Thursday, April 24, 2008


'When your son grows up, you'll see--he'll put you both in your right places.'

I was about to flare up but on hindsight, I think, it was good I didn't respond. Or maybe I should've said 'Thank you'. What she said was a wonderful compliment!

An obedient child is what most parents would desire. They'd like their sons/daughters to go to a good school/college, get good grades, find a well paying job, get married and settle down, have kids...... Or maybe not, not most of them. Some crazy nuts like me would rather, our children grow up as rebels, as unruly kids who give nothing but trouble to their parents. Not in a strictly negative sense though.

A parent belongs to the old world order. When she gives birth to a child, she's also giving birth to a new possibility, a new world. Every generation is an improvement over the previous one, every son/daughter is one step ahead of his parents in an evolutionary sense. The generation gap is bound to exist between all parents and kids of every age--the parent of every era looks back wistfully and says,'In our days.....', and decades later, when the kid becomes a parent, he too would say the same to his boys. An obedient son who's dutiful, follows his parents words and lives as they want him to could be what most parents wish for, but as a human being, he's just another cog in the wheel, another speck in a mass of ordinary souls who go through the motions of life. For my money, he's a failed ambition.

A rebellious son thinks for himself and decides the course of his life. He respects his parents' wishes but also has the utmost regard for his own dreams. Given a choice between following a path which his parents/society approve or setting out on a individual journey, he'd happily choose the latter. He is not afraid of unpopularity, nor is he worried about the opinions or validations of those around him. Because he knows well that most things of value will be feared and despised by the majority, who'd always want the status quo to continue. For them, a non-confirmist is an immediate thorn in the flesh, though years later, they might applaud and covet the success of the rebel.

I have friends who've followed the beaten path and also a few who've dared to pursue their own calling. A few who initially confirmed to the norms of the society, gathered muster later and took a leap into their destinies. They may not accumulate riches, comforts or a life of ease, but I believe, these are the souls through whom evolution takes a step forward. They may not accomplish great feats; some may do nothing more than reject a long held irrational belief. Some may simply refuse to run the rat race and instead decide to find meaningful work they care for. In the never ending humdrum of life, a few may choose to sit for a while and ponder over the questions, 'Who am I?' 'What is the purpose of my life?' & 'Am I living that purpose?' The seed of rebellion is ingrained in everyone of us; those who choose to recognise it, nurture it and allow it to grow into a mighty tree, irrespective of the murmur of disapproval from the surrounding wasteland---these are the ones who've fulfilled their destinies.

The rest of us are all on this journey---from confirmity to rebellion, from following our heads to listening to our hearts. Whether we choose to stay in the comfort of our self-made prisons or decide to fly out into the open sky, is left to every individual's choice. This choice is not an one-time affair, it needs to be done every moment, at every given opportunity. Each moment decides whether you're a rebel or a conformist.

A rebel discovers abundant joy, even in the absence of the comforts that a conformist craves for. And every conformist is a rebel in the making, whether he knows it or not.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Where was I

Archana is filling up a form at the hospital and she shows an entry-- Religion! 'Skip it', I say but she writes 'Spirituality' and moves to the next one.

A story on the web--A nurse enquires with an elderly gentleman:'Religion?'. He says, 'Deals direct'.

My car breaks down and shows no sign of recovering, even after repeated cajoling. A friend says,'Take mine, no problem.' I thank him but he insists. Wondering if I would've lent him my car in a similar situation, I accept and drive back in his brand new vehicle.

We worry about how our son will cope up in our absence. Archana's in hospital for a couple of days, I've to run around and there's no option but to leave our toddler in my parent's care. Will he eat properly? Can they console him if he starts wailing? Will he sleep soundly? I call back every hour and Mom says, 'He's playing. Don't worry'. When I get back home I enquire. No, he had hardly noticed our absence and was blissfully enjoying the play and the company of other familiar faces around. 'Children are super-flexible and adaptable', says Ran prieur. No, he's super-detached, the way I hallucinate I am.

Reading 'Conversations with God'. 'Sit alone and talk to God. He'll respond and you'll notice', said Guruji once. Looking at the evening sky, I ask,'God, where are you? How can I talk to you and how do I know that it's your voice?' I wait, for a response, for a voice that is distinctly different from the usual chatter that goes on within. Out of nowhere there's an unusual clarity, a strange expansion. Before I can go deep into it, feel it, know it, experience it and come back transformed, I shrink back to the inner chatter, to the daydreams. And never think of attempting it again until now.................Why?

Standing naked in broad daylight. And those you know, you respect and you love are walking around, watching you. How does that feel?......This is the recurring theme of my dreams these days.

Why do I write? For what purpose? Maybe to get clarity within, to put my thoughts down and observe them for what they are. Maybe to understand my inner world. And something strange happens at times, when I pickup a pen and start scribbling, or begin typing. Strange connections form and new ideas start flowing--ideas that I never intended to put down in writing. After I finish writing I wonder at what has been written. They may not be earth shattering profound ideas, just simple truths, unusual perspectives, a fresh angle on an everyday issue. Was it me who penned these down? Or did these ideas find an outlet through me?

The magic of writing never ceases to amaze me. I'm glad I discovered it early and have used it to make sense of my world. And I hope this joy, this wonder never leaves me.

I want to stand alone, on my own conviction and do things by myself. A kind of non-cooperation, a kind of solitary heroism, a subtle arrogance...and soon life comes round and whacks! Situations arise where I need the other, where I have to bend down and ask, seek. Once these get over, I return to my prideful self until life reminds me yet again....Be humble, be a part of the whole, be one with everyone...!

One moment of madness is enough to destroy everything. Just one slip and I'm finished. And there were so many of those moments! What saved me? How did I remain sane?

Maybe I'm mistaken.... that's how life flows--unbothered about how we label the events....Not caring if I become a saint or end up a sinner. Who cares, anyway!