Friday, July 28, 2006

Simple pleasures

Laziness is detrimental but it's fun too. After studies and before work, there was a phase, an extended phase of divine laziness. I would go over to a friend's place and sit for the whole day and chat. He too was in a similar state of bliss and we'd destroy time in idle gossip. Or I'd watch movies. Devour books by dozens. Stare into the sky and let imagination soar. Scribble nonsense and try to make literature out of it. Stay awake until the wee hours of the morning, lost in contemplation, giving shape to a future(?).

No doubt, it was a horrible waste of time and energy. When I'm scrambling for time now, trying to fill in a whole lot of activities within the 24 hours, wondering at the enormity of the tasks certainly was gold flushed down the drainage.

But still, it was beautiful--inspite of the irresponsibility and uncertainty. Beautiful because maybe it can't be repeated. From one angle, those years were wasteful--with no material productivity. No job, no career growth, no accumulation of money in your account, no learning in the work place. But from another viewpoint...that was the phase where I was living life the way I wanted to, however amaeturish it might have been.

When I'm updating my blogpost, I come across this. Fantastic!

I take a day off from my work schedule and stay home. I eat my breakfast leisurely and watch the morning news on TV. I meditate for an hour. At 11 archana brings me a steaming cup of coffee. As I sip coffee, I read from the pages of 'India My Love,' by Osho. It begins to drizzle and soon it's pelting outside. The weather's absolutely pleasant and I stare at the downpour for a long time doing NOTHING. It's bliss.

A friend calls up at night and we chat for a long time. He wants to know about my plans for the future. I blabber a bit and realise that there are no plans in me. I only have a destination and one or two steps that go in that direction. But the exact road map...? I'm at a loss.

As I lie down staring at the ceiling, listening to the sounds of midnight, the enormity of the future unfolds before my eyes. In my childhood, whenever I fell ill, I'd wake up with scary dreams where I'm faced with an insurmountable task and I'm unable to take a single step. My situation at present looks similar.

Then a few words come to me--words I'd heard recently. 'You are on a mist covered road, not knowing what lies ahead, unable to see beyond a few steps. Take one or two steps. The mist clears up and you see the next steps. Walk further. The mist clears again. Take small steps and keep moving. In Faith.'

You don't always walk from A to B, with clearly defined steps in between. Most of the times you do, but at times you fly. A whirlwind picks you up at A and throws you down at B. Life isn't rational all the time.

I know my destination. I know the few steps ahead. And I have my passion and faith. I'll walk!

Nowadays we're twisting words at home and it creates humour in our everyday speech. If we want to call someone stupid, we say 'styupah', with a stress on the letter 'h'. Or 'idiotah' for idiot, the way italians pronounce. Or 'What's your probos(what's your problem)? Or 'Okie-dokie!(for okay!)

Dilip's stopped blogging. Styupah!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Seeking calm in an insane world

I'm sitting on the steps of the meditation hall, gazing at the vast expanse of the night sky. The security guard of this complex, a young boy of 18 sits nearby. He's a slim and energetic young man, with a smile and sparkle in his eyes. He points to the people inside the hall. 'How long can they sit like that?'
'Thirty minutes in the beginning,' I reply. 'Gradually you increase it to 45-60 minutes, one hour, two hours and then as much as you wish.'
'And it does improve your concentration, isn't it?'
'Yeah, it does.'

We chat for a while. He's from a far off village, recently arrived in bangalore in search of a livelihood. Poverty back home in a famine struck village, a meagre salary of 2500 rupees in a big city, a deadening--soul killing job. He walks 3-4 miles every morning & evening to his small room, to save 10 rupees on bus fare. ' Love to walk...good for health,' he chuckles.
Then asks hesitantly,'Do you people take money for teaching meditations here?'

'Yes, a small sum.'

He's a bit disappointed. I promise to give him a small booklet which can help him start meditations. His face brightens and he pleads me to give it the very next day.

