Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rang de, among other things.

Monday morning. I'm getting ready to leave for work. It's almost nine and the breakfast is getting ready. Dad leisurely reads the morning newspaper as he waits for the second round of tea. The atmosphere is bright and soft here, and a melody from yesteryears from the radio adds to this aura of comfort.

Dad is having the best of his time, reading leisurely, writing short stories, attending cultural programmes, sitting in old dusty libraries for hours, playing with grandchildren, watching television---his health is good except for one or two minor glitches, and he's free of all worries and responsibilities. This wasn't the case until a couple of years ago when we all were sick with a number of problems and Dad had to bear the burden of most of it. Today he looks a contented man.

Sometimes i wish i could carry that comfort and content with me as i go out into the world. I can make the most of my life and achieve all my goals and fulfill my wishes, but at the end of the day I'm tense, tired and drained of vitality. I'll be looking forward to hit the bed and lose myself in the comfort of sleep before waking up to fight my way through another day of struggle. Maybe I could fight my battle but with a sense of comfort and serenity that comes to a man who doesn't care much about the outcome of his fight and just enjoys every moment of the battle. I wish I could tap into that serenity and peace that's within me, irrespective of the outside circumstances.

I wish i could be in tune with that calm strength all the time.

Ravishankar's spiritual gathering ended on Sunday. People commented that it was all glorification of one person, and nothing worthwhile can be achieved by such extravaganza, blah, blah, blah..... but what was noticeable was that one person could pioneer and gather so many people on one platform for a positive purpose. When was the last time that all the people of this world united, irrespective of their religious and cultural differences under a common spiritual umbrella?

Whatever be the dilutions and shortcomings of Ravishankar's 'Art of living' movement, his effort and vision are commendable.

Watched 'Rang de basanthi' at last. This time it was with a bunch of friends, some of whom insisted that we watch this movie together. This is Indian mainstream cinema at its best---thoroughly enjoyable and well-worth your time and money. Despite a few minor glitches, this movie touched a chord within all of us with its message of 'A generation awakens'.

It tells the story of a british girl who comes to india to make a documentary on some well-known heroes of the freedom struggle. She finds a few 'free-wheeling' friends to act out the roles of Azad, sukhdev, bhagat singh etc, and these guys who're enjoying their youth in dance, booze, fun and frolick are gradually sucked into the roles they portray. The outstanding sacrifices and courage of the freedom fighters begins to rub off on these youngsters of the sms generation. The turning point arrives when one of their friends meets death because of the callousness of those in power, and when the same powerful people try to suppress the growing voices against them, the hidden fighter awakens in these youngsters. The trickle that started with just acting out a role of revolutionaries for a documentary becomes a raging river and soon the friends find mutual inspiration and a way to send out their message to those who matter in a hard-hitting way. The end--whether it's tragic or positive--is upto the viewer to decide.

The next evening, when we sat discussing our spiritual endeavours and the need to gear up ourselves to take up our Master's work, a friend remembered Rang de. He said,' The revolutionaries of the freedom movement had a common goal, a purpose, and that spurred them on together and brought out the best in them. How wonderful it would be if all of us had something similar to push us forward ?'

We discussed, argued, hemmed-hawed, disagreed and retired for the day.

It takes a moment to plant a seed. And years of nurturing to grow it into a mighty tree. Maybe the seed was within all along and it got spurred from its sleep on this occasion. Maybe the seed is within everyone. What does it take to nurture this seed and grow it into a mighty tree? What converts a small trickle into a life-nurturing river? What does it take to inspire one another in a common purpose, to keep aside all our differences, nurture one anothers strengths and reach out to something outstanding, something extraordinary?

Are we destined to live out our lives as it comes along? Or is this sms, blogging generation destined for greater things---beyond the imagination and dreaming capacity of cynics? How do we unite, gear up and surge ahead towards our purpose--whatever that might be!

You never know your possibilities. You never know what you are capable of achieving.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Passing thoughts

I'd browsed through a few pages of this book a few years ago but never got to finish it or grasp its essence. Yesterday afternoon, when i opened this book and glanced at the introduction, this passage caught my eye--

"For nearly two years, i lived a very difficult life with no job, no relations, no home and no proper social identity. I'd sit on park benches but living in a state of indescribable ecstacy"

He is speaking of his state of being when, after an intense turmoil and suffering, he accidentally experiences the ultimate, what the mystics call as Samadhi. And the rest of his experiences and the essence of his philosophy and teaching-- he has put together in this book-- 'The Power of Now'.

Started reading this and will write more about it subsequently.

I need the comfort of a group, however much i may deny it or assert the powerfulness of my personality and individualness. I need friends and people who value me and have faith in my abilities. Though i've been a kind of loner all along, i feel restless without this recognition and acceptance of peers. Is this a negative trait or an acceptable positive quality found in most of us?
Sometimes mom talks of death, her death, in a matter of fact manner. Last week i told her that i'm going to buy a new tv set for myself and archana, because we don't get to see our favourite programmes( Mom and dad are glued in front of the tv in the living room on all days on prime time, watching their favourite serials). Mom said:-'Wait for some years, and then you can have this tv for yourself.'

It's funny--once you grow old, you think of death, your death but when you're young, it's never in your mind. Maybe it's a universal thing, i don't know. But does death happen that way--old people first and then younger ones as they grow old? Do we know when and where exactly death awaits us? Can i tell with absolute certainty if i'll be alive to see the sunset, today evening?

Death is the most fascinating thing that we never give a second thought to. Maybe our life and values acquire a whole new meaning if we consider the inevitability of death--ours and those of others we know-- and keep the awareness of death at the back of our minds always.

