Friday, November 28, 2008

Raining blood

It's raining incessantly. The gloomy weather and biting cold is matched only by the horrible reality Mumbai is facing right now, played out in our living rooms through the television sets. The greatest instinct a human being has is that of survival. As you want to survive under any circumstance, you also shrink back from snuffing the life out of another being. So it makes one wonder what drives ordinary human beings to defy this instinct and run around, firing indiscriminately and killing unknown people? Who are these animals and what on earth has our life come to in today's world? Hell!

Amit verma who was near the site of the terror attack blogs about the events as he witnessed it. The worrying fact is that, after nearly 2 days since these attacks began, nearly a dozen heavily armed madmen are still roaming free in the city. How could've they carried out this operation
without the support of some locals? The media, though doing a commendable job of reporting the situation braving great odds, still continues to warm itself in the fire that burns mumbai ( 'those pictures you see are exclusive to 'times now', 'the terrorists spoke over the phone exclusively to 'Indiatv'...scum ). Politicians continue their same old job of blame game and posturing, with an eye on the upcoming elections. Most of us who are far removed from the reality but participate vicariously through the television and newspapers, return our normal lives and wait for the next big story. The noises that are being made now in the media about starting a movement against terror will soon abate as another issue explodes and our attention diverts. Violence and death are so prevalent that they don't move us anymore.

Meanwhile the madness continues unabated. Is there a solution for this bloodthirstyness? Who will rein in these horrible instincts in these people-- this hatred, perversion and apathy?


The disadvantage of waking up late is that I miss the chance to meditate early in the morning. And as if to compensate for my laziness and also to bait me to sleep longer, there are dreams and dreams. Most are nothing but fantasies or horror stories but some are truly fascinating. In one, I am shot dead and then I move around as a spirit. Many dreams are plain embarassing, like I'm shitting in public and people who know me are moving around, casting horrified looks at me. And then there are a few that makes one start jumping, after realising that these are not just dreams.

Then there's this dream in which I meet Barack Obama, two days after he won the elections. I ask him, 'how do you manage to maintain your cool under extreme pressure?' He replies something like, 'I'm not in a hurry to go somewhere or do something else. Wherever I am, I remain there totally.' He sounds like Eckhart tolle, maybe he picked up these lines from 'The New Earth' which I was reading last night before drifting into sleep.

These words arrive when I'm in the shower, hurrying up, and without much effort I slow down. I take time to observe the drops of water as they trickle down onto the floor and lose their individuality. I feel the warmth this hot water gives my body-- I feel it totally. There's a new vigour that's building up from within and all the tiredness seems to escape with the vapours. Every drop transfers its freshness and aliveness to my body, my mind, my soul. I stop thinking beyond the door of the bathroom and stand in the shower for another 5 minutes.

Apart from any message or inspiration a dream may provide, it also makes you ponder over what you percieve as reality. What's the reality of someone who's blind and how does it alter once he regains his eyesight? How are the boundaries of reality pushed further once a deaf man opens up to sounds and music? You learn something new( a new skill, computers, another language..) and notice how your perceptions get enhanced. Visit places, talk to a stranger, learn to look from someones viewpoint and the same happens. So reality is never static but in a state of fluid dynamism. You can take your reality to any level. Meditate, still your system and allow the awareness to expand. Even at the thought/emotional level, the more expanded and broad you are, the greater are the chances of richness and happiness in your life and in the lives of those around you(The contrary is also true). Then how would it be if you can take your awareness beyond the physical level and pop into the unknown dimensions? Are there worlds beyond what we see, hear, feel? What other realities can we perceive once we break free of all our limitations?

And when you know that you're moving towards the epicenter of this turbulence, that a great explosion of awareness awaits can't help but wonder--is it possible for the sleeping masses to actually wake up to the bigger truths? Speak about it now and you get sneers and astonished looks, as if you've just lost it. Will they still sneer then when they encounter the truth directly?

Back home

Sometimes Tejas flies into a rage over some issue. Very soon his eyes become small bowls filled to the brim and his face contorts. He raises his hands, makes a gesture of hitting, yells in a weak voice and we know that he's inches away from breaking down and wailing. He stands there, helpless, unable to articulate his anger against an adult world which doesn't understand his viewpoint and just wants to beat his rebellion into submission. Anyone would want to cuddle him, wipe away his tears, console him but that would only fuel his rage. So we stay silent, allow him to express himself, allow him to shout, to wail, to throw things in rage, let his feelings out....

