Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Yea...I'm guilty of abandoning my lovely blog home, and spending extra time in the more vibrant(?) and more visited fb apartment. I meet more people on FB, get to socialize(??) more over there, receive instant feedback and can get into easy conversations---my pride gets a beautiful massage over there than in my shy blog palace. Add a bit of natural laziness...the home accumulates cobwebs and dust.
But think of the pre-facebook years--blogs were the place where the online socializing happened, at least for me. Not just recording life as it happened....but also checking out a wide variety of other blog homes regularly. Commenting back and forth, sometimes furiously. Writing memes and tagging friends. Picking up a idea from another blog and writing an elaborate post on it. Checkout the blogroll to see the latest update on our favorite blogs(much like the fb notifications). In short, blogs were the social media before twitter/fb.(They still are, for many).
If Facebook is the casual 'hi' on the way to the park, Blogs are the leisurely conversations on the park benches. FB is the pulpit for expressing opinions whereas the blog is my autobiography, a sketch and record of the past ten years of my life--the events, the view-point changes, the stories told and 'not-told'. Posts I read again to reminisce on an event long forgotten. Wondering at times why I wrote this, or why I didn't write that. Follow the comment link to another blog to see where they are in the stream of life.
Then it occurs...does it all matter? What you write, don't write, express, comment, argue, fight, put aside so much time and energy scribbling....does it matter, to anyone or yourself? As someone noted...'My writings and art -- paper boats in the raging river of time'. Will the world be poorer if I don't scribble my life down? Or do I add anything of value with my carefully crafted reflections on the events of my life?
Not just what we create, but we ourselves are paper boats in the raging river of time! So while being tossed by the rapid currents, if I have taken a while to make some small boats and set them afloat, enjoying their brief dance, I guess it's worth it---if not for anyone else, at least for myself. Guess I need to create more such blog boats and set them sail, just for the sheer pleasure of watching them skirt the currents.
Posted by Vishwa at 5:50 PM
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Then there's this girl. Sumathi, if I correctly remember. She sits in the last bench along with a few other rowdy girls. A bit plump. Fair. Slightly loud mouthed. Good in sports, good in fights. Kinda opposite to shakir in every way.
One evening someone whispers a secret and we wait for the classes to get over, unable to control our glee. Then we hurry to the last bench, to the place where Sumathi sits and look under the wooden seat. There it is! A small pencil scrawl on the rough wood. 'Shakir, I love you'.
Whoa! Its an absolute scandal and we are over the moon, gossipping, discussing, analysing, guffawing a lot amidst all this. Suddenly we spot her, Nalini teacher! We run to her almost screaming 'teacher, teacher, teacher'.....'Sumathi has written something under her desk'.... Nalini teacher has a slight smile. 'Teacher teacher, she has written, 'Shakir, I love you', and the small group starts laughing. She has an understanding smile as she says, 'Ok, I'll look into it, now you all go home'.
The next day is judgement day and we want justice to be done! See sumathi punished for daring to cast her eye on our boy. Love!! At this age!! We wait for Nalini teacher and once she enters the class, our group is around her. She has an amused look observing our excitement. 'Nothing is there,' she says. 'No teacher,' we are horrified. Someone runs to the last bench and peers under the seat. The love signature is gone, neatly erased!!! 'But teacher,' I protest, 'it was there, I saw it with my own eyes. 'Shakir, I love you'. And it was sumathi's handwriting. She only wrote it and now she has erased it.'
Nalini teacher just waves us off, gently. 'Its ok, you must have seen something else. I'll look into it. Now get back to your seats,' she says. We return in disappointment, our small adventure fizzling out before taking off. The whole class seems to have got wind of the issue but its soon forgotten. There are a thousand other things in the world of 10 year old kids.
What keeps this small memory fresh is the way Nalini teacher handled it. Not punishing the 'offender'. Not admonishing the 'adventurers'. Just understanding the curiosity, excitement and inquisitiveness of kids on the threshold of adolscence and being gentle about it. There were other teachers and pt masters who would have taken the same situation and created a huge mess out if it. But she was different.
She taught social studies, just for less than a year before she was transferred out. But how the class loved her! How carefree we were when she was around. There's one lovely incident where, with any other teacher, I would have been skinned alive and scarred for life. A small assignment which we had to do at home, and I had faithfully flunked it. Nalini teacher picked me up and asked, 'Have you done the assignment?'. 'Yes, teacher,' I say, full of confidence. 'Ok, open your book and read it'. I open my homework book, and my hands begin to shiver. I open an empty page, and start saying something ....totally from memory. My voice is shaking and is on the verge of choking, fearing that I'll be found out. 'MN, stop for a while,' she says. 'Are you really reading from your homework book?'. 'Yes teacher,' (bloody guts!). 'Are you sure,' she has a smile, 'because, I feel that you are reciting from memory and not from the book'. I should have shut up and admitted, but being the reckless guy i was I stand my ground. 'No teacher, it is here in the book, see if you want', I hold the book towards her, covering the empty pages. She looks at me for a few moments. 'It's ok, sit down,' she says, before she moves to another student.