And yeah, Dilip has so much good writing on his blog and such an array of fantastic links that i wish i had all the time in the world to read all of it. Ditto with Jay.

It's Valentine's today. Nick wrote something interesting about it a few days ago and some of us responded. Hope he has a great time.
Can't think of anyone in India writing a post like nick did. We are still shackled in traditional shit.
Amidst Sena and bhajrang dal goons who've sworn to restore our sacred (?) tradition and punish all those who celebrate Valentines day, the need of the hour is to keep our heads cool and hearts warm. Let all these thugs hang themselves with their rubbish. Let there be love flowing between all of us, all the time.

Two things struck me yesterday, the impact of which is yet to sink in deeply. One is this:

"There's an immense world out there--the astral world-- unknown to most of humanity. We are only beginning to open our eyes to this new phenomenon. Many people who've touched this dimension or experienced it are writing about it--we need to read that literature. What we know as reality is only the tip of an iceberg---the real is huge and immense, beyond our wildest imagination. We need to get in touch with this Reality."

The other one, most of us know :

"A kind of blind faith--- we need to have this in our Spiritual master. The faith a child has in its mother--it will eat anything given by the mother even if it's poison.

"There's a very painful incident. We had two dogs and once they were struck with some rare disease, which would kill them bit by bit. The doctor suggested that we put the dogs to sleep, permanently. So there we were, standing with the leathal injection in hand. I called the dog, and it walked up to me with so much love, as if i was calling it to caress its back, not knowing that we were going to kill it."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Yaaawn!! I'm back to my dusty, chilly, traffic clogged bangalore. Feels like i'm back to heaven--back to where I belong.

We were 12 friends on the road, roaming inside the belly of maha rashtra for four days. This wasn't a trip or a fun tour in the strictest sense---as i mentioned earlier, we were attending an award function in Pune where my master was felicitated. And then there was another function in Mumbai, three days later which we had to attend. In the interim, we roamed quite a lot and broke our backs. The exhaustion is still present in my muscles, and will probably remain for some more days.

The good thing about this vacation was that we discovered a new sense of bonding amongst us. One of our friends brought out his capacity for management by overseeing the entire trip, arranging taxis and hotel rooms at 5 in the morning, booking air-train tickets in advance, co-ordinating with various people over the phone and making sure that we had a whale of a time with the least inconvinience. We discovered the maturity and depth of experience of another friend who would normally remain silent. And in a tough situation, we found out the fighters hidden inside two of our friends.

Ajantha--Ellora caves are nothing less than man-made wonders. These were constructed over a period of 5 generations, amidst dense forests and inhospitable terrain. The excellence,vision and dedication of those artists and rulers who made this possible are truely awe-inspiring. Equally admirable is the cleanliness and order maintained by the archealogical survey of india, which manages these places. And as with any tourist places, one has to put up with the constant pestering of hawkers and vendors, who don't give a damn to art-architecture-heritage, and are only bothered about selling their wares and make a living.

The ugly part of this tour stared us in the face when we had to board a train from aurangabad to Mumbai on saturday night. When the train stopped at the station, the entire compartment was crowded with villagers, who were going to Nasik to attend a political rally on sunday. All our reserved seats were occupied by pan-chewing, smoking, foul mouthed thugs who probably never bought a train ticket all their lives, and probably will never do so. Twelve of us with heavy luggage inside a train compartment--and no place to even stand properly, that too after a back breaking day at ajantha caves!

All the other passengers who had reserved their seats were standing while these goons were resting on the seats, joking, playing cards, swearing, shouting slogans every 10 minutes. Probably we'd have also stood like them but some of us just barged in and started speaking their language. It was a struggle for nearly 15 minutes during which two of our friends were screaming at the top of their lungs at these villagers, one guy just got into a fist fight, some of us pulled him and others back, trying to pacify them and the angry thugs, and the rest just shivered and prayed. At the end of all the drama, we managed to snatch back 6 of our 12 seats, dumped in all our luggage and sat huddled in the cold night on these seats until the train reached nasik and the villagers drained out. Whew...quite unforgettable!

We had the fortune of visiting the ancient house of one of the most renowned saints of 16th century---Sant Eknath. His descendants still live in his house and we chatted with them as they spoke about their famous ancestor. When all of us sat in meditation in the room which Eknath had built himself centuries ago, we felt as if we were transported back by 400 years. The faint sounds of the evening, the barking dogs, the crying children all belonged to that era, not to the fastpaced 21st century. Probably we might've been actually taken back to the past--in some silent moments, we were one with the great master who'd brought light to medieval india and continues to do so even today.

The best moment of this trip came when we sat on the banks of river Godavari, dangling our legs in the cool waters, watching the golden orange sun sink into the vast expanse at a distance. The tremendous silence of that atmosphere will probably remain etched in my being till the end.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

See you on the other side.....

It' s almost midnight as i write this, trying to keep myself awake and gather my thoughts. This place is warm although the air outside is capable of freezing you up to your bones. A friend walks up to my seat and gazes at the screen--he's just passed his exams and is on cloud nine. The sounds of the city reach you faintly but the silence and serenity of this place is overpowering. In this atmosphere, your mind stops chattering and goes to sleep but you are awake, anticipating a new dawn. Life, after a difficulty and triumph, is always exhilarating.

The next few days will be a kind of sweet exhaustion for all of us as we travel quite a lot, visit a lot of places soaking up the dust and chill of the road. The vagabond in me is up and awake after years of deep sleep. Travel awakens the creative pulse within, the adventurous spirit hidden inside us and makes us more alive and jovial. After living sedentarily for years, i can say this with more authority than anyone, i feel.

Until i return, a 'Sayonara' to blogging--albeit, temporarily.