Category Archives: Soul

There is nothing positive about India

Glad the headline grabbed your attention.

India is a rich country.

People there have the single most powerful weapon that matters.

Not nuclear weapons.

Not money.

Not petrol.

Not even tea & spices.

The unbeatable, sincere, wide smile.

[…]

During my 3-week trip in India, my Indian friends were asking me whether I’m having a blast, where I’m going next and whether I need any help.

Meanwhile some of my dear European friends were asking me whether it is really THAT dirty, whether I have diarrhea and whether I have already had a mosquito bite, because malaria is a very dangerous disease…

To alleviate (to coin a phrase) the “ill-curious” and their suffering:

Yes, there is poverty around every corner, there is garbage and I saw children throwing bottles in the sea instead of pebbles.

Misery exists all around. Of course, if that is what you’re looking for.

As to the diarrhea, I’m happy to inform you I fully enjoyed the fantastic Indian cuisine.

My trip to India was a trip within myself. What would I really see?

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, as The Fox advised the Little Prince.

Indian heart

Indian heart

Ok, but are most buses really without windows?

Yes! What a major inconvenience! Once you are on an Indian bus, the lack of windows would be your smallest concern. In other words, evangelists should really think about preaching in the Indian buses. When you see the manner of driving, you immediately start praying. 🙂

And did you see people peeing on the streets?

Yes! And you know what… they actually seemed truly relieved after peeing 🙂

Unlike the “rich” Western travellers who were coo coo-ing about a ‘proper WC’, ‘Oh my Gosh, it’s disgusting!’ They seemed very tense.

So did Indians share any recipe for happiness?

Western folks just love mindless recipes and formulas 🙂

But I think I can shed some light on that matter.

The Indian people I met along the way have just surrounded themselves with amazing colours (I have hardly seen any black or grey colours: the corporations’ favourites).

Also super intense, joyful, emotional music with the weirdest lyrics possible (because they don’t care what others think. They want to have FUN!)

And let’s not forget about the chaotic dances (because it’s important to grab the moment with your friends – without airs and graces).

Finally: the bargaining! True pleasure and art! It’s just the daily hobby.

Trade is art

Trade is art

The secret sauce? I guess it is staying true to themselves that makes their faces radiant and their hearts glow.

Do you think I am exaggerating? Maybe you’ll label it as the ‘post-travel, romantic effect’. But I have evidence 🙂

Working in the creative industry, I’ve learned to research.

My personal brief for this trip was to smile at everyone. No matter how hot it is outside, no matter how unfriendly some people might seem, no matter how many mosquitos or rats are around me.

I got a 100% response rate. To spell it out: A hun-dred per-cent.

Not a single person did look me as if I am crazy for smiling ‘without a reason’, ‘without asking for anything in return’.

Not a single person did look worried, because don’t forget the beginning of this article: Indians are rich in smiles. It costs them nothing to smile back. They don’t think twice about it.

How about the driving? Is it as bad as Youtube videos show?

Haha, yes! Maybe “worse” when you (hopefully) live it!

What happens on the Indian roads is a mystery to the foreign traveller. It’s some kind of live magic performance under the music of hundreds of sound horns.

The cultural difference here is that Western people use the horn to curse somebody and to show general annoyance and impatience. While Indian people use the sound horn as a communication tool, just saying “Hey, I am here, I am passing.”

Long live road symbioses in India!

Ok! But are you SURE you didn’t get the Delhi belly?

Convinced. It must have been really amusing to the restaurant staff that I was sweating over a portion of butter chicken, which an Indian Friend of mine defined as “sweet”… Wherever I have had my meals, I’ve encountered acceptance of the fact that I am a foreigner. I had the freedom to clean my utensils before use, I have been asked for my spice tolerance, and I have been checked on during the meal and after it.

Indian food is a celebration to the palate.

India is a celebration to the soul. If one takes everything as it is.

India

The insights

A bus without windows is less scary than a face without a smile.

Eating without utensils is less worrying than a heart with no sympathy in it.

Malaria is less dangerous than indifference, negativity and envy.

I am happy I shared my Indian truth with you. Have you been in India? Please share your experiences below. I promise: No judgment, only acceptance!

Subscribe to receive updates here

Procrastination

While cutting tomatoes, I think about work.

I am back from a client meeting, I think about going to Japan.

I am in Italy for a short excursion, I dream about working in the wine industry.

Sadly, I talk to friends, while I think about my parents.

When I am with my parents, we talk about the past.

People often relate their happiness to the presence of another person, to some prerequisites (travelling, higher income, free time) and live with the future promise to become happy. One day – WHEN… IF…

Songs, articles, social norms, routine, movies, they all scream: ‘I wish YOU were here.’

And certainly one day we get to that point in life, when we utter, silently, almost scared to say it out loud, to ourselves:

I wish I were here.

The marketing, political and economic spheres benefit vastly from this lack of clear inner voice. When confused, people could be easily cornered. Manipulated.

Interesting revelations became apparent while reading through Seth Goddin’s post on happiness:

‘The question worth pondering is: are you seeking out the imperfect to justify your habit of being unhappy? Does something have to happen in the outside world for you to be happy inside?’

‘Marketers spend billions of dollars trying to create a connection between what we see in the mirror and our happiness, implying that others are judging us in a way that ought to make us unhappy.’

It is damn interesting how we perceive time and location. It rarely is ‘here and now’. The mind leaps to ‘there and then’. We postpone living, as if we could afford doing it forever. Surrounded by precious items, comfort-ensuring statements and a pile of plans, we proceed to the illusion we own something else but this very moment.