The whole class knows that I've made an ass of myself, and Nalini teacher saved me from further embarrassment. Did I dare do that mistake again? Hell no! Did I learn a lesson for my lifetime? Absolutely. It looked like any other incident then, but when I look back now, I sit back in wonderment at the way she took care of my budding self-esteem and ensured that I wasn't traumatised--just with a small gesture. And such gestures were a part of her daily interactions with everyone in the class, in other classes.
When she left, there was probably nobody who didn't bid her farewell with a heavy heart. 'Write down something about me on a piece of paper', she told us on the last day. 'Anything...good or bad, what you liked in me, what you didn't like, whatever. And don't write your name, so that I'll not come to know who it is if you have written something bad about me.' We all faithfully scrawled our anguish and sorrow at having to see her go away, expressing our love and admiration for this gentle lady.
There have been many teachers since, but this lady....she remains in memory as one of the first persons I came across who had this very sublime, very unique and rare quality---'to influence and inspire others just by her presence, nothing else'. Somewhat similar to Him.
Posted by Vishwa at 6:49 PM
Saturday, March 14, 2015
the moment to freeze, when the Earth and heaven met
the soft light streaming through dawn's window
the walk in the lanes, the talks and silence
caressing hands, adoring eyes, yielding hearts
the lips that whisper your name over and over
the dream halted when you escaped to another realm
to the strange land of battles
and plunged yourself into vengence and fights
of righting a wrong, answering a slight
but the dream lived on, untouched, unblemished
in its own abode of a million hues.
It remained tender and soft, vulnerable
waiting for the dreamer to return
and breathe life into the abandoned flute
the soft flowing yamuna remembers this dream
so do the loving eyes of the grazing cows
the murmur of the peepul leaves
the first breeze of dawn from Govardhan hills
the chirping birds, dancing peacocks
the cowherds, gopis...all remember the dream
and the one who invoked this dream for them
they remember you and wait for you
...the dark skinned mischief monger
and amongst them, awaits she
the one closest to your heart
the one who's your very heart-beat
and she knows that you'll arrive
straight from the battle-field,
from the world of war and battles.
You will arrive to the moonlit nights
under the tree, next to the flowing river
where she waits for you
And when you arrive....the dream erupts
in an ecstatic vibrant splendour
exploding in blissful joy and abandon
the whole nature embracing the arriving beloved
not knowing how to express the unexpressable ecstacy
dropping into pregnant silence
while the joy erupts through gasps
the joy of having the dreamer, back in the dream
and the dreamer...his eyes search for the one
for whom he returned to the realm of the dream
Posted by Vishwa at 11:40 PM
Saturday, February 07, 2015
That boy wasn't into studies but would watch his friends go to the ashrams, learn Vedas from the sages, and he too wanted to learn it all. So he goes to Gautama Rishi’s ashram. Gautama asks for his ‘gothra’. Not knowing his lineage, the boy comes back to his mother and asks ‘What’s my gothra?’
His mother says, ‘See, I was working as a maid in many houses and got pregnant in that period. So I don’t know exactly who your father is. Tell this to your guru.’
He goes and tells this to Gautama. While the other disciples laugh at him and taunt, the Guru appreciates his truthfulness and his mother’s frankness and names him as ‘Satya-kama’---a lover of truth. ‘You’re the son of Jaabaala, so you’re ‘Jaabaali’,’ he says. A Rishi is thus born in the name of his mother.
The nurturing mother, Jaabaala. She teaches her son to be truthful, and win over the World through this truthfulness. He becomes known by his mother’s name and she in turn, becomes famous through him. She is the one who nurtures.
Then, the second mother, Kunthi. She becomes a mother before marriage. And sets her son sail in the Ganges, fearing the Truth! Her son, Karna, becomes a benevolent giver. And places a higher value on his friendship than on the love towards his mother. The baby floating down the Ganges is picked up by a charioteer, and now grown up, Karna realises the truth of his birth. That truth doesn’t trouble him, nor does it make him pity his own condition. He doesn’t crave for his mother. Thus, she becomes the mother who makes her son transcend her necessity, who sets her child free from her bondage. If Karna had stayed with his mother he too would perhaps have lusted for power? But away from her, he never craved anything at anytime. He learnt to give not receive. He stayed with Duryodhana but never became like him. Such a life, he received from his Mother. Kunthi abandoned him and nurtured his greatness.
Jaabala is the Mother who nurtured and Kunthi is the Mother who abandoned. The third Mother is the one who destroys. The Mother of the Universe who also becomes the one who butchers mercilessly. A demon asks a boon that nobody but his mother should kill him. He’s sure that a mother will never kill. With that boon he unleashes havoc and suffering. Lord Krishna tries to kill him but fails. Then his wife, Satyabhaama, who’s born from an amsha of the Mother Goddess kills the demon. That Demon was Narakasura. When his troubles cross limits, the mother of the Universe arrives in some form to swallow him. To destroy is also a part of the Mother’s responsibility. Nurture, Abandon, Destroy—she knows all.
