Self-Esteem

I  recently watched a Hindi movie “English Vinglish”. It touched upon the subtle but important topic of self-esteem. To live happily, self-worth is as important to us as food or may be even more. Not surprising we have a Maslow’s pyramid of self-esteem much like the familiar food pyramid.

A person with deep-rooted self-confidence is unlikely to get worried or scared to make mistakes.When you are learning to drive the car, and for the first time go on a highway, it can be a tough test. You do feel relief and pride when you have successfully driven through and come back home, safely.

No matter how this attitude is portrayed in words, words never do justice.  It is similar to letting yourself go in the deep waters and believing you can float. It is felt when going down the steep slope in on a snowboard and trusting you can balance yourself at that speed and get to the bottom of the slope on your two feet.

You have a reason to exist and that is not based upon any external condition. Whatever the rules of society, no rule, however old and useful,  has the right to make you feel worthless. When it is you against the world, take your side. It is okay to feel for yourself and give yourself the freedom to be happy.  Our body and mind are physical entity we also need to take care of.Take care of yourself as if you were your friend. Feel for your friend with a greater perspective and guide them in the right direction. If you are not feeling comfortable doing something, the result does not benefit anyone. If you can care for others because it makes you happy then it is surely worthy.

Our true self is not our body or mind.  It may feel like we are nothing when stripped off them. However, that very feeling of submission is significant. When you let God take over the reigns then you are part of everything. Trust self..

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Blacku

Once there were nine fish who swam in a big beautiful aquarium. There was a colorful backdrop that had pictures of corals and plants and colorful rocks. The bed of the aquarium had shells and interesting ornaments with plenty of places to hide and sleep.

There was a good supply of food sprinkled every morning and evening. Blacku, who was black as soot all over, was spending happy days in that aquarium. He was friends with all the other fish because he had a nice disposition and did not believe in getting in anyone’s ways.

The food supply was steady and consistent but there was a greedy fish among the group. His name was Dalmatian because he was white with big black spots all over. Dalmatian was growing fast as he gobbled a big portion of the food. He started to fight with Blacku and speedily grab the morsels of food floating near him even before he could get to it. Blacku would go looking for food in other directions.

One week went by he seemed to be getting less and less food every day. Read more

Fabric: Silk

Brocade

It is amazing to think that the earliest silk fabric was made about five thousand years ago in China. For many years this remained a closely guarded secret. Later in 12th century Chinese merchants traded silk in the Middle east and India. Along with that the secret of silk making was also transported to new lands. In the 17th century parts of Europe started manufacturing silk. The path by which the secret of silk trade travelled was known as the “Silk road’.

Silk is made by the larvae of silk moth . The caterpillar feeds on mulberry leaves for six to eight weeks and spins itself a cocoon with silk threads. At this stage, the humble silk maker’s life comes to and end. The chrysalis is boiled in hot water or exposed to steam to take out the silk threads. About two or three thousand feet of silk is produced from one cocoon. The thread is cleaned and woven with multiple strands to make it sturdy. It is dyed and woven into different types of fabric like satin, damask, brocade etc.

Fabric: Muslin

The muslin that was woven in the 17th and 18th century in India and exported to England by the East India company was a delicate finely woven cotton that was soft and light .  The fabric  were handwoven from very fine cotton yarns, spun by hand. Several meters of the cloth could be folded into the palm of one’s hand. A muslin sari which is about 5 meters of cloth and 3 feet wide would be folded and fitted a small matchbox. The mesh like property of the fabric was perfect for hot and dry climates where the fabric would keep the wearer cool and warm at the same time. There was a flourish of muslin weavers in India in the 13th and 14th century. The many Indian states like Bengal, including present day Bangladesh , Orissa and Bihar produced superior quality muslin. I remember old Indian stories that mentioned the beautiful and magical fabric . In one story, the sharpness of a steel sword was being tested. A muslin cloth was thrown in the air and as soon as it landed on the sharp steel blade, it was cut in half. The muslin weavers were extremely skilled and passed on their expertise to their sons and grand sons through generations. In the latter part of 18th century with the advent of synthetic fabric that were light and smooth, the popularity of muslins plummeted and is now practically a lost art. With the last of  the muslin weavers died the dexterous art of making fine muslin.