Saturday, July 05, 2014

This Mountain....

 There's this small hillock. It's very small...anyone can climb it. In fact, I have climbed and played all over it as a small kid. But somewhere along the way I got busy and stopped visiting it. Years later I come walking this way and the hillock is there...bang in the middle of the road....and its no longer small. Its grown into a huge mountain. Gigantic and awe-inspiring. One look at it and I realise that I can't climb it. I leave the main road and find some smaller path and walk off.

 I leave the mountain...but the mountain doesn't leave me. I think that I've escaped it, but no, it doesn't let me escape. Wherever I go, whichever road I take, somewhere the mountain appears. And stands there, mocking at me. Blocking my view of the horizon. Challenging me. I make feeble attempts to climb it and fall down and hurt myself. And excuse myself and escape. Again and again.

 Its a cat and mouse game. 'Climb me,' the mountain says in my dreams. 'I'll promise you a spectacular view'. I give no shit. I'm not interested. I'm happy with my small secure existence on the ground. Mountains are not for everyone...I reason. I love my non-mountaineous life.

 But....my fate is tied to the mountain. Wherever I go, whatever I do...I can't escape this mountain. The more I avoid it, the more huge it grows...eating away at my small pathways...making it more and more difficult for me to live on my ground. 'At some point you have to climb me,' the mountain warns, but with an affectionate smile. 'Don't be scared...try once'.

 I'm tired of escaping it all my life. I almost got killed trying to flee this mountain. I missed so much in life owing to this fear of climbing, this fear of falling, this fear of injury. So....one day, when the mountain stands in my way again, I take a rope from my fellow travellers and start the climb. Its a gigantic steep cliff...and I'm scared to death just looking at the sheer height and expanse of the hard rocks. 'Go on,' my friends egg me from below. Holding my thumping heart, I attempt the climb. First few nervous, helpless steps...I find a good foot hold...and all of a sudden, there's a shift in the energies! Something has skipped a beat somewhere!! The mountain is no longer gigantic and imposing. It's bloody mellowing down!!! And I'm no longer the scared to death adult...but am growing up into the joyful, adventurous kid who would swing on the hillocks!!!

 Imagine a huge burden which you've been carrying for a long time...and you just keep it down. Or it evaporates and in a moment, you're set free. Have you watched the movie, 'The Pursuit of happyness'? There's a scene at the end where Will Smith gets confirmed on his job after months and months of struggle and hardships...and suddenly all his worries vanish..and he can't take it, he can't believe it. He rushes down to the pavement and stands there, in the middle of a stream of people, unable to believe what's happening, not knowing how to express his absolute joy, exhilaration, bewilderment...oh God...you've to watch it. You have to watch that scene after watching the entire movie...and if you don't have goosebumps...if you don't have a lump in your throat...I bet you aren't human.

 I am experiencing what he experienced. That tiny moment of absolute relaxation and relief. Of having stepped over my fear of the mountain. And the Mountain is mellowing and smiling. I'm the joyous kid, re-learning my ropes. This tremendous freedom...this weight off my heart...I dunno how to contain it. I don't know.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Who are my People...


 This temporariness of human interactions ...and how deep certain bondings go and how shallow most of them remain....that's been playing on my mind for a while. I'm sitting in a small hall, listening to some presentations---and I turn to my left and there's a girl. She too turns towards me...our eyes meet for a nano second. And we look back at the stage. While I walk out of that hall, I think of this girl and the first thought is...'I'll never see or interact with her again.' I pull my bike out of the parking lot, and there's another girl struggling with a heavy bullet bike and her boyfriend(?) behind her is encouraging her, pushing it. They're in my field of awareness for roughly ten seconds before I start my bike and rush through the drizzly night towards my home. Another interaction...fleeting out of my life.

