September 2016 By Suma Varughese Each time we add an element of newness to our day, we infuse our being with spirit, says Suma Varughese My morning usually starts with cooking for the day. Most of the time, I give in to comfort, convenience and habit, and cook the same old Malayali dishes that are familiar, and which I quite enjoy. However, the best days are those in which I put aside the compelling pull of sameness and try something new. The moment I begin the task, a fresh zest enters my system, and I attack the task with excitement. And if it turns out well, I feel enriched and satisfied. My repertoire has increased, and I have been exposed to a new taste. In the same way, if my daily work takes me elsewhere other than the well beaten track to the office, even if it is as unexciting as getting our new office space registered, I feel a freshness as I get up early in the morning and proceed to the registrar’s office at about 7 am. Mumbai has only just come to life at that time, and I enjoy the sights of milkmen and breadmen making their rounds, men and women dressed in tracksuits or shorts taking their daily walks, while neatly dressed schoolchildren wait for school buses. Perhaps this is why I love travelling, for I am in the hands of the unknown and everything I see, smell, hear, feel or taste is new to the senses. I have now come to believe that newness is essential to the spirit in us and that we are obliged to interweave it into our daily lives as much as we can. A new hair cut, a new route to a familiar place, a new acquisition, even rearranging your drawing room furniture, challenge the staleness that often takes over our lives, and compel us to look at our surroundings or our lives with new eyes. Perhaps this is why a holiday is important even for those who find their daily lives so stimulating that there seems no reason to take a break from it. Leaving it behind for a while helps you develop a fresh perspective to your work and routine, and when you return, it is usually with renewed vigour. Unfortunately, most of us get locked into habits and daily schedules because we can do these tasks easily and unthinkingly. But that is exactly why they are antagonistic to spirit. Consciousness recedes, and we find ourselves jogtrotting through life until one day we wake up and ask ourselves why life has become so boring and unchallenging. The smart ones discern the importance of renewing even well worn projects and tasks. I still remember many years ago, going to meet Medha Patkar at one of her hunger strikes to further the cause of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA). The place was bustling with activists, among who Medha sat, alert and attentive. Periodically, she would call out to her young troops and exhort them to “make it new, make it new.” Newness is essential to the spirit in us and we are obliged to interweave it into our daily lives At first I was intrigued by this call, and wondered what she meant by it. Now I know she was asking them to renew the cause in their minds, and to re-experience the importance of standing up for the rights of the tribals, and against the insensitive progressiveness of the times. Finally, it is the enlightened souls who take newness to its zenith, because of their ability to greet each moment anew, without the deadweight of the past or the anxiety of the future. In the calmness and serenity that such a perspective grants, they seize each moment fully and wrest from it all the juice it has to offer. What a prospect! About the author : Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. She also holds writer’s workshops. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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