Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stop amidst the flux....

Death is on my mind for a while but it isn't depressing. I'm pondering over the fact that Death is inevitable yet how we carry on with our lives as if it didn't exist. I know that I'll be no more some day--that day may not necessarily come after another 50 years, but it could be this very day. And I also know that all those around me will be no more--that I may actually be alive to face their absence. Yet I live, oblivious of the existence of Death.

I don't want to talk about it nor give it a serious thought. I'm not
interested in finding out where I was before I came here. I don't care where I'll reach once my heart stops beating. I know very well that I'm on borrowed time, but am totally unaware how much of it is still left. Yet I spend this precious time in pursuing mundane things, in cherishing silly ambitions. Much of my energy dries up in the desert of short lived pleasures/successes or in escaping equally silly anxieties. I don't want to know why I'm here, for what purpose, and whether I'm pursuing it or not!

And I carry on my daily life as if the whole eternity stretches ahead of me, waiting like a loyal servant, ready for-ever to pamper me!

The phone rings as I rush to the class. It's an old friend. I cut the line. After a while there's a message. 'Call me up when you're free.' I don't call up.

I'm reminded of this whenever I watch a latest commercial(I don't recall the product), which goes something like--'Age goes, children go, home goes, hope goes...........only friends stay.' No, friends don't stay. Even friends go away, friendship goes away. And it doesn't take much to lose friendships, to lose people...... Nothing remains as it is in this world where everything is in a flux. And that's the beauty of it all.

Evening. I walk over to the roadside vendor of bhajjis, hand him a five rupee coin and point to the heap of golden coloured, roasted, fuming onion bhajjis. He pulls out a piece of paper, plucks five from the mound, wraps them carefully. I cross the road, walk through the park towards my office, munching through the delicacies, observing the slowly descending mist around me. The cool breeze that laps up against me gives an added flavour and punch to the hot bhajji that melts in my mouth before descending into my belly, carrying a warmth with it. One of the things that makes my day is this short walk to this vendor every evening and the half-dozen bhajjis that I gobble up on my way back. And yeah, work sucks horribly. Period.

He opens his heavy eyes slowly, looks up from where he's sleeping, rolls over abruptly and sits back. Then looks around bewildered. If neither I or Archana pay any attention, he grunts once and slowly breaks into a wail. Usually one of us get up and greet him. He smiles and cackles. Beats his hands and mumbles something incoherently. Crawls towards me and lifts his arms. I gather him--at nine months, he's chubby and has a healthy weight. Kiss him--soft cheeks with a buscuit aroma--- and hold him tight. There's still some sleep left in his eyes. He rests his head against my shoulder and soon dozes off as I slowly pat his back.

Everything that happens, happens Here. Everything that happens, happens Now. I can do something, think something else, feel or grumble, hate or love....only Now, only Here. Not somewhere else, Not at any other time. Now!

Tea on a lazy saturday morning. Some work's pending so I've to go to the office for over two-three hours. All tv channels carry the breaking news of the five-year jail term for actor Salman khan and his preparations to surrender to the police. There's a swarm of media personnel outside his house, waiting for him to come out, eager to capture his depressed face, waiting for a sound-byte or two from him.... He looks lost, totally lost, as if he's staring into the eyes of death and there's still a great hunger for life left in him. Is he guilty? Not guilty? Is the verdict harsh? Will this serve as an example for the rich and famous that they aren't above the law? Is the judicial system going to save our country from going to the dogs? Tv anchors bark hungrily and commoners on the streets mouth stupid responses.

Amidst all of this, Salman sits huched up on a chair, staring into vaccum. Rich, famous, successful, role-model, spoilt, arrogant...and human.

After thought

'He's a 4-door, brass-plated, air-conditoned, 5-speed, 12-cylnder, turbocharged asshole!"

Scott adams has a post on Cuss phrases. The 700 odd comments that I browsed through had me rolling in fits, trying hard not to roar laughing and attract unwanted attention from busy-pretending colleagues.

Humour can be decent and civil but the punch felt in a non-veg, profane joke is beyond parellel. Like this one, to end a crappy week:

I worked at a gas station when I was 14 years old, and one old fart once asked why we were closed on a certain day. He told me he came by and "the place was locked up tighter than a bull's ass".

Friday, August 24, 2007

A short prayer........

It's a special friday. We're worshipping Goddess Mahalaxmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu who's the caretaker of the entire creation. Mahalaxmi is usually associated with wealth, with material prosperity. Or in New age terms(maybe borrowing a quote from Peale), she represents all the positivity and affirmative energy of the Universe.

Indian households worship her as a giver of bounty, of wealth, of a long fulfilling life. In worshipping her, we also recognise the positive intent present within all of us, and make a resolution to strengthen and nurture this aspect in us. And also express our gratitude for the grace bestowed by Mother nature, for the sunshine, the rains, dew, every breath we inhale, the trees and flowers, the mountains and rivers...And at an individual level, for all the unqualified and undemanding love we receive everyday from those around us and all the lessons and wisdom life imparts us every moment.

And we also pray...that we may rise above merely noticing this positive intent and ritualistically worshipping it through a form. That we may go to the next level of probing this deep mystery called life and experience the field of energy behind all forms, in all its splendour and vastness. Let us seek and know the 'truth' directly, the way one knows the rains when it splutters on an upturned cheek. And let's live this truth, this positivity without the burden of dogma, without the shackles of rituals, the way one inhales and exhales, without following a breathing religion.