I bump against at least a few hundred people everyday on my way to office and back. Almost all of them are 2 second interactions...except maybe the policeman at the traffic junctures, the same vendors who rush in to sell their wares, the security guard who opens the gate at my office. How high is the probability that I'll get to meet at least one of these people(from the 2 second interaction group), again in my life? Dunno....almost null I guess. If I go to office at exactly the same time, in the same route, and try to register each and every face that I come across..maybe I'll see similar faces after a while. And assuming they too are in a similar thought process of establishing friendships, maybe I'll greet them, they smile back, we strike up a conversation etc. Hasn't happened even once all these years, so its as if I'm blindly rushing through a sea of humanity whom I briefly touch against every day....yet, like a lotus leaf that doesn't get wet by the surrounding water, I emerge dry and clean...and return back to my familiar atmosphere...of familiar faces.

There's an auto-rickshaw driver who, out of his own will, got out of his vehicle and pushed my car a short distance when the battery went dead, so that I could jump start it. Turned and shouted a thanks with a smile and....gone...haven't seen him again, though he cut through and removed a huge misery from my life that night. There's another guy...again an auto-rickshaw fellow who drove me and my parents home one late night from the railway station and stopped in the middle of nowhere and briefly vanished...God knows with what intention...and my parents sensing danger flagged down another auto and we were safe home. Two guys...one who saved and the other who would've destroyed...two very important people. How many such interactions have I had? Hundreds...if I start remembering and counting. Maybe...they were meant to arrive at those intense points, turn fate's lever with a great might, and then vanish into thin air...never to cross my life again. Just thinking how important a role they played and how things could've altered slightly or greatly...it sends me into a state of awe!

Friends change too and vanish, reappear etc. I have had very deep friendships and bondings...starting right from my childhood. Only one guy has stood the test of time and I get to meet and talk to him, very occasionally. Some have connected back through facebook. Maybe I've brushed against a few thousand people...important and otherwise since the day I was born until now....and those I truly know and still interact with...they are rare. Relations change, people flit out of your life, new ones arrive....yet some bondings endure and remain. Some remain suspended for a long period ...and suddenly get ignited and spring back to life, as if by magic. Only those who're bonded by blood--your relatives---they remain a constant in this ever changing medley of human interactions and bondings. And a few friendships go deep with or without any effort, and before you know, you have formed your circle of friends who vibrate with your frequency.  And this possibility of forging deep bonds with a select few...it appears to be a mystical process, beyond any human interference or effort. It looks like you've taken the time and care to nurture such relations, or maybe the other people have contributed too...but NO...I sense, its beyond you. You were meant to go deep with them and they with you. Period.

There's a lovely song where a small boy who arrives to a new city wonders... 'So many houses, and where is mine? So many people here, and who are my people?' His bewilderment is mine too at times. In this sea of humanity, a few waves splash at me and I get drenched with a few drops, although I swim constantly in these waters. Maybe its meant to be that way.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Change...??? Arrrrgggghhh!!!

I have a problem with the temporariness of life. I hate it...deep from within my gut. Whoever decided on this rule....they deserve to rot in hell for eternity.

I want this moment....the people around me....the situation of life that surrounds me....to just continue to exist, forever!!! I don’t want it to change. I don’t want my colleagues to change and shift to some other IT Company. I don’t want my near and dear ones to move away. Nor do I want my friends to go away. I would want my house to remain as it is...forever.

Why did my childhood change so swiftly...and why did Time gobble up all my friends, classmates and sweethearts of my early days? My native village exists as it is...but no...it has changed? The people have vanished...many have changed beyond recognition...and I myself have changed. Why didn’t time freeze when I was a kid? Why is everything in such a stupid hurry to change, to evolve...and to perish?

My favourite cricketer....why the hell should he retire and be forgotten...damn it!!! I don’t like the fact that my favourite movie star, who could bash up 20 goons on screen and win the heart of his sweetheart...I don’t like the fact that he grows old...does stupid roles...and finally passes away. I want him to remain as he was...and warm my heart, forever. The whole battery of a movie industry that I’m familiar with...I want that to remain as it is...as if frozen in the present moment. Change...uh???..My foot!!!