As I leave he says,'I don't like this job---just sit around and do nothing. In this age I've to work hard. If I sit now and do nothing, then when I get old enough to sit around, I'll be lying down.'

Blogs shut shop in our country for a week. Some idiot higher up in power decides that blogs are the medium of communication for terrorist outfits---and the result is that most of the blogsites are blacked out. While many of us sit back and wait, some bloggers protest, file RTIs and express their outrage through newspapers and newschannels. Whether the government yeilded to their protest or realised its folly in setting the whole paddy feild on fire just to burn a few weeds--ultimately we're breathing easy again.

How does the ordinary muslim feel now, in these times? Some nuts blow up railway carriages in mumbai or detonate school buses in kashmir or blow themselves up in crowded market places in baghdad--and you have the misfortune of sharing the same community with these insane people. What are your feelings? How much suspicion, humiliation, self-doubt and dilemmas are raging within you?
Archana reads this and says,'They are blowing up the whole world and you sit here sympathising these guys.' No, I don't patronize or sympathise the community. I wonder how I'd feel if I were a muslim and have no goddamned intention to blow up the whole world, no matter what others in my community feel. How would I feel?

Confusing and dreadful times. Can India ever retaliate to Pak the way Israel is doing now in the middle east? Whether you respond or not, the faceless cowards are going to target you. Can India summon the will and courage to blast the terrorist camps across the border? What will be the consequences? Where and when will this end?

Sleeplessness for sometime. I don't like to sleep nowadays. Feel, it's a waste of time.

I look at people and a thought arises--a very firm thought. 'I don't want to end up like that.' I see retired people sitting in parks, shuffling newspapers, boasting about grandchildren, staring into emptyness, or ambling on evening roads. The dusk is nearby and you've travelled a sunlit path with your eyes tightly shut, groping here and there, collecting stones and mud all the way.
When I'm at that age, I don't want to open my eyes and stare down at my collection of garbage!

Sunday, July 16, 2006


A cool breeze caresses the river surface, creating endless ripples, which gradually widen and disappear as they expand. The flow is so silent and graceful that this majestic expanse looks more like a placid lake than a river which blends with the sea a few miles away. Faint evening sounds from the far off village merge with the rustle of the peepul leaves overhead. One or two lights flicker at a great distance amidst coconut groves as the sun sets and a soothing darkness descends on the landscape.

I stand on the river bank, gathering every detail of this magical world, as the late evening breeze brings with it a mystical fragrance, arousing feelings and memories which cannot be given a human expression. This is a moment from my childhood but it is fresh, as if I'm experiencing it Now.

I cheat someone today and feel happy doing it. I'm waiting for a friend and the place has no place to park my car. So I drive into a nearby religious institution, park my car in the parking space and pretend that I've come here to pray. The guard looks a bit suspicious--maybe my attire and body language betray my intentions, or maybe he thinks I have a bomb in my car. Nonetheless he leaves me alone. Half an hour later, the friend calls me up from outside the gate and I drive out, royally.

Surrounded by books. A good 3 hours on a saturday evening. Silence in the house.

We are getting accustomed to violence and bloodbath. Maybe a kind of numbness has set in. Bomb blasts, suicide attacks, airstrikes, riots.....I don't think I'd be devastated if these ghastly things devour someone close to me. Is this a healthy detachment or a inhuman indifference?

I was born and brought up in a middle class family. We've always valued things in a moderate way--not being callous (as it happens, sometimes, if you are super rich), or being overawed (if you've grown up in deprivation). What it meant was that our house and living environment was neat and tidy, only to the extent required. It was never spic and span and spotless, which I wished for many a time. Maybe it has nothing to do with your economic condition and everything to do with your attitude, but this was how it was with us.