These three mothers, their strange stories—filled with pride, fortitude and fearlessness...and our puranas have various dimensions of this mother-son bonding. Just as you have a mother who killed her son, we also see a son who killed his mother. He is Parashurama. On the orders of his father, he cuts his mother down. Then when his pleased father confers a boon, he asks for the revival of his mother. He gives birth to his mother again. Now, is he a son to his mother, or is he a mother who birthed her again?
Posted by Vishwa at 5:14 PM
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Yes, I had a wise and benign old man's guidance back then. But that never mitigated the anxiety even one bit. What took me out of that place of hopeless suffocation still remains a mystery. Maybe I'm banking on that mystery to bail me out this time round as well.
Sometimes you think you're all too powerful and in total control of the events and happenings in your life. And at times you feel, you don't have the strength to even move an inch, turn a finger or lift an eyelid. You could be right, but you could also be totally wrong both the times. When you think everything's in perfect control, something starts sliding down somewhere and your house of cards collapses. And when you think nothing's working, things start moving on their own. Rationality is a mess. I saw it happening twice when I was searching for a job--and something more than a job through the job-search.
I struggled for nearly 2 years, trying to break through one interview after another but in vain. I was in close proximity of clinching the deal but nope, something would crash. Then when I least expected it, there was a call, I walk in, get asked the right questions for which I have the perfect, confident answers, and in 2 hours I'm out, with a lovely offer letter in hand! Deliciously magical.
Giving up the struggle against invisible forces, I wait for the magic to strike again. I know it's a fantasy, but when the mystery arrives, I want to catch its tail and follow it...and see where it came from and where it returns to.
Posted by Vishwa at 8:01 PM
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Posted by Vishwa at 12:30 AM
Friday, November 07, 2014
Suddenly I realise that, at the moment, I'm moving from one phase to another. I could've missed this realisation.
And you look deeper and know that there are phases all over your life. Something ends. Something begins. It could be career changes. A shift from one house to another, one city to another. Moving out of school, out of college. Changing jobs. Ending friendships. Forging bonds. Building and starting something new.
It's easy to feel sad and nostalgic for what you're leaving behind but I think one can say goodbye with immense gratitude and happiness. Give thanks for all the nourishment, growth, love, joy and lessons that the phase gave you. And let go before you move on to the new. Without bitterness or heaviness. Without emotional entanglements.
A new lesson learnt. Move through, without melancholy, with great Joy.
Posted by Vishwa at 1:55 PM
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
He's a man on the edge, and I see many such men and women, living on the edge. A fruit vendor who slices an assortment of fruits into a mouth-watering bowl for 20 Rs, a ground-nut vendor who fries nuts on his cart, standing all day, another lady sitting by the roadside stringing jasmine buds into long garlands, a family of husband, wife and girl frying bajji-bondas on a cold evening, an old muslim on weak legs pushing his vegetables cart over long empty roads..... Their grit, their sorrow and anguish and fear, their hopes and beliefs and their helplessness---these intrigue me. What's their life like? How do they survive...on what hope? A day of rains and their business is washed out...maybe some of them have to sleep hungry. Yet they wake up the next day and promptly arrive at their place, with a hope of wading through another day. What is it that pushes them further or pulls them along the rough and tough existence of everyday life? Is it an indomitable will? A tremendous love for life and its little-big joys? Or a harsh merciless existence that leaves them with no choice but to get up and fight each day? Or are they too numb to even think anything but to go on and on...just living, just existing.
And there's the crowd...the crowd to which I belong...the crowd that's secure in the center. A paycheck at the month end keeps them happy and calm. Their lives are secure and routine...and in a way dead! I can smell this death of life force....many times in myself. There's a yearning in this crowd, to reach out to something dangerous, something extra-ordinary...away from the humdrum of their bored, clock-work existence. This yearning perhaps drives them on weekends and on vacations, into hikes, journeys, expeditions...into entrepreneurial ventures....and again, they fall back into the comforting center, into the place which is as soothing as a grave.
The edge scares you because you can easily fall off the cliff and be annihilated. You want to move away from it...back to your secure existence, but this security begins to nauseate you and you start searching for the edge again. Maybe those on the edge fantasize and crave for the warmth of a safe existence, just as those who are bored in their ultra safe life want to go out into the edge and have their mettle tested. Call it duality, one of the many contradictions you wrestle with. And....maybe there's a state beyond the risk of the edge and the security of the center, but to reach it, one should know both the center and the edge. Then your energies shift, and you become oblivious to the edge or center--the Universe takes care of your needs as you set out on new journeys fueled by your heart's desire. Unbothered about the dangerous edge or the secure centre of the ground, you take off, vertically--a bird on flight. You become an explorer on daring new adventures!
Before setting off on such gritty adventures, I want to taste the edge again, away from my secure existence. I want to know how it feels...to stand close to annihilation, to the prospect of oblivion. I want to untie the rope that keeps me secure and also bound, and walk free, into thrilling dangerous zones. Shedding all my fears I want to stand naked and vulnerable to the forces of existence and test my faith in the grand Unknown, witness the way the Universe extends its hand to catch you when you jump off a cliff.
And I wanna do it now!
Posted by Vishwa at 2:33 PM