Nor do I accept the reality that my favourite novelist, R.K.Narayan cannot write any more novels...simply because he is dead. And Khushwanth Singh! And Shivaram Karanth. And a thousand other fantastic poets, writers, artists!!! Why can’t they just exist forever and create magic with words, colours and their mere presence? Why should they move away? What a horrible waste of stupendous talent?

I want my son to remain the adorable chubby toddler that he was! And yeah, I also want him to remain the naughty, curious, I-have-a-question sweetheart that he is right now!! When I look into the mirror...I want that receding hairline...to stop right there and bloody freeze. Don’t want it to recede further...I look awesome right now.

My friends, their equations with me, their attitudes---why should it all change? Why should things fritter away? Why did that lovely old man become a stone-hearted angry bully...and then pass away? Why couldn’t he stay as he was forever? Why did our close knit group explode...and people don’t talk to each other anymore? Bloody Scoundrels! Why do dreams die? Why can’t they remain fresh, fragrant and beautiful...? Why does the Sun rise and evaporate the early morning dew drops on my rose bush?

Why should things change? Why don’t things remain the same forever? What’s the point to life if all the lovely and beautiful and dreadful things come and go...within the blink of an eye?

Fuck you God...I hate ye.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

That suffocating air at Ballal

One summer evening I’m having dinner with a friend at a restaurant. We are done with the starters and are waiting for the main course. My friend is about to launch his website...a small but ambitious project, and we are discussing the details, in between gossiping about all and sundry. A lovely evening, nice food, great ambiance...the gods are smiling...and suddenly, three people walk in through the door and slowly walk towards us.

I wish I could capture that moment of terror accurately in words, but it’s impossible, however much I try. A lot of background story is needed to explain ‘that moment’ and also bring out all the emotions that ran their course there. And it’s such a funny and hilarious situation, yet, at that moment, we were almost shitting in our pants, imagining a whole lot of possibilities.

The people who walked in were not mafia dons or police officers. In fact, one of them, an elderly man in whites, was one of the gentlest people I’ve ever known. And the two others with him were elderly people in their fifties...husband and wife. Regular people, posing zero threat or danger to anyone! They sat at a table near us and ordered their evening snacks.

To paraphrase...let’s say...the elderly man is a team leader...and my friend was recently ‘sent out’ of the team, and I’m a bloke who is still very much in the team. Now here I am, enjoying an evening meal with that ‘outcast(?)’ friend...and my boss walks in and sits a few tables from us...and looks around casually, with a sweeping gaze. For all his gentleness, the boss commands such respect and awe in the team that one gesture from him can throw you out...or can make the other team members completely shun you!!! And you’re someone who has recently committed oneself, emotionally and otherwise, to a dedicated stint in that team.

To say that the air suffocated that evening is an understatement. I don’t remember what we ate for the main course that day.

We waited for a while, expecting them to finish their food and leave so that we didn’t have to encounter them on our way out...but they looked totally relaxed...kinda settled down in their chairs for the rest of the evening. After some deliberations, we got up and walked casually towards the door...and, out of obligating, greeted the trio at their tables. Everyone smiled and greeted one another, spoke gentle words....full of fake social gestures while carrying exactly opposite thoughts and emotions within. The lady....she was authentic...perhaps truly spiritual. She turned her face away grumpily without acknowledging our presence and we walked out, feeling like we had just walked out of a lion’s den, alive!

