Friday, February 15, 2008

A slow walk back

Children can percieve things beyond our comprehension, they can see astral beings and even communicate with God. But once they begin speaking, these faculties are withdrawn. Then civilization begins to crush....

Going back to our innocence is the essence of Spirituality....

--The Book of Reflections---Guruji Krishnananda

When Mom worries that my son is yet to begin talking although he's already 15 months old, I doubt whether it's a good thing or not. I want to assure her that it's alright, he'll soon be speaking and blabbering--right now, maybe he's having a different kind of communication, something he'll
soon lose as he grows up, go out into an unfamiliar, ordinary life, get lost and again struggle through his way back to reach this higher state of innocence. I want to tell her that we all are again on this path towards reaching our original state, something which my son is on the verge of leaving any moment. And when he is beginning to comprehend things and naming them, I don't know whether I should feel happy for his growth or feel sad for a loss, which he himself might not be aware of. The loss of innocence.

Lose your innocence, drift into an unruly, challenging world, struggle, learn the lessons and then earn back your state of innocence. A wonderful cycle for every soul. The Parable of the prodigal son.

I was given a similar advice when I was serious about fiction writing. Create a balanced world. Disturb the balance. Let the characters struggle and restore the balance. End of story. Lesson learned. Maturity gained.

The hardest part is the struggle, though. To remember that you've to go back. Not to lose yourself in the struggle.

Updated: I've added a few more links on the right bar and removed some obsolete ones. These are the blogs and websites that I visit almost daily. India uncut is my favourite, so is Ran prieur's blog. Tim harford's writing is lucid and introduces economics to the layman. These wonderful blogs can be read end to end--and I do attempt it sometimes. Obviously, there are a multitude of blogs out there which are truly informative, engaging and enlightening. This list will surely be updated every now and then. Maybe I'll be adding another list this weekend, consisting of the best posts from across the blogworld that I've read in the past two years.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One day

Home. The five-seven minutes I get in the morning, after the shower and just before breakfast appear to be the most precious in my twentyfour hours. The kid'll be up and playing with Dad. Archana is busy in the kitchen and I'm alone in the room, getting ready to leave, racing against the clock. These few moments I snatch from the routine are entirely mine. There's a clarity as well as anxiety. All the resolutions, dreams and goals come up to the forefront. I take up a few issues and think deep on them. Decide on a few things. Scribble a bit. If time permits, grab a book and read. Contemplate on an idea. Make a few notes. And then rush out.

What makes that small patch of time so productive, is beyond me. Sometimes I get a couple of hours at night to do anything, and it's just wasted in unproductive browsing or doodling. Saturdays bring with them more free time and only after I've spent them do I realize that they're gone and nothing much has been done. When time is scarce it's intense, focused and productive. In abundance, it dilutes and dissipates.

'It's the same with everything'.

'No, only with your time. Not with everything.'

Office. Servers go down and the network collapses. We sit idle for sometime. Most of the staff are on leave today, as if they're intutively aware of the impending network crash. The technicians are trying to fix the problem and until then we've practically no work. I open a pdf of Osho's earlier talks and read. Most of osho's ideas are fascinating but they don't stick, they don't go deep, say like those of Echart tolle. I close the document and idle out. Go to a nearby bakery and order a honey cake. Just behind the curtain, a young boy is busy preparing the buns and cakes. His clothes are shabby, hands are dirty and he's the happiest man, joking with his fellow workers. The cake's tasty.

Crowds. Everywhere. I'm one among them, going forward in this unending procession. Drops of an ocean, scattered and frittered away. Going home after a busy day, going back to rest, recuperate and come back fresh, only to get tired and return home. Or, in case of BPO staff, going to work for the whole night after sleeping through the day. Come together, gather at a traffic signal and again disperse. Individual lives. Personal dreams. All are different, in the details of their lives. Yet similar, in their fears, hopes, cunningness and nobility. A city bursting with 60 lakh souls. A nation of a billion. Six billion inhalations and exhalations, simultaneously happening around the earth. I'm one of them. One inhalation and exhalation is mine too. Insignificant. Yet precious.

My absence would make no significant impact on this grand drama, just as nobody's absence would. Yet, if I'm not here, the drama makes no sense, it has no bloody value. Because if I, the beholder isn't here, who gives it a damn anyway! Music is meaningless if I'm deaf. The world exists only in subjectivity. And that gives me my significance, my importance.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Unending Impressions...

A dark mood. I push it back but it persists. In its grip I feel like dropping everything. Just give up. Stop all the struggles, all efforts....drop dead.

What's the point of it all? Why break your head when.....

A moment later I shake it off.


I realize a bit late, maybe after 10 seconds, that I've uttered nonsense and Mom/Dad are hurt. I don't apologise. A quick resolution to watch my words next time. But again....

Friends stay on the periphery. So do relatives. I hardly think of anyone and it's just me and my little world--archana, tejas, my books, bread-butter job, movies, writing a bit here--a bit there, thinking and contemplating, meditations, planning for the future, a bit of worrying, lots of dreams....Maybe I need to step out of this self-centered existence and move around a bit, meet people, go to new places, pick up new pursuits, grow and expand. Streatch the horizons.

Or maybe not. This is fine. Bloody fine.

Misunderstandings happen at the drop of a hat. Tempers flare up. I say something and Mom takes it to an extreme. I overreact. After a while the whole drama looks silly. Sullen faces for a couple of days and then an unspoken reconciliation. Avoiding it is difficult. Never step on another's feet. Don't try to prove a point. Exit an arguement gracefully and move on, damnit.

