skin tattoo?

with a sterile needle
you pierce my soul
seal the gaps
heal the holes
engrave your love
etch your kindness
leave a mark
some indelible stain
hard to rub off

I promise…
I’ll pass it on

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Tattoo….You?
Do you have a tattoo? If so, what’s the story behind your ink? If you don’t have a tattoo, what might you consider getting emblazoned on you skin?

Quotable words from “The Thorn Birds”

Quotes from The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullogh, who passed away two days ago.

1).  “..the best is only bought at the cost of great pain…or so says the legend”

2).  “If you love people, they kill you. If you need people, they kill you. They do, I tell you!”

3).  “You still think love can save us.  It’s more killing than hate. Hate is so clean, so   simple.  Like being in the ring. With hate, you just keep hitting.  You hit until they stop hitting back.  With love…they never stop.”

4).  “But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know…we understand…and still we do it. Still we do it.” (destructive love) .

5).  “Twelve thousand miles of it, to the other side of the world. And whether they are        home again or not, they would belong neither here, nor there, for they would have l lived on two continents and sampled two different ways of life.”

6).  “Each of us has something within us which won’t be denied, even if it makes us        scream aloud to die. We are what we are, that’s all. Like the old Celtic legend of the        bird with the thorn in its breast, singing its heart out and dying. Because it has to, its      self- knowledge can’t affect or change the outcome, can it? Everyone singing his  own little song, convinced it’s the most wonderful song the world has ever heard. Don’t you see? We create our own thorns, and never stop to count the cost. All we can do is  suffer the pain, and tell ourselves it was well worth it.”

The Legendary Thorn tree bird

The Legendary Thorn Bird by tree bird

Heartful Brainful Me

What percentage of our brain power do we use? There’s this assumption that it is not more than 10%. Is that true? At least we grow up trying to use more.


As I was growing up, like most other dads, my dad too was a great advocate of using one’s brain. Looking into my eyes, he used to put his finger at his temple, knock it and suggest, “Use your brain”.  Say, if he had assigned me some challenging maths problem or was helping me with my homework, then the solution was as easy as saying  – ‘Use your brain’.  At this, I would look dreamily and thoughtfully at the distance with narrowed squinting eyes and act as if I was indeed thinking hard and using my brain.

That was childhood. But as we grow older, we women have our hands more on our sighing hearts rather than on the temples of our brain. In school, where irrespective of our gender, we are allowed to be intelligent and so women do very well in academics often better than boys. While still single, most girls begin their career well and establish a ground. But I’ve seen this phenomenon time and again, that soon, as they get married, when it comes to demands laid by their newly-formed family, women end up using their full hearts much more than their full brains.

In pursuit of best possible care for their family, many of these sensitive souls end up putting their brains in their kitchen wardrobe or in their baby’s toy-box, or else wrap their brain in their teenager’s marks-sheet and forget to take it out. Finally when they do take the ‘walnut‘ out of its closet, it is already distorted and crumpled due to its lack of use or less use than required, or sometimes misuse.

And given the current scientific assumption that even high-achievers have used only 10% of their brain, we can deduce that those women (and men) who have neither fully utilized their educational qualifications nor achieved their career to its full potential, well they have not even used 10% of their brain. What they could have achieved in their career or life, they’ll never ever know. It’s a different matter altogether that what they gain by spending maximum time loving and caring for their children, is much more than any full brain achievements.

There is another category of people who use mainly their heart, hence the brain goes ignored. They are ‘people in love‘.  With illogical infatuation, the brain goes into the bin and heart becomes the king. Brain sleeps while heart sighs and cries and sings and laughs.   Most people in love use only 2.83% of their brain, that too neither in academics nor in any creative pursuits. But possibly they are happy with what they get – an experience of being in love. Ask a dumped lover if he/she should not have got carried away too much, they will always justify, “It’s better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all”.  No regret for all the time wasted.

There is another situation when we cannot use our brain to its fullest and cannot further add any constructive knowledge to it. Well folks, if something is already full up to the brim, can there be any space left for putting anything else in it? Gibberish like stray unhealthy thoughts, redundant ideas, unproductive day-dreaming, constant worrying about others – all these  occupy so much space in our brain that at any particular moment of time or hour or day, our unintelligent thoughts are running hay-wire.

