Saturday, October 28, 2006

In the end...jump

There's a programme on National geographic channel that chronicles the life-cycle of an African Lion. The growing years, the ferocious hunting in the wilderness, leading a clan of half a dozen lioness, killing young males who could become potential contenders....and in the final scene, the once invincible but now old lion wobbles around for a few steps and then falls down with a thud. That's the end of the king of the jungle.

This scene has remained in memory for quite a long time. The fraility that comes with age, the helplessness and weakness that are a natural part of growing old--somehow these are very touching. I see it in elders around--those who were once ferocious lions are now looking around--not knowing what to do with their lives except waiting for the end. This disturbs.

Once I saw an elderly man who was suffering from parkinsons disease. He'd enrolled for our meditation classes but he couldn't sit even for a moment without shaking and twisting. His nervous system was completely devastated. I'd wonder how his day-to-day life would be.

Nat writes a good post on growing old and our perceptions regarding it. And in Tehelka as usual, a touching article about a father who's afflicted with parkinsons.

Then there's an sms from a childhood friend--'Sad news. ML passed away!'

ML was our physical trainer in our highschool days. As with all P.T. masters he was a real terror. He'd smash anyone and everyone who'd dare to cross the line of discipline. We as kids never, ever imagined that this bully would one day become an non-descript, unwanted, helpless person and pass away meekly. He was always overbearing -- an apt symbol of the african lion. But in the end there's always that wobble.... and then a soft thud. It comes to everyone, whoever you could be.

Yet there are some who defy age, who defy nature. Shivaram karanth, an eminent figure in the Kannada literary world, lived up to 96 years and he was a young boy until his last breath--full of life, full of zest. The principle--'Mind over matter' was true in his case, as it is with many like him. The body could be slow and unhurried but the spirit inside is roaring and blazing ahead. Their enthusiasm and happiness are infectious. No wobble, no thud can erase the smile on their faces. They live in joy and when they depart, I'm sure they do so with a spring in their steps.

I'd love to be one such old man, if at all I live up to such a ripe age.

Friday, October 20, 2006


There are sounds of crackers ringing from distant horizons. It's one hell of a long weekend. We get a new tv set and also a direct to home satellite connection. Archana wants gifts for everyone at home--she enjoys giving gifts. Last week when dad's books got published, she drew and painted a beautiful card for him. At work, there's less hurry and tension-- a kind of eased out atmosphere. In the midst of all these, I get a special message in my mailbox. Happiness. Like the cool weather, there's a pleasant ambience all around.

When I think of this change, it amazes me. Simply because, by this time last week, I was worried sick over a silly thing. I thought I'd make a fool of myself before a number of people--all my hidden fears were about to explode in my face. When the moment came, nothing happened. None of the disasters that I'd imagined materialised. Whether it were unknown forces that glided me past my troubles or whether it was my own imagination that had magnified trivial things--I'll never know. But life is smooth again and I'm wiser by a degree or two.

An occasion to become philosophical. Thinking about my own motivation makes me realize that most of the time, I'm running after short-lived pleasures or I'm escaping from hidden fears and weaknesses. Most of my life has been a movement away from or towards such mundane things. However hard I convince myself about my spiritual ambitions and lofty ideals, ultimately when I stand face to face with myself, I know that I can't fool myself. In spite of the occasional pursuit and desire for flight, I'm an earth-bound human. My roots are stronger than my wings.

This small understanding gives me a strange strength. Of course, things don't get better overnight. There will be a hundred struggles and innumerable failures before I climb over and wipe my brows. The journey is long and arduous, but it's bleak no longer. There's a slight clarity. When I know my own shortcomings, I also know that I won't slip easily next time around. Every failure and slippage will be a part of the success.

And how long will it be before I slip out of this pursuit of success and escape from failure?

Let there be light and love everywhere with this Diwali. Let all of us find the true brilliance that's hidden within and share it with each other. And a special prayer for Nick. Get well soon!

A happy diwali to all my friends, visitors and everyone in the blogworld and the real world.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Stop for a while, will ya....

I wake up and rush to work. I come home late, chat a bit with archana, attend to a few errands and then try hard to fight off sleep, try to contemplate a bit on all the things that are important. The next thing I know is that it's 8 in the morning and I'm trying to catch another 2 minutes of sleep before rushing again.

Saturdays are filled with innumerable activities, waiting to be attended to. Sunday whizzes past and it's another working week.

I ponder over the insensitive and blind pace of my life as I listen to Kishore.
Mein Zindagi ka saath nibhaata chalaa gaya;
har phikr ko dhue me udhaatha chalaa gaya.
( I walk hand in hand with Life....puffing away every despair, every sorrow...)

It soothes a bit as I finish my last sip of tea and head towards office.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Here, I come

A long forgotten dream. A world war has happened and we've somehow survived. The atmosphere is totally bleak, utterly devastated. Those who've perished seem to be the lucky ones. I'm in an open space, living with my family in a torn tent. We're running short of food and I'm discussing with some people about the possibility of starting farming on a piece of land, in order to grow food for ourselves.

The rest of the dream is hazy, but I remember this dream when today, we have news of North korea going nuclear, and all the other big brothers who've stacked nuclear weapons in their backyard crying hoarse. Hope my dream remains a dream and doesn't become a living nightmare for all of us on this earth. But with these crazy scoundrels ruling us, anything can happen.

And then, there are some disturbing images on tv. There's a communal flare in Mangalore, not far from here. It's a sensitive area -- the muslim and hindu dogs over there are always at loggerheads for some issue or the other. Three days ago a fight broke out over the transportation of cattle to slaughterhouses and soon there was widespread violence, resulting in a few deaths. A kurfew is declared and the police are manning the entire city.

They show a young man on TV who has ventured out of his house and a group of policemen stop him on the way. They start lashing him with their sticks until he's forced to flee --they pursue him, thrashing him all the way. He didn't look like a rioter. Later a car passes by and the police stop it. The driver and the passenger are thoroughly checked, the car is inspected and later they're let go. What's disturbing is the attitude of the police constables. They threaten the hapless driver and the passenger, nudging and prodding them with their sticks--the harrassment is sickening and revolting. Agreed, the situation is tense and people are dead, but does that give you a sanction to terrorise anyone and everyone in the name of maintaining law and order?

I find it difficult to sympathise with or understand police brutality, however justified it may seem to be. One of my cousins is serving in the police force and his attitude is evident--a slow transformation into a rowdy in uniform. They too are humans but the access to power brings out the hidden devil, I think.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In any darkness.....under any haze

........ there's always a ray of light......

.... and always someone who ferries you across.