Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pay attention...

Walking around near the parks in the evening, after a bout of hectic work, I come across a groundnut vendor. He's in his late 40s, maybe. Stands near his push cart and fries peeled groundnuts on a small stove. And once they're fried, he transfers them to a small hotcase, fills up the container on the stove with raw nuts and begins to fry them. I stop, buy nuts for 5 rupees which he packs into a small paper role, and continue my walk.
He stands there, almost all day long, doing the same thing--fry, gather and store, fry, pack, fry... Since months on end. Battle weary face.

Dramas happen almost all the time and it's very rare that I stand away, a bit far away from the dias, to observe how things unfold, how deeply I get stuck in the dung yet never smell anything bad. A guy calls up and chats. Discusses nonsense. I want to shut him up. Tell him to f*** off. Yet I pretend as if I'm amused, as if his blabbering and joking is good humour. Put up a show of modesty, of good behaviour. What'll happen if I speak my mind? Tell him that he's not the hilarious hunk he thinks he is but a pathetic loser.....

'Relax. Don't carry it ahead.' Fine. That's a good payoff---bear and avoid discomfort.

Or it's like I'm too close to others around me. It's rare that I offend anyone, consciously. Seeing them in discomfort creates the same feeling within. Maybe I'm not offensive just to not feel uncomfortable doing that. And if sometimes I'm the cause of that uneasiness in others, it gets all the more troubling. Many times I've gone out of the way to make the other person feel relaxed, make him less apprehensive, less fearful, more at ease. And invariably the strain occurs.

When I see this 'treat others like shit' action in others, it's amusing. I want to do that. Blast someone, not worrying about anything. Of course, do it justifiably and not in a sadistic way. Do it without feeling a bit of strain, without getting hurt within. Have that basic detachment first.

Midnight! hour or two past midnight. I'm supposed to be sleeping yet I sit here, scribbling, made aware of the cold wind that creeps through the open window(the damn thing can't be closed--the cable wire runs through it). The gale is furious one moment, violently shaking the coconut branches. And then it falls silent for some time. I wait for it to howl again. How's it supposed to behave? Who sets the rules? And whose rule is it that I should be sleeping at this unearthly hour and not sitting huddled in a blanket, scribbling unbridled thoughts in the dim-light streaming from the nightlamp?

A few minutes ago I read The lazy man's guide to Enlightenment--of course, the first chapter. And one concept stands out--that this physical reality is a game we've chosen to play at this moment in time. And that it's a joyful play. Mmm....This pricks. It may take sometime to remove this thorn or to come to terms with it. Until then, it bleeds.

A mild uneasiness. It grows, starts gnawing at my being(how's your meditation....nill.....and no guilt...Mmm?). And then, a sudden burst of realization. A feeling of calm descends on you when you suddenly know everything, when you realize the truth, when all the loose ends are tied up conveniently, when everything is just in your grasp--you only have to open your fist and have a look. That's it.

But you don't have it yet. No. You realize when the chaos returns, almost immediately.

One such moment of clarity comes when a thought arises--that I'm living through several dramas, all at once, participating in all of them, and all these occur within the boundaries of a bigger drama--Life. Such innumerable big dramas before and more of them coming my way but I'm aware of only the current one. And yes, all the shorter sub-dramas within this....!

The family drama(or dramas). The one with friends. The drama of self-realization(or the attempt of it). The drama of writing. Of blogging( a mini world in itself). The drama of career and its growth. Innumerable plots swirling in the head all the time--in the form of thoughts and day dreams. The drama of being a part of the society. Of being a husband. A son. A father. A wage-slave. A friend. A layman. A writer. A disciple. And the drama of self--what I think I am.

What happens when all of these collapse? What if there's no such drama, no stage, no part, no story, nothing? You aren't fragmented into different roles, enacting numerous episodes, getting bewildered and lost every moment, searching for meaning and sinking deeper with every struggle....suddenly you want to just watch things as they are. You want to stop everything and just sit back. Observe. Breathe deep.

Words. Not the reality. Not the actual experience. Just concepts floating here and there. Not the real hunger but the fantasy of not eating. Real hunger sinks in deep and wakes you up. Fantasies don't.

Waiting for the hunger.

Occasional jolts remind me of the temporariness of everything, the fragility of everything. A colleague who worked in product development, with whom we had bitter sweet fights and reconciliations(workwise) for over two years comes up and shakes my hand. 'Got a job in Hyderabad. This week's my last here. You're invited for lunch tomorrow at.....'

Tejas is one year old. Now getting up, walking, learning syllables, shaking hands, responding in his own way, learning mischief, catching our jokes and reacting, guffawing out aloud, wailing and asking to be given attention. The soft, cuddly, cute infant, he ain't anymore. Up on his feet and stumbling toddler. When he was in my arms I thought it would be permanent. Or, never thought he'd leave the warmth of my lap and jump out....

What's wrong with temporariness? With the fragility? If temporary, so be it. If not strong, if not permanent, if fleeting and gone in moments, so be it.


  1. Its all temporary - thats the only unchanging certainty in all this wispy world of change.

    Thanks for sharing the words - and the unspoken truth behind them.

  2. How well quoted - Physical reality is the game we have choosen to play.

    We cannot afford to wait for the Hunger; We pursue it.

    We need not bleed. We can be happy that we came across something that woke us up from the slumber into the emotional realisation. We need to sublimate it to a higher dimension of eternity.

  3. Anon...Bleeding is not quoted in the Usual sense. What I meant was that, it keeps pricking and pushing you into contemplation.
    You can pursue the hunger but can't create it. In my opinion, only the conditions for hunger can be created; the hunger has to happen by itself.

    Thanks for your comments. If you don't identify yourself, I'll be tempted to attribute these comments to a friend of mine who sometimes comments anonymously :-)

    Val....but we rarely are aware of the temporariness. Nor do we live with that acceptance. This forgetfulness must be hardwired in us!