We own this moment. 🙂

We are rich.

However, every time we lose focus on ‘here and now’, we go spiritually bankrupt.

Subscribe to receive updates here

Tagged , , ,

Window quest

My Father told me he had to save money for a project of his own. Walking along the street, we spotted a colourful ice-cream van. Bearing in mind what he had just told me before, I tried to suppress my excitement. ‘Shall we have some?’ he asked me. I gave him a perplexed look.

‘No, no… Ice-cream is childhood. And we don’t save from childhood.’

We (1970s-1990s) are the generation of ‘bowed heads’ because of our unconditional love for our mobile phones.

Two-year old kid I know freely browses on YouTube, downloads mobile apps and knows exactly 3 songs by heart. Parents seem proud and content. And they should be – their child is super smart, better educated technologically than they were and cutely running its fingers through iPad with a toothless smile.

It’s sweet and genius isn’t it?

What do you mean by ‘it’s sad’? It’s just the modern substitute for meeting other children at the playground, playing outdoor games, painting, skipping rope and coming home late because of hide-and-seek.

They are just children who enjoy themselves inside. They have a safe, ‘behind-the-door’ childhood. Their friends always like them and parents can keep an eye on them at all times. It’s convenient.

Visiting Cospicua, one of the historic Three Cities in Malta, something long-forgotten crossed my path.

ImageImage

Five ladies, two dogs and two lady shoulder bags.

It was amusing seeing children on the streets. Obviously, they were oblivious of petfinder.com as a viable option for animal raising.

In fact, all the narrow, full of local charm streets, leading to the dock, were awash with children laughter. Even saw a boy who was fixing his bike chain. Alone!

ImageImage

I found slightly disturbing he was not using the FAB Bike Doctor app…

Children I met in Cospicua can doubtlessly add a skill to their profile of LinkedIn:

Childhood authenticity management.

Turns out childhood and its genuineness (let me app that word) is a skill.

Of course one has to be granted the opportunity for accessing childhood. But mostly: one has to be able to see this window of opportunity. And you tend to ignore such windows, if you have opened 20 iPad windows.

Walking along the marine, I realised people from Cospicua have the skill to preserve their childhood all the way through to adulthood:

Image

Hee-haw!

8 September 2013, Questura Trapani, Sicily

Image

Time has stopped in Trapani. It’s Sunday noon. 30 degrees and not many sunstroke volunteers.

Silence gets broken with a deep-throated scream. A fourth character has arrived to the piazza. He wears no T-shirt; he beats himself with fists in the stomach. Then pitifully cups his face in his hands. He mixes sounds of sheer desperation and revolutionary battle yells.

I don’t know Italian but I understand he suffers.

He stops and shouts his lungs out before the Questura.

He lies down. Then he crawls. Again he lies on his back and starts ‘making an angel’ without snow. Now rolling over and crying.

Time has started again. Tick-tock.

Piazza starts enlivening. Children are curious, parents – worried.

What is bothering this delicate Mediterranean soul?

Why is the pavement his church and the Questura his enemy?

Italian language knowledge – free, I guess:

One of his three twins hasn’t been admitted in a kindergarten. He must now work part-time and babysit.

He blames the Questura for not chasing him often enough to use condoms.

Or

Luigi has kicked him out of his bar at noon and interfered unlawfully with his human right to drink and be understood.

Or

His daughter has left with the neighbour’s son who had once stolen an apple from their apple tree. 20 years ago crime with an irretrievable loss.

Police car arrives. Now there are 7 anxious faces looking at the screaming man. Nobody takes action.

Image

One policeman says I guess: ‘I arrest you for your feelings’

Or

‘You have made time in Trapani start ticking again. You are arrested.’

Then the policeman offers him a hand to stand up.

Another outburst of fury overflows the piazza and its spectators.

A cigarette is suggested. This works. The stranger takes an orator posture.

He explains himself for 5 minutes. It all sounds like his heart has been broken. But Italian does sound like it all the time.

A policeman, who has stayed in the car, gets out and tells the stranger something with a mild tone of voice, smiled.

Maybe they have found the 20 years old apple so there is no reason to blame the Questura.

An ambulance parks in front the building. Excuse me, the institution.

Is the ambulance the problem solver for this miserable citizen?

Image

Because of us, the spectators with various motives, maybe, the Stranger is not picked up by force and thrust in the police car.

Italians watching the scene are clicking their tongues but are still present, although disapproving.

It has now been 40 minutes of psychological exercise for everyone.

The Stranger meets the doctors with a story. He starts crying and yelling and rolling again across the piazza.

Suddenly one doctor starts doing the same.

The infected doctor exclaims in a fit of rage. He starts pointing fingers chaotically at the Questura.

After the first infected doctor, the same happens with several policemen to our surprise…

The whole piazza is now full of half-naked, bellowing citizens, posing questions to the Questura.

That would have been a very wonderful ending, right?

The chain reaction of rage, honesty, expressed grief, sharing and maybe even decisions found.

But it ended in the expected way. The stranger was driven away from Questura, Trapani, we all have gotten back home.

Image

A similar memory was evoked. Pacing through fields at noon.

Time has stopped. A donkey brays from all his donkey heart and soul.

‘Hee-haw!’

And I was 4, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Now I’m 24 and I still can’t.

Was it hungry?

Was it sad?

Or was it just a donkey thing?

Is it only human to collapse emotionally before the Questura?

Maybe ignorance is bliss.

Hee-haw!