But this would change twice a year. Whenever my brother-in-law came visiting from chennai, our house would automatically become a tad more orderly and tidy. Dad would be up before 6, have an early bath, comb his hair back, wear new clothes, open the windows to allow fresh air, put new sheets on the sofa...similarly Mom....and a sublime crispiness would automatically evolve in the surroundings.

These events came up from memory today when a similar freshness got infused into our otherwise normal household environment. A special guest arrived and we were on our toes, ensuring that everything was perfect and in its proper place. That aliveness, that fragrance of newness is still around although the day has ended.

Freshness around brings freshness within, they say. How I wish for a similar environment every moment!

A distant rumbling, somewhere deep down. A foreboding of things to come--the approach of something huge. Something Enormous!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Anniversary blues...........

July is called 'Aashada' according to the Indian calender. It's the twilight period between summer and the rains--You have clouds but the rains are yet to unfold their fury. It's drizzly all over. This is also the periods where not many ceremonies are held. No marriages and in orthodox circles, newly weds are forced to stay away from one another througout this month( remember a funny movie in which this happens and the husband falls for his wife's best friend in frustration).

This month is considered inauspicious by many. But according to spiritual wisdom, this is the most auspicious period of the year, when we're flooded with the best energies from the higher planes. Those who knew this devoted all their time and efforts for spiritual practises and kept aside all material pursuits and marriage ceremonies.

Distortions!!! That's the norm.

No, I didn't stay away from the blog world for this reason. Nor did I keep away because I read this ( Admire your clarity of thought and conviction in this piece, but don't agree with your nonsense, dude. Keep your shit in your pocket).

I wanted to blabber about my first birthday as a blogchild. Time flies. Never thought this bunch of time-pass writeups would survive this long, or would be of any real value to sustain my interest for this long. Without unknown friends who read and patted, without other simple yet inspiring blogs, without the tiny squirmishes with hot-headed balloons and without the intimate write ups on some heartful blogspaces which made me think--'Wow, I have something similar to say',-- I might've winded up soon. Thanks to all. I love being here.

A quote comes up from memory-- What's the difference between someone who can't read and someone who doesn't read?-----Nothing.
And what's the difference between someone who has no opportunity and someone who doesn't use his opportunities?

Applies everywhere.

Was busy. And a lot lazy. But will blog often henceforth, even if what comes out is utter drivel. Love to write drivel!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Waiting for the light.....

It's within you. YOU are the light!

Did something for the first time. Kept my awareness intact in an intense situation.

An overcast sky, threatening to start pouring any moment! This weather normally depresses you but today, it's soothing.

What's the purpose of your life? What are you doing here--breathing, eating, sleeping, working, dreaming, scheming, blabbering, dozing......What's your role here?

I'm against Unconsciousness. Similar to Edu's 'I'm against reservations', slogan.

Got bitten by the world cup bug. Watched Germany level up and beat Argentina. I always favour the underdogs, whoever they might be. Love it when they come back from the dust and whack the hell out of the stronger one.

Don't like to work on Saturdays.

Can a mother talk to the baby in her womb? Can the kid communicate with the mother? Archana sometimes feels it.

Everything here is possible. You can do anything if you focus and apply your long as you're not hankering for success or running away from failure.

Nick's unemployed no longer. He's as aged as my dad is--similar to dad in a few ways. Reading about his struggles, his friends, his unique observations, his way of life, his subtle sense of humour and the pranks of his pet Alex--- all these are refreshing reminders of the zest for life of an elderly friend from another part of the world. Love being a part of the blog phenomenon where people like Nick share a slice of their lives.

Hot tea arrives. Tea and relaxedness are intertwined. Tea reminds me of Zen.

So much material to read--to understand. Even in the blog world, there are fantastic places-- like this, this and this--which are inexhaustible sources of information and knowledge.

We haven't made any plans for our kid, it's future. Nor will we seriously do, me thinks. He or She will be special, in only one sense. He will be full of love, full of laughter, full of life. He will radiate love.....
The rest are details.