Two weeks later I tell this to archana...and she’s horrified. ‘Why the eff did you go to that restaurant...out of all the thousand eateries in Bangalore, when you know that He loves that place. Now...apply oil on your body and wait. You will be called and skinned alive in a meeting’

That skinning alive never happened, although a very milder version was attempted some months back, for a related reason. And the terror, absurdity and hilariousness of that evening ...they still remain fresh--- and will probably stay etched in memory along with all the beautiful moments that were spent with Him. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A year gone by...a year to commence

There’s a small church next to my house which witnesses simple gatherings every now and then. Christmas and good Fridays get crowded when quite a number of believers gather and create a fair bit of ruckus. Some weeks ago on the night of Christmas eve there were a few volunteers working together, making fun and gently pulling legs, cleaning the place, decorating and preparing the place for the next day. Their laughter and joy, the camaraderie....it brought back gentle memories of a bygone era, of friends, of moments which had a unique flavour!

2013 has been particularly cold...and unusually warm too...metaphorically. A good deal of chilled aloofness came my way; and as if to compensate it, there was a rush of love and affection. Old friends reunited through facebook and some existing friends stepped away. I took a couple of leaps, was cracked open at times, surprised myself....and before I start romanticising about it all, I realise that these things keep happening, year after year, with almost anyone. But hell, wasn't this year a terrific roller-coaster ride with some paradigm shifting perceptions! And I’m noticing the changes so keenly, only now!

I hardly blogged in 2013. Kinda more active on facebook where the response is immediate and the conversations are terrific (and terrible too!). On my blog, a few posts here and there were more like article imitations. By definition, a blog is a chronicle of your life-- your day to day life, your thoughts and ideas, the events that touch you, which you consider worth writing about. It’s your diary which you share with the world. So it's been a while since I blogged....or faithfully jotted down my perceptions and experiences, ‘as they were’, without decorating them with explanations.

I wanna change that in this year. Wanna flow out, uninhibitedly, through words. This year, I sense, will be magical in many ways. I want to look beyond the veils... encounter the present moment totally....touch the mystical. Maybe I’ve already touched it, but am bloody unaware of it here... ‘am a donkey’, as someone self-reflected. I want to connect to the miraculous and get ‘switched on’. Literally!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Straight from the Gut...

 The continuous lashing of rains...the hissing sound...I just love it. Closing my eyes, I listen to the various textures and rhythms of rainfall, as late monsoons drizzle over my city at night. Then I realize---the sound and music of rains was humming in the background all along, only I wasn’t paying attention. I was lost somewhere inside my head. Now I listen, and the rains come alive.

 Something may exist or may not, it doesn’t matter. Only when my attention rests on it does it become alive for me.
***

You and I are living in a post apocalyptic world. The apocalypse was supposed to happen on 21st Dec, 2012. And 2013 onwards, either it would be a desolate Earth or an enlightened world that we would inhabit. We should have been living in Light bodies by now!

Nothing dramatic has happened! Or has it? The Planet chugs on its tracks in space, as usual. Early morning brings the milk vendor to my doorstep. Similar events, people and situations cross my awareness through the day. Tiredness envelops me as I embrace the night.

This wasn’t what we had signed up for! What enthusiasm, hopes and dreams we had about the spectacle of 2012, for nearly 3 odd years! And how passionately we believed in all that drama! What an utter flop of imagination!

I wanna believe in mystery and magic again. I want to encounter the miraculous. Not the mundane ordinary everyday world, but something transcendental! Something sublime! Don’t want this slow transformation....want a quantum leap...a total paradigm shift...a sudden makeover into an entirely new world!

***

‘You were on a runway for 3 years,’ I told Karthik. ‘Now you are taking off!’.

 Yes, Karthik’s small dream took off, with a workshop. Three years ago, he started Vishwa Amara and began putting some wonderful knowledge online, through articles and two ebooks. There were students receiving spiritual guidance too. It was low key, kinda gathering strength, maybe.

Now he has stepped out. Conducted a meditation workshop, thrown open to any spiritual enthusiast. There were three dozen attendees. Some fantastic and new techniques to practice. A small event on a lazy Sunday afternoon, in a relatively unknown corner of Bangalore.

