Oh Ya, That Moment

Have you ever taken notice of a defining moment that precedes a major shift in one’s principles or decisions? The one similar to what Gandhiji must have experienced when he got booted out of that train in SA? It must have slowly dawned on him, during that brief span of time which I like to call ‘the defining moment’, that a lot of hardship awaited him on his path for a greater common good. It is the moment after you have suffered a mental shock and oblivious to your surroundings, thoughts spurting out fireworks, you guide your mind towards that one decision which has been working its way out from the back of your mind for some time now. The moment before you voice out -This is it! This is what I have to do to be happy from here on!

My personal defining moments have been quite a few (Phew!). Each time the thought process would have got triggered months back. Much like a hunted prey, I would be vaguely aware of the incessant stalker who is making me stop at my tracks and check over my shoulders during my otherwise perfect skip down the path. Then suddenly something gives off, the pounce comes down heavily on me and during that moment – I make a decision that will change my whole personality, bring whole world crumbling down and surround me with all those blocks to start building a whole new pattern once more.

One such instant was what I like to call ‘The Vegetarian Call’.  There always was that nagging feeling whenever I ate meat when I was a kid. While walking to the school bus stop one day, fate presented me with a long hard glare from the severed, brown head of a goat in a butcher shop. I kept walking but my mind was churning out things I did not understand then. Everything around me slow-motioned for a moment and then cleared out. I came back home that evening and declared myself a vegetarian.

There were other defining moments like the first, jaw-dropping (figuratively speaking of course, why? Read on) view of the Indian Ocean and all the wonder that scuba diving thrust on me just by an unceremonious dunk in the sea. I knew I was hooked and even wrote about it here :- Lip lock with Havelock. Or the slow and steady contentment of travelling alone that sneaks in while one is quietly observing the Tanjaore gopuram – Thanjavur . The causes and conditions were different each time, but results of getting hooked on with a new interest – the same.

No prices for guessing how quick I can spot these defining moments – D.M. from now on. But what prompted my latest soliloquy and later on a D.M., was when my bags and through them I, was thoroughly exposed at London’s Heathrow airport.

After almost 7 hrs of flight from Toronto and another one spent standing in line just to get to Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport left me brain-dead. So when the posters said pack liquids in a separate pack and that liquids more than 100 mL will not be enjoying a flight from there, I dutifully packed my mouthwash which was the only liquid imprisoned inside a 250 mL container. Having thus prepared for my security check, I waited patiently and prayed the shouting lady doesn’t hold me in her queue.

Was I ever so naive! She caught and spewed me out left right and center. I broke a nail and scratched the skin of my hand while huffing and puffing to her orders of heaving up my trolley, backpack and laptop in the preferred order and manner. In went the carefully packed mouthwash into the trash. God save my fellow passenger for next 10 hrs.

This nightmare was far from getting over. Both my bags didn’t impress the scanner and made it to the shame list. As I waited again in the shame queue, I apologized for my bags to the gum-chewing young woman standing behind. To which she replied, “Whatever, I just don’t want to miss my flight”. Well then maybe you should have taken out your iPod out of your bag and kept out of the shame queue yourself?

Out came carefully packed clothes, emergency underwear, tiny bottles of perfume/lotions, gifts for near and dear, hair straightener and what-nots. The fact that I had no trouble at Toronto airport with all these intact made no impact now. Here I could be a terrorist hiding undetermined pollen of chemical weapons inside tiny tubes of moisturizer or e-bugs up the ass of my Kindle. With people ogling at the contents of my bags strewn about, I felt really violated for the first time in the West.

After every inch of my bags got scanned and it was verified that my poor jet lagged brain was in no way a danger to precious Londoners, I got the privilege of packing my bags all over again under 2 minutes before the woman behind me went for my throat.

I had to sit down somewhere far, far away from the security desk once the ordeal came to an end. The D.M. stuck at this moment as a part of the second of my two revelations. First revelation was that Heathrow should seriously consider upgrading their scanner machines to actually detect something lethal and harass tired passengers less. Second, was that I am a heavy packer. I like to travel light, but contrary to my liking, I was packed to the brim. Yes, I was moving back to India after 6 months abroad but wasn’t there something I could have avoided cramming up?

Was I doing the same with myself? Packing unwanted baggage in the form of anger, frustration and disappointment? Weighing me down and lowering my self-respect. Carrying dead relationships, dreams never worked upon, lists never attempted at and an ungrateful corporate job . Resentment at people who fail to understand and behave a certain way – my way.