And since our actions are the products of our thoughts, with faulty thoughts we often end up walking in the wrong direction. Even in this wrong direction taken, we are unable to do our very best if we are bothered about office politics or neighborly disputes, or if we look here and there and let others run our life. Unfortunately, most people do have vulnerable brains like that and hence most people use their brains very less, or else guided by others they use it in the wrong direction.

Besides all the above criteria, of course there are many other reasons why we do not use our brain to its fullest potential. Lethargy, lack of direction, lack of motivation, lack of right resources, ill-health – there can be any number of valid reasons.

So where do I stand in all this?  Did I or did I not used my brain to its fullest?

If I had not encountered at least some of the above negating factors, if I could get back my lost years, could regain my lost opportunities and if I could turn back time and spend my life in one city focusing on one career, then I would like to set many things right. I would use my brain to establish an excellent career in any one of my favorite fields, but from an early age. Due to changing circumstances, I got to experience many different work areas, thus becoming a Jill of many trades. The result was people consider me heavily multi-skilled, well versed in most. But am I a super veteran in one? Something that is possible even for mediocre brains to achieve if, year after year, they stay solely dedicated in their singular field of work. Therefore, those who judge others on the basis of positions and awards a person had, would not understand me. But there are others who will tell me I’ve been rather lucky. After all, it’s one life and it’s great to have experienced life in its myriad forms. In fact, gaining myriad skills and jobs is like using all parts of one’s brain a lot, rather than only left brain or right brain. Not bad.

If I could use my brain to its fullest, I would also like to write such wonderful books that even in this brain-dead era of social media addiction, after reading my books, all these netizens would willingly desert their non-smart smartphones, will forget about enlightening others with their copy-paste FB quotes and jokes, even temporarily forget to take selfies but would eagerly que up outside the bookshops to purchase my next book, only to discover at the counter that they just got sold-out.

But right now, even with whatever writing ability I have, there is lack of focus, motivation or will to logically organize the pages upon pages of poems and essays that I have written in my computer folders. One needs the use of full brain so as to practically and diligently put one’s written documents in a meaningful order so that the chaos can be called a ‘book’.  But the brain-using-ability I have right now is only 7.69% or less.

There is another creative side of my brain which again I have used only 5.12%.   I would like to compose my music and sing it too, such music that leaves Beethoven and Mozart open-mouthed in awe and will make Hollywood or Bollywood all sign me up for their next song.

Of course, the list is endless. Would like to do portraits and landscapes in oils and acrylics, something learnt long ago but not pursued, even after winning awards. Knitting and sewing are also the tasks that had rather become a cause of shame for the younger me, as I always opined that these are not meant for the academic me. Not applying myself fully into it, meant anytime I began knitting a cardigan I had to leave it unfinished, for I could simply not grasp the intricacies of shaping a neck using multiple knitting needles and threads. In cooking I would like to learn some versatile international cuisines. Creating a visually appealing as well as nutritious food also demands the use of more than 10% brain, actually 16.87% to be more precise. That’s if we could measure our brain usage in percentages.

Having said all this, I personally feel we do not use our brain merely 10%. We use our brain as well as our heart much more than the assumed 10%.  It varies from person to person and from time to time.

In good humour, I categorised the above few kinds of people who do not use their brain 100%.  There is a possibility that they do not want to use their brain to its fullest. That’s because it is too much an effort to keep trying to use our brain to its fullest. Is it better to live life as it comes along?

Really. People should be allowed to do what they want. Full brain is necessary to discover a vital cure for deadly cancer, or to discover and research the whole physical universe.   But a good heart is as vital as a good brain. It makes this world a better loving place, if all the down-trodden are looked after by some self-less kind hearts.

And see what my poetic heart says:

Using my brain 100%
makes me

Using my heart 100%
makes me
brain dead

heart vs brain
brain vs heart

Not one wins
As I use both
but none 100%

And that’s the
Heartful Brainful Me

 ~~Alka ~~

The Daily Post’s writing prompt brain power prompts us to try using our brain more than our current 10%.