Let the primordial intelligence of this positive energy field(call it Goddess Mahalaxmi) guide all humanity to the realization of its true nature.

Let there be Light!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Between here and there!

'It's like this', He said. 'I wanted to just travel north. Stay at a place. Teach those around me something that I know, something I've learnt. Then after a while move again. Stay at another place and teach. Again move ahead. This was the ideal. We were thinking of this possibility....'

Somehow we're excited. I jump up, almost interrupting him,'It happens in a movie sir, Japanese I think. There's a govt. official--honest and incorruptible. The higher ups cannot put up with him and his sincerity, so he's frequently transferred. What he does is--wherever he goes, he educates the simple folk around him, spreads a kind of awareness to resist corruption and to stand up to one's rights, so on. He's shunted from place to place but with that, he goes on spreading a movement....'

'We used to do small experiments,' He continued after listening to me keenly. 'We'd set out, without any money. Just board a bus or something like that, and with a firm faith that God would somehow take care. And actually it would happen. Someone would help us, give us something, take us to the place where we wanted to reach, etc. The thing was, we were experimenting with our faith....'

I have a distant relative who set out like this from my native village, travelling all over the country by foot, visiting the sacred sites of piligrimage. One morning he woke up and said that he had a divine inspiration to do so. When the news came of his impending departure, my dad rushed to persuade him to stay back. I was a kid then and I remember wondering why anyone should stop him. What was wrong in going away like that? The fact that he was in the thick of a family life, with grown up daughters never occured to me as a cause of worry. After all it was his life and if he felt it right to live it like this, why should anyone bother?

Eventually that guy went away, paying no heed to anyone's advice, threats or pleading. He left without a penny, travelled on foot far and wide, and returned nearly after a couple of years--probably much mature, wiser....Or maybe he was just escaping the drudgery of family life, we never knew. But whenever he came to our place, he'd narrate stories of his travels, all the fascinating stuff he encountered, the dangers he had to face etc. That was also the period of my growing aloofness and Dad worried that I too would follow suit someday. To top that, an astrologer had warned Dad that I'd leave home and go away; and Dad would've to travel north to find me....

The urge to do what pleases you against the obligations-responsibilities you've agreed to shoulder-- and balancing this in a short span of life--this theme fascinates and haunts me. How we crave for security, for the status quo! How we fear change or any upheavals! Not even daring to think beyond our boundaries, worried about opinions, secretly hankering for validation even
in our daydreams!

All these disjointed thoughts come flooding after reading this in Sun Magazine.

* * *

Many thanks to Val for passing on this hat. The kind words and enthusiasm shown by friends like her have made these two years of blogging worthwhile, enriching and more enjoyable! A lesson from childhood--food that's shared tastes better than when eaten alone! Isn't that true always?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Days, unending yawns
Moments, shiver, fear
Darkness surrounds

A faint glimmer, distant
Awake, a fresh morning
Dew drenched breeze
Tears. Smile.

Missed chances
Regrets, wet wounds
What if, What if not,
Blindness, hatred

Anywhere but here
Wanting to be someone
Searching, fumbling
Lost nowhere

Fighting, hard, with oneself
Aspiring, slipping, falling tired
Will I do it, Can I

Clearing mist, Open
Warmth, a healing touch
Struggle no more,
Familiar whispers

Into wide arms
Comfort, Joy
Arrived but never left
Learnt but knew always

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Time and again

Time is on my mind for quite a while. When I was pondering over the apparent lack of time in my workaday, I came across this article by Dave pollard. He argues that time is just a concept, a figment of imagination. Could it be so? How do animals and plants calculate time? Do they get stressed over the lack of it or feel relaxed and lazy about its abundance?

Spiritual texts tell us about different worlds and dimensions of existence in which time moves at different speeds. Thus time moves incredibly faster in our human world when compared to a higher plane. What it means is that, in a matter of one day in a higher plane, thousands (or millions) of years could've elapsed on this earth. Since we're sceptical of such knowledge unless it comes from the science community, here's an article that describes a similar phenomenon of time shifts.

I suspect that this time-gap exists even in this earth, for different living beings. Thus a mosquito which takes birth, completes a life-span and dies(within days of human time) could actually be viewing time differently--what a day is for us could be decades for a mosquito. Many organisms take birth and die almost immediately--as seen from our angle. But from their view-point? Maybe they're leading a life of a hundred years or so--and we see it as only a few moments.

Thirty two years ago, I came here, as if from nowhere. I grew up, learnt a hundred things, got schooled, got lost, found myself, got a job, married, kissed my child, read hundreds of books, watched countless movies, quarrelled, loved, learned, ate, slept, dreamt, fell and climbed, thought about a million useless things and a few worthy ones---and when I'm thinking what a long life this has been and what a long life stretches ahead of me--someone looking down at me from a higher level of existence remarks to his friend--'Look what this guy's been doing for the past 32 seconds. Let's see what he does for another minute'.

The enormity of time and space is overwhelming. We're stuck within their confines. How would it be to stand outside both time and space? I wonder, what would that experience be like? Is it possible and if so, what does it take to get there?