No...not a small event !!! This is a take off point. It carries huge potential. Like a stream which will eventually become a raging river, Vishwa Amara is now at a phase where it can become the focal point of spiritual seekers, all over the world! They have the knowledge, techniques and Spiritual contacts. They have the credibility, built up and nurtured over years. They are absolutely dedicated to their work. And...they are fantastically capable of guiding people spiritually!

Years later...this small workshop will be remembered as the point where Vishwa Amara opened up. I’m mighty happy for these two friends of mine, for the opportunities that stretch before them. And yes.... a bit concerned of the pitfalls that come with great work, great responsibilities and recognition. The pitfall that ate up someone who walked this path earlier.

If they don’t pay attention...it will eat them too!

***

How do you feel when you are at the receiving end of intense love? Tremendous passion...something like a single minded madness, but totally pure, totally sublime. Do you think... ‘Wow, what a gift from the Universe?’ Or do you think, ‘Do I deserve this? Can I take it?’

I feel both. And I also feel.... is it possible to offer such an intense, pure, passionate Love...to another human being? And if it’s possible...what a pristine pure heart it must be, which offers such love!

***

I still can’t believe that he is no more! Some people trust totally that he’s still around, guiding them---but for me, he is dead and gone. Like anyone else. It’s difficult to digest the fact that someone like him can be vanquished and taken away by Death!

At one stage, we were in awe of him, in total worship mode. Then as we understood his work, the awe turned to respect and reverence. I wanted to be like him, develop his strength, develop his capabilities at handling difficult situations, become expansive the way he was, carry the love and compassion that he had....

Then...he disappointed! Mightily. Like a very interesting movie which falters post interval and ends up in a stupid climax! You come out of the hall, weary eyed, with a bitter taste in your mouth, undecided whether you enjoyed the first half or wasted your day. You love someone, and that person flops, makes a fool of himself, contradicts himself---and you squirm, wondering, ‘what...’. You feel betrayed for placing your love, trust and emotions in that person. Think sachin tendulkar who gets clean bowled at the death overs, after painstakingly building a great innings...!

 People have very fond memories of him—memories filled with love, reverence and gratitude. I too have such memories, but they get clouded by something else. I try to remember his smiling, laughing, loving face....and his angry, stern face comes up. I think of the solid base he built up, the fantastic structures he raised...and they stand before me as empty, hollow, lifeless edifices Now. The diamonds he had gathered around him, those who had great capabilities, dedication and pure love for his work---I try to remember them. But the only faces I remember are that of the sycophants and devotees...who never questioned, who considered a kick-on-your-ass as a divine test, who had a boss-is-always-right attitude.

Then it strikes.... it’s a ‘last impression’ syndrome, about which I wrote earlier.

His Soul is resting in peace, I’m sure. Maybe he’s smiling, from wherever he is, at this drama, at the way he continues to affect people in various ways long after his departure. The drama has ended for him, but we are still stuck in it. And enjoying it, a bit!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Talking to someone....

‘What’s eating you,’ I asked him.

He said... ‘I want to watch a movie and lose myself into it. Want to lose myself into the story, into the characters, into their emotions and thoughts...their world. Want to forget myself for some time ...I want to forget where I am...’

‘You will be fine’....I told him, although I didn’t completely believe it. He looked lost.

He sighed once before blurting out... ‘My heart says something...and I don’t want to believe it.’

‘What is it?’

‘That.....what I hold dear, what I trust totally, what I cherish with my very breath.....it’s an illusion. What I consider most sacred....is just frivolous. The people who’re very dear to me and whom I love totally....they secretly laugh at me, at my passion for them.’

He was in tears...but continued, ‘And I don’t want to believe it. I want things to be pure, as it was, sacred as it was....innocent as it was.’

I knew that he would be fine....one day, in the future. He would look back on this day with a smile. Maybe even laugh at this desperate situation. But that would happen in the future....and to get there....he would have to pass through this dark night.

The night grew dark....but somewhere there....on the horizon....a sun was waiting. I didn’t tell him that. I let him sit and cry and wallow in his tears.

Maybe this catharsis was needed, after all.