I am not rude, my enemy is food!

NaBloPoMo 2021

The cultural connotations of eating together are obvious, but some people may have life threatening allergies, conditions like celiac disease or even gross intolerances to certain foods that they are unwilling to disclose to casual acquaintances. This poem echoes their sentiment (inspired by a description of life with celiac disease).

It’s that anxiety provoking time for me

When I try to fill my plate and sit down nervously

I was having fun at the party so far, but now

Comes the hard part for me- I cannot allow

Myself to be carried away at the smell and sight

Of gourmet food, I have to ensure I eat right

I am used to it now, actually, it’s easy enough to be judicious

But eating in company, with a spread of food delicious

Is my worst nightmare, I get socially awkward

I try to justify why I am “eating like a bird”

*

I am not on a diet to lose weight, but my

Vociferous explanation no one does buy

When people say one bite would not lead to weight gain

I feel frustrated, it is difficult to explain

Why I cannot partake of this communal activity

Why eating certain things is forbidden for me

No, I am not trying to say the food is not good

If I could eat even a little bit of everything, taste it I would

It is not as simple as making up for calories

With a more intense workout next day, hear me please

I tense up just thinking of the consequence if I

Exercised indiscretion even once, the stakes are too high

If I give into peer pressure and take but a bite

I would be sick pretty soon, I keep that in sight

*

When people finally hear me, to help me they try

They offer to fix something else for me, and suddenly I

Become the object of attention, feeling much worse

For creating such a fuss, my dietary restriction is a curse

I still end up disappointing them anyway

I wish the subject of food would go away

*

Sitting together to eat and sharing food are

The most universal social customs by far

Celebration involves dining together inevitably

What should bring joy provokes anxiety regrettably

Here’s a plea to everyone- if you ever see

Someone looking anxious at a table with a plate empty

Try, if you can, to refrain from offering them food

And if they refuse, know that they are not being rude..

Thou shall not burn out..

NaBloPoMo 2021

A buzzword these days is burnout

In professional circles often heard about

You are expected to over perform every day

Connected twenty-four- seven you are expected to stay

Strategies to combat burnout are supposed to include

Mandatory coaching sessions that intrude

On your personal time, that should ideally be spent

With family, doing things that bring fulfillment

To encourage employees to eat healthy and exercise

Programs to encourage “healthy competition” are devised

Prizes may be announced for losing most weight

Adding competition beyond work-related metrics to your plate

Well-meaning coaches in seminars try to encourage you

To take up a new hobby, develop an interest new

While you sit there, yawning, wondering yet again

What sense it could make to go through the pain

Of hearing what you know, on a free weekend

If you were not here, time on a hobby you could spend

**

If only the root cause of burnout could be

Addressed by the corporate world effectively!

The more advice and seminars that employees receive

The less control over their lives they perceive

The constant connection with work creates

A milieu for burnout, adding more stress to their plates

There is value in work and value in play

To be able to unplug from work at the end of the day

Not worrying about answering e-mails or fielding calls

Can make a huge difference, though it appears a change small

Leisure is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing

Expectations exist for work, there should be none for relaxing

Question the Establishment?

NaBloPoMo 2021. Do Good, Kid

You should not be a rebel outright

The establishment you should not constantly fight

But at the same time I want you to know

Do not be afraid to challenge the status quo

When the order of things seems stagnant

When archaic rules no longer appear relevant

When social norms appear discriminatory

When sectarian behavior is rooted in violent history

When environmental insensitivity you see

When science is eclipsed by quackery

By all means, for the right cause, your voice you should raise

Question the norms, forge new pathways

Towards a new order contemporary and just

If something feels wrong, try to address it you must

*

Let me caution you here, though

It is never easy to challenge the status-quo

It is easier to take the path of least resistance

And do nothing, but at the cost of a nagging conscience

You may be labeled a nonconformist or an iconoclast

You may lose friends, become an outcast

The fight could feel lonely and long

But if you follow your heart and have conviction strong

You should carry on, because enduring change does not come

Without perseverance and luck, to extent some

The State of Flow

NaBloPoMo 2021 Do Good, Kid!

