve rice
  • Aunt (She obeys his words)
  • Me: Why uncle? Why such formalities and all.
  • Uncle: This is how you should serve food and you shouldn’t serve rice first. Keep vegetables, then rice and then sambar/rasam.. Elders keep telling this time and again.

I am sure many South Indians or might be even some North Indians would have heard this. It has been followed blindly in many houses. In fact it is not necessary that we should follow it at home.

This tradition started in a marriage when this happened. There were many people sitting in a row and rice was served first. They had to wait for a few minutes before vegetables were served. Rice cannot be consumed as such without Sambar or vegetables. It doesn’t taste good. This wait made them feel irritated. Hence we find people serving sweets, vegetables first and then rice during receptions/marriages that we visit. People can eat sweets and vegetables even it takes few minutes for people to serve rice. This keeps people occupied without making them to wait.

When it comes to marriages/receptions, we would love our visitors to go out of the hall with their heart filled with happiness. So whether the caterer believes in the tradition or not, he just follows the tradition thinking some of them in the crowd might lose their temper if rice is served first thereby creating unhappiness or that he might lose his catering business. This makes sense.

At home, we don’t have a crowd like in a reception hall. So even though rice is kept first, immediately vegetables will be served. This tradition doesn’t make sense here is what I feel.

Please pour in your suggestions if you have any

Ashamed to write this blog.. But will not feel ashamed again..

I feel guilty… Very guilty.. I respect my nation to the core

  • I have stood for the National Anthem even if it was telecasted on the Television
  • I have stood for the National Anthem whenever it was played before a sport (Cricket, hockey etc) begins
  • I always had the basic courtesy to respect my National Anthem no matter where I was or what I was doing..

But did I sing the Anthem correctly?? 😦

I was always sure that I made few mistakes in pronouncing few words of the Anthem

I always had this in my mind whenever I sang it but didn’t correct it immediately. I accept. Mistake is mine. Finally it was yesterday when an incident broke the shackles of my mispronunciation. It was yesterday’s briefing session for the Toastmasters Division contest which happened today that took away my shame. I was asked by the MC to join a troupe of good singing girls to sing the anthem (Don’t worry I opted out at the last moment to make it sound good :)). This was when I went home and googled for the anthem’s lyrics and heard the youtube versions for pronunciation and finally got it right. Now I can sing confidently 🙂

How many of us pronounce each and every word correctly? How many of us just join the group and just sing with them?

Please learn this quickly and take out your shame like me..


jana-gaNa-mana-adhinAyaka, jaya he’
vindhya himAchala yamunA gangA
uchchala jaladhi tarangA

tava Subha nAme’ jAge’
tava Subha ASisha mAge’
gAhe’ tava jaya-gAthA |

jana-gaNa-mangaLadAyaka, jaya he’
jaya he’, jaya he’, jaya he’,
jaya jaya jaya, jaya he’ |

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What would I do with this? See you in next post 🙂