An idea. Make a list of the best movies ever created ( 25 will do, to begin with). Watch them. Share with others. And another list of the best books ever written(fiction, travelogues, biographies, anything). Collect them. Devour. Make some time everyday (10 minutes?). Keep aside all worries, all mumbo-jumbo. Pick up your passion, something you're very much committed to. Allow your mind to dwell on it. Pay absolute attention, let your awareness be totally sucked into it. Observe what comes out. What does it take to realize your passion, to pursue it, to bring it to fruition? If you're going to do anything worthwhile with your time, it is to breathe life into this dream and make it a reality. What does it take to make this happen?

I don't like it if anyone scoffs at my son or reprimands him for his antics. It gets on my nerves when others lose patience over him. Have bared my fangs on occasions. Maybe overprotective but heh, it's natural, ain't it? If not me then who? And if he isn't naughty now, then when will he be so?


...drags on at a snail's pace. I try my best to drum up enthusiasm, to get more involved but no, it doesn't happen. Within an hour or so after arriving to work, the interest dissipates. The rest of the day is spent doing the chores, a bit of browsing, some chitchat......It makes me wonder if I'm doing justice to the paycheck I receive every month. 'We appreciate your work, especially the huge number of defects you've reported in the previous product you worked on....' says my manager in the appraisal meet but it doesn't ring a note within. Projects start and end, a new project begins. We go through the motions, purge the product of most defects, get into firefighting at the end and then a period of relaxation before a new one starts. Routine.

Those who've left this company for greener pastures mail back. 'Work there was better, we got a lot to learn. In this place, there's not much to do,it's boring' they say. What motivates you? Money? How much? At least twice of what you receive here? Will that be sufficient? More than the paycheck, it's the sense of involvement, of control, of learning, of accomplishment that truly motivates one to get up everyday and come to work. You love your job if, through it, you feel you've contributed to the greater good in a significant way, to the best of your capabilities. Does my job have these qualities? Or have I found these things in my current vocation? Will merely shifting to another company give these qualities to my work? Where do I go from here? Thinking!

No...looking at the hoardes of unemployed grad students at the office gates doesn't do much to my enthusiasm. Even if I remind myself that I was like them a mere three years ago and I'm much better off now.


A childless couple adopt a baby girl and bring her up with much affection. When she's around 8 years old, there's a visitor. A middle aged man, he says his wife gave birth to a girl before marriage and later abandoned it. Unable to forgive herself, unable to come to terms with the loss, she's gone mad and is hospitalised. And the little girl is none other than the adopted daughter of the couple. The visitor requests the parents to bring the daughter to the hospital just once, so that the real mother might somehow recognise the kid and maybe regain her sanity.

'...Mammati kutty' was a tender movie about the dillemmas faced by a couple, who're torn between their love for their daughter and the compassion for a distraught woman who's the real mother of their tiny tot. I watched it on National television, nearly 20 years ago, at an age when I could neither understand nor empathise with the feelings of a Parent. Yet it's fresh in memory, particularly the climax when the couple walk away, leaving behind a wailing kid when the mother recognises her daughter and shows signs of regaining her balance.

Kolya is different yet similar--the story of an elderly flirt in Post Russian Czech, who comes in touch with the hidden father within, by relating to his five year old step-son, Kolya, out of a fake marriage. Tender, humourous, touching. Why don't I watch such movies more often?


'It's not what you have,' says UmaThurman in Kill bill. 'It's what you think you have.'


Late evening

Reach home. He begins to jump once he sights you. Sip tea. He too wants a taste. Bring him out and take a short walk. Show him the stars, the moon, the sleeping dogs, the silent trees.Talk to him and he responds as if in a conversation. The elderly neighbour who sits in his portico all day
waves. Tejas ignores him. Rubs his eyes. Yawns once and laughs.


I struggle not to sleep, to keep my thoughts awake, to contemplate. Yet the drowsiness overpowers me. Days rush past in a blurring speed, leaving behind just a memory of the whizzing sound. Writing down my goals makes me uneasy. These goals remain from how long....3years, 5 or 7? They remain, so do I. Sometimes I throw out this entire goal setting mechanism and begin to live, day to day, carefree. Then a restlessness and I pick up a pen and paper, try to make sense out of scribbling some words. Set goals. Plan. Nausea. Meaningless. What next?

You need a destinatin. And a path. And time to pursue them. Where's the time? In between office, household chores, sleep, dreams, laziness, tidbits you need to carve out a chunk of time. Ponder. Contemplate. Pursue. Step out of the Uneasyness.

I want to go deep into this restlessness, into this sense of directionlessness. Need to reflect. And then there's a tiredness, as if of a lifetime. My body yeilds. Before long, I'm up, to run a race I don't know why I'm running.

A new day, a new perspective

Suddenly there's a Unity. Nothing appears separate. The work life, family life, intensly personal moments of contemplation/reading, Meditation/spiritual life, the outside world---they aren’t separate entities wherein I inhabit, one at a time. One is not better and the other isn’t passable. Suddenly they all blend and merge with one another. I’m one person who’s having these various experiences. One becomes pleasurable and the other boring, if you look at them as separate and expect something out of them. Unite them all, stop expecting anything out of a situation and go in with an open mind.

In this giant whirlpool, nothing remains as it is. Everything is changing, evolving, dying and taking birth. I'd love to stay where I am, with the same people, same job, same situations, same routine but no....that's not the way life goes. Logs and twigs drifting down the river of life--we come close or go our own ways, as the current changes and as we hit new rocks. You've travelled down this path many times, and maybe will do the same many more times. Or you'll veer off into new directions, into unknown swirls. Cry if you will about your lost tribe. Or enjoy the flow. The tribe is lost anyway. You're already dead.

Embrace the change before it grabs you.

Go out and jump into the abyss.