In a world where attention-deficit has become the norm

It still holds true that in order to perform

At the highest level in any vocation

You need periods of intense concentration

When you achieve the state of flow

Distractions melt away, you’re on the go

Completely absorbed in the task before you

In the moment, you forget about other needs too

The activity itself is rewarding, as you immerse

Yourself completely in it, oblivious of the universe

**

I hope in a world interrupted in ways innumerable

You achieve the state of flow in your chosen activities, you are able

To focus intensely, enjoy complete immersion

Without distractions, without interruption

In the state of flow masterpieces are created

In complete absorption, your mind and soul are satiated

More important than any external measure of success

Being in the flow is about being rewarded in the process..

Climb that Mountain

NaBloPoMo 2021 Do Good, Kid!

You want a straight line, a curved one you find

Despite immaculate planning, your journey is not streamlined

Roadblocks at each step, hurdles along the way

Smoothly you never seem to get through the day

Yet every curveball dodged, every impediment overcome

Is an accomplishment, more confident you become

Stumbling blocks of life at first give you

Disappointment, discouragement, paralyzing fear too

After the initial fear, you pull yourself together

To face the looming challenge strength you gather

You take small steps, with hesitation

As the knots unravel, your initial trepidation

Starts melting away, the path clears up some more

You find yourself in a better place than before..

**

You may keep wishing your problems away

But hurdles in your path static stay

Unless to get through a path you create

You may not find yourself helped by fate…

Like a boss… at home

My dear friend, a highly accomplished woman are you

An excellent homemaker and a doting mother too

Here’s something I would like to suggest if I may

When compliments on culinary skills or motherhood come your way

Please take them as such, please do not try

To explain your work-life balance, to justify why

You have chosen home over an ambitious career

Or why you work part-time- there is no need, my dear

To defend your life choices, just accept the compliment

You should learn to take credit for your talent

*

There are women making strides at the workplace

Challenges in work-life balance they face

If you have found that balance elusive

Take pride in it, we all have different lives to live

Educated, ambitious women feel pressured to excel

In every sphere, we seem to be conditioned to dwell

On the aspects of our lives that are less illustrious

We forget how we are in our lives uber industrious..

**

So here’s my humble request yet again

Accept compliments, from apologizing, refrain

Busy…

NaBloPoMo 2021 Do Good, Kid

There are days that appear to be

Designed in hell, where you are busy

Beyond capability, it appears

Exhaustion brings you to the brink of tears

Each time you think you can do no more

Another task is added, more complex than the one before

You try to pull together, keep your sanity intact

When all you can think of is quitting in fact

Hungry, thirsty, with muscles all aching

You feel your indomitable spirit breaking

The pace is relentless, there is no pause

There is no time even for self-applause

Maybe if you could stop and appraise

What you have accomplished so far it would raise

Your spirits that in the doldrums lie

But that sliver of time is hard to come by…

**

Such days come and go, and later you think

Of those days with pride that brought you to the brink

Of frustration and exhaustion profound,

Those are the days when your mojo you found

You learnt how to push yourself a little more

You came out stronger than you were before..

Lesson from the Gita

The sum total of many parts is your identity

Your upbringing, your culture, your values- each entity

Contributes towards making you the person you become

The process is bound to be influenced some

By the path of living followed by your parents

Therefore when parenting its challenges presents

As an imperfect human being I try to discern

The most important lessons I would like you, my child, to learn

The unique lesson from our culture that I want to impart

Comes from the scripture, it is close to my heart..

*

I want you to learn the lesson Krishna gave

On the battlefield, to Arjun, the warrior brave

That you should perform your work without anticipation

Of any reward, think of the journey, not the destination

To put your best foot forward, to fulfill your destiny

Separate desire from action, not have expectation any

Of a reward, applause, encouragement when your work you do

The best results are obtained thus, I’ve found it to be true…

*

You may not read The Gita, but this you should imbibe

This singular lesson would prevent disappointment, let you thrive

A sense of wonder

NaBloPoMo 2021. Do Good Kid

Being exposed to all the ills in this world

It’s just too easy to become cynical

To look at everything through a pragmatic lens

To never allow yourself to experience

Wonder, amazement, to feel awestruck

To never attribute anything to sheer luck..