I remembered coming across a way of life called minimalism. Said life is about experience and not the stuff or even people you call yours. The only constant in life is change itself and how important it is to realize that the only thing you can control is your own mind. A few blogs I read about said it frees you and helps prioritize. Together with few other insights I gathered from the book, The Dalai Lama’s Cat, I knew at that moment that this was something I had to try to de-clutter my space and mind and trying I am. This blog by the successful minimalist duo – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, http://www.theminimalists.com, is describing just that and much more. They even have a 21 days plan on how to do it. Am currently on day 2  🙂

I try to be more generous in hope of it finding its way back to me. I have let gone of my failed relationships and accepted them as the manure to my growth as a person. I am trying to read and write more.  But it is too soon to say that I have uncovered the perfect way to happiness and contentment. After all I’m only figuring it out as I go and I will let you know for sure if it is.


12 thoughts on “Oh Ya, That Moment

  1. I recently had a bad experience at Denver too, where my prized lotions etc went to trash and I was too tired to argue.. I hope you find what you are looking for through the minimalists 🙂


  2. Oh I am so happy that you like and are following my blog. I love to discuss Indian politics with the ever so involved and educated young people. If you check my blog you will see I am pretty taken with Mr. Modi after 4 months in Ahmedabad….I know there are two possibilities… you, too, like Mr. Modi…or you detest him….let me know! Namate. . . .


    1. Namaste Anne,

      Thank you for following my blog and it’s indeed refreshing to discuss Indian politics with an expat. As for the topic of Modi, I do not fully support him due to his history as a Hindu chauvinist. Like many other politicians, he has been accused of taking advantage of communal riots and even triggering them off. But numbers show that he was a good leader in Gujarat. India needs a strong leader now and Modi could be the right one to assert over issues like the Indo-china border encroachment. I hope if he gets to be the PM, he will prove the accusations of being communal wrong and takes India strongly forward.


      1. I am always surprised when the fire on the train is not mentioned as touching off the riots. Not that i agree with any of the violence. We had terrible riots in the US in the 60s that were set off by assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. They just seemed to need to “burn” out on their own. I just find hard to think that Mr. Modi would have intentionally caused harm his career by truly being involved in the riots. And the fact that Congress is not still being beaten up over the Golden Temple riots and other states have had riots, too.
        I think things got terribly out of control and he was unable to stop the violence all around. There is no doubt he is a strong leader now, capable, innovative. I think he is the kind of leader that all Indian needs now to become the leader in the world that is needed today. .You are a moderate, reasonable debater! Maybe tomorrow I will post about the incredible new solar power plant, panels over the river, that is in Gujarat. They now produce 2/3 of the electricity in all of India.. I would image that you have experienced the notorious Indian blackouts! Four months in Ahmedabad and we only lost power once! Now if he could fix the spotty internet and phones. . . . . . .


      2. Thank you for sharing that. It does indeed bring credibility of Modi into new light. India indeed needs a strong leader and congress has just been a no-show during this run. What I’m really concerned about is the growing intolerance against our Muslim brethren and women in India. My generation is one that has lost hope in politicians. If Modi can reinstall our faith in Indian politicians, he could probably reverse the brain-drain that India suffers now.


      3. Those are terrible problems in India and need to be corrected, ASAP, but let me tell you what I observed. All the reported rapes were in Mumbai and especially Delhi or in the villages. While we were there from Jan. until the first of May of this year, I don’t remember one reported in Gujarat or at least Ahmedabad. I know there is a politician that Modi seems to be protecting that has been convincted…That is inexcusable and needs to be stopped. I asked another blogger why so few rapes in Gujarat? He said he thought it was because it is a very religious area. I asked my husband why? He said that it is because that Gujarat is a dry state. What do you think? Could it be Modi’s leadership?
        I think that Modi has been working for this time since he was a young boy working as a tea wallah….He is very smart and knows that the riots must NEVER happen again and especially on his watch. I think he knows that he has to be the PM of ALL INDIA as he said in his speech. Your thoughts?


      4. I think the cases of rape were just not reported unlike rest of the states. India and especially its villages suffer from illiteracy and cultural dogma which acts as protection to miscreants.

        Modi is a seasoned player and BJP a strong political party. I really hope their rule does not create a wider religious schism between Indians. I recently came across this blog and thought you might like to read too – http://www.1stethical.com/2013/03/01/we-are-more-than-our-name-a-gujarati-muslim-ponders-life-under-narendra-modi/


      5. Oh I read that very sad education of that young Muslim. Prejudice and ill treatment is awful anywhere. I join you in hoping that if Mr. Modi is elected PM and there will be healing of the different religious groups and that he truly means that he would be the leader of ALL India.

        I thought that the fact that the Muslims were the attackers of the train was pretty well the fact. Who else would have done it? What do you think?

        I am going to look up Juhapura slum. Thanks. Namaste


  3. I decided to post the post you sent me. I cut and paste, as I didn’t see a reblog. I wanted to use your address on the post. Do you mind? I want to be fair after giving such vociferous praise for Mr. Modi. Namaste. . . .Anne


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