Sunday, February 01st, 2009 | Author:

“Think cold.” That’s what I used to say to myself (in my mother’s voice) every time something went wrong. It probably wasn’t meant to be a motto, but it evolved into one… not just a motto, but a way of life, a philosophy. But I am getting ahead of myself. So, let me step back a few years to explain.

When I was a child, we lived in an area where not having electricity for six to ten hours a day was not unusual. In the heat of the Delhi summer, just when we were ready to get into bed, everything would go dark. And we would prepare for another night of having to sleep without even a fan. Whenever I complained about the heat, my mother would say (most unmoved by my plight), “Think cold.” That was her way of saying, “Yes, I know it’s hot. Yes, it’s miserable to sweat through the night. But there is nothing we can do about it. Complaining will only make it worse.” So, I would lie down and think of swimming in a pool or of drinking a cold glass of lemonade. And guess what. It actually stopped being hot.

For more than a decade, I believed in that. Every time something went wrong, I would say to myself “THINK COLD.” And that philosophy made things better for me. You could say I was in the “blue” phase. Little did I realize that I had come to accept several things as “that’s how it’s always been” or “I can’t do anything about it.”

It was only when I was a little older that I began questioning things. I think that was my “red” phase. There was disgust and anger for how things were run in the country, the stringent rules that society had laid down for people to live by, the discrimination that was lashed out based on money, gender and color as well as the people who were not in the “questioning” mode. The rebellious phase had me totally discontent, very different from the “blue” phase.

Then one fine day, a beautiful thing happened. I was in the driver’s seat and I felt the fire from the sun on my face. It came to dawn on me that when things go wrong, it’s not always another who is responsible for fixing them. I am responsible. I began to seek out problems and greeted them with passion. And then made choices about which of them I would attempt at fixing. Somewhere between contentment and discontent lies orange… the fire that drives us to make the world a better place. If something angers us deeply or if we feel passionately about something going wrong, that’s the cue. The problems and shortcomings are there for us to take responsibility for and help fix.

I have chosen the wounds I want to dream of healing and the problems I wish to try alleviate. And now, when I see something going wrong… I have the faith that someone, somewhere is rolling up his sleeves to fix it… someone, somewhere is painting his face orange.

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11 Responses

  1. 1
    Ritu 

    Awesome Priya!!! I think everyone should atleast try to look at life like this.I read the first line and then somehow couldnt stop myself from reading till the last word.

  2. 2
    Piyush Nigam 

    Now considering the Veda office flaunts blue and orange all over we are probably a mix of both phases here. Hope the missing red still keeps us questioning in an orange way without the discontentment of the red!

  3. @ Piyush – dont make faluda of my ideas just because you want to win! I’ll show you red when you come home!!!

  4. 4
    Romila 

    Can i make Kulfi of your ideas to go with Piyush’s faluda? Seriously though, I really liked the post. May the sun always shine its orange glow on you!!

  5. 5
    Shalini 

    What with the mix of kulfi and faluda, I have never enjoyed this delicacy more anywhere than here…..:) On a more serious note, I feel that this is a perfect way of taking the things… Showing discontent never solves the problems, all it does is multiply their effect. Thinking about solutions and working towards implementing them is the best path to getting out of problems.

  6. 6
    Swapna 

    Much as I am tempted to talk about Shalini’s interesting kulfi-falooda proposition, i better not start thinking about food:)

    Priya, you’ve written an awesome article which goes in sync with your vibrant personality. I loved the way you talked about how your mom taught you to think cold, that phase which you called as blue and the transition into red where you began to question and from there, you experienced an orange phase. Its so beautifully expressed and given food for thought. I can visualize a little girl’s inner journey as the words flow. It’s truly a beautiful written piece of art.

  7. @ Ritu: Thank you so much!
    @ Romila: Thanks… Coming from you, I am even more thrilled!
    @ Swapna: Wow. I am on cloud nine now. You have been as generous with your compliments as you are with the puddings you make!!!

  8. Oh, as the winter seems to be leaving us, I’ve already started ‘Thinking Cold’ 😀

    Brilliant Inspirational real life story!! Thanks Priya for sharing with us!

  9. 9
    Ankit 

    This one was a treat..
    The day we stop seeing things as black or white, our life becomes colorful…what do you say?

  10. 10
    Palash 

    very nice Priya.

  11. 11
    Ankur 

    Excellent stuff!!! Though on reading the title i thought that it was the day you went to watch a Holland cricket match!

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