While being pragmatic has its merits, no doubt

Too much emphasis on practicality you could do without

Once in a while allow yourself to

Immerse your soul in the beauty of life too..

**

Chase shooting stars, rainbows, auroras galore

Bathe your senses in moonlight like never before

Look at the clouds on a mountain floating away

Wax poetic on seeing the fiery sunset today..

When (rarely) the world seems to conspire

To make things go right, fulfill your desires

Just celebrate it as a magical event

Not rationalize how and why it happened

When miracles seem to fix broken situations

Think of them as such, not look for logical explanations

**

The universe is vast beyond our imagination collective

To live with a sense of wonder is the most fulfilling way to live

Sometimes we need to believe in fairy tales

To make sense of the senseless suffering that prevails..

On the other side of fear

NaBloPoMo 2021 Do Good, Kid!

Sooner or later you’ll have to face

What you fear the most, your comfortable place

You will be forced to leave and take a leap

Into the scary unknown that steals your sleep

If you think you can live life in your comfort zone throughout

You are wrong, circumstances will force you out

It will happen when you least expect, let me tell you

You will have no choice at that moment except to

Face the situation that was your worst nightmare

And face you will, if about your life you care…

**

You will come out on the other side

Stronger, with more confidence inside

Each time you conquer a primeval fear

You see a growth spurt as a person, my dear

If you live in fear, you are not fully living

What you can offer to the world, you’re not giving

**

Let me then gently suggest to you

Each day, you should try to do

One thing that scares you, a small step is enough

So that facing your fear in a situation tough

Is not a concept completely alien to your mind

This way a path towards progress you shall find

What limits us most from moving forward, I think

Is fear, that brings us to the brink

Of the next step in success and leaves us there

To face our demons, and then prepare

For fight or flight, the former is what you should do

Where life awaits at the end of the comfort zone for you..

Truth does not hide in plain sight

NaBloPoMo 2021 Do Good, Kid

Truth is no longer “absolute”

What you perceive as truth I can refute

With an equally compelling set of arguments

Two different versions of truth we can present

If you try to search for the truth online

You are unlikely to find it because by design

“Facts” aligned with your beliefs you see

As a result of algorithmic wizardry

Performed by technology stalwarts few

What you want is what is shown to you..

**

There are people on the opposite end from you

Who have a diametrically opposite view

They see a different truth when they look online

At work is a complex Machiavellian design

You exist in one bubble, in another they reside

The twain do not meet, thus your beliefs stay safe inside

**

So how do you find out the actual truth, you may ask

This is definitely not an easy task

But at least be aware that your version of reality

Is unlikely to be accurate in its totality

Stay away from extremes because the truth usually lies

Somewhere between opposite points of view, it would be wise

To look for the most “moderate” version of an issue

That is the one most likely to be true..

**

Take everything with a grain of healthy skepticism, I say

As you hear various versions of “reality” every day.

Listen…

NaBloPoMo 2021 Do Good, Kid!

These days when people talk to each other

To be paying only partial attention they appear

Most of us have our eyes glued to screens

Distracted we are, more than we’ve ever been

Most of us are guilty of this, yet most of us crave

To be heard-wish undivided attention our listeners would save

When we have something we want to share

That one should listened to, seems fair

**

In a world where many talk and few really listen

Be the one who truly listens to fellow men

When someone tells you something, if you can look them in the eye

Suppress the urge to interrupt, if you can at least try

To not check your phone or look elsewhere

You may find that you actually care

About what the person before you is saying

You may understand them if attention you are paying

By really listening to people, empathy you may gain

Reduce misunderstandings, feel others’ pain

**

In a world full of myriad voices, full of cacophony

Have your unique voice, but also listen intently…

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