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!


  1. Another powerful post, Vishwa. Thank you.

  2. WOW!

    Ill have to read over that again cuz its past 3 in the morning and I need some rest(havent rested well in a long time).

    Until then, be safe.

  3. "When I'm at that age, I don't want to open my eyes and stare down at my collection of garbage!"

    For some reason or another, this phrase stuck out for me. Its a nice reminder to yourself of the things that really matter and the limited time you have to live out both dreams and cherish the ones around you.

    There is alot of shit going on in the world and it does scare me and sadden me when i hear about people that martyr themselves, by blowing themselves up in the name of their chosen gods.

    I wish there was something that I can do to help out with things and peace, etc. but I feel that us as human. our both advantage and disadvantage is the fact that most of the time, we can only have an affect on things locally and within proximity of ourselves...we are like oscillations in the water, waves kissed by the moon.

    Of course, I dont discount the people that have a bigger splash, good for them, but kinda like what happened in Iraq and throwing Saddam off his throne, you cant just throw a blanket of democracy over their people and expect them to accept that kind of thread.

    It has to work on the inside out...most, if not all things have to go that route in order to work.


  4. Nick...thanks.

    Jen...Yes, it is a reminder for me about my goals and priorities. And sometimes it's a bit scary, because, my daily life and routine pulls me into that rut where many are stuck up---somewhere I don't want to end up.
    Struggle---it's nice when it ends. Until then it keeps you edgy.

    What can we, as everyday beings, do to make a difference? The small difference you make in your small proximity---that's more than enough at this point, i believe. It's hundred times better than not making any impact, or worse, making a negative impact. We can change ourselves, bring a positive change in our surroundings, and spread this idea to many others (maybe through our blogs). Small droplets we all are, but when these droplets add up, an ocean takes shape.

    I firmly believe it's possible. The first step to that is to find light for myself. And then tell others.