Soon there are disagreeing voices around. Others in the family enter the scene and try to sort things out the way they're usually done. They try to admonish him. Or try to cajole him which pushes him further. And with the admonish, his helpless anger gives way to sorrow and he breaks down. We pick him up, soothe him and divert his attention. The others who'd entered the scene now go back to their worlds.

I remember moments in my childhood wherein I'd feel such anger that I wanted to rip the world apart. And then I'd feel terribly helpless, impotent, subdued. Now I see the same pattern repeating with my son. I hate to see him face the frustration of going through the same loop. I hate to see him encounter the same people whom I'd wanted to beat into a pulp, decades ago.

His helplessness is mine too. How can I explain to others around here that a two year old kid has a very subtle self-respect and it's not okay to trample on it? That it's not okay to put him down in any way, make him feel small, humiliated? How I wish I could always give him all the space he needs. And how I wish the others who matter also think the way I do.

Slow blog

'Thoughts are real'--I remind myself over and over. And then lose my way amidst another heap of rubbish that builds up on my mental landscape. I enjoy the orgy knowing well that this is suicidal.

Then I resolve to reject this flurry of negativity in its roots, just reject the first thought, dammit. I console myself with thoughts like, 'only if my meditations were strong enough' but that is a lie. 'You're full of shit,' is the truth.

My pen(or is it my keyboard!) goes into deep freeze and it takes quite a while for any writing to come forth! And on other rare occasions, the words pour out in a torrent, as if moved by an unbearable urge. Although many argue that this so called 'writing block' is another excuse for plain laziness, that you can write if you really have something to write, I think it's real for sure. You have your ideas. You know how to put it forth and you really would want to do it. But begin writing and pop! the muse dies. Words just evaporate and you look at the pen in your hand not knowing why it's there. That's the time to ponder a bit-- about your motivation to write, what you want to achieve by pouring your ideas out, what's the purpose of it all.

Cassandra writes that she considers blogging as a way to articulate her thoughts to herself. This looks good. And when you're articulating these thoughts with an intention of sharing with others, the clarity increases. Vague ideas begin to take shape into something tangible, something you can make sense of. Maybe all writing is nothing more than an attempt to bring order to an inner chaos, whether we know it or not.

So my already slow rate of blogging becomes much slower, thanks to slow blogging. Instead of regularly dashing off half seasoned posts about nothingness, I'd like to allow some ideas to ferment, get enriched with similar streams of thought and evolve into something of value, at least for me.

A sudden flash. I'm here to experience this pure love, pouring forth from the heart of this beautiful soul! That's the reason I was brought back from the brink, back from the edge of annihilation. To feel and experience this love. To know that one can love and be happy, without reason, without judgement, without any expectation. To know that one can be aware of such purity amidst a never ending dance with hatred and self-obsession. And one can manifest this love with anyone, under any circumstance, no matter what.

You are capable of feeling this emotion and also expressing it very silently, very subtly. Yes you can.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Last Impressions...

....are everlasting, many times. You think of someone and the first thing that comes to mind is how he'd appeared for the last time you'd seen him. He could've been a totally amazing person but if he'd screwed up in the final instance, that's what you're most likely to remember about him. Or if he'd been kind and loving all his life but finally turned bitter, you remember him as someone who's rude/depressed. This could be a top of the head reaction, and one may have to dig deep to get to the real character of that person, but how often do we dig deep is the question.

I remember my granny sitting alone in her bed, looking nowhere while we kids played around in the courtyard. She was more than 75, brittle, physically unwell and psychologically bruised. Whenever I think of her, it's this lonely, suffering image that comes up from memory. That she was a loving granny and sometimes strict too is a bit hard to conjure up, but that was a fact. She would pamper and spoil us for the two months of summer vacation every year, when we visited our native. She'd admonish us for the devils we were and also shower us with love. A mother of 6 and a grandmother to more than a dozen and a half, she must've witnessed a largely peaceful life in a sleepy hamlet for most of her years. All these would gradually pave way to a lonely existence after my grandpa's death and after the return of her rebellious son. In her last years she went through severe psychological abuse at the hands of her son, who'd unfailingly get drunk every evening and create a scene for the most trivial reason. Ignored by grandchildren who were growing up in their own individual worlds, taunted by unsympathetic daughters-in-law, and largely unwanted by anyone, it appeared as though she was wishing for death many times instead of living through the hell that her home had become. So when we were playing around and once in a while when I looked at her, I could in a way sense her desperation and cluelessness. I'd think that it would be better to die when you were needed than live upto such a ripe age and become a burden on others. It's this image of her that has stayed in me eversince.

Similarly When I think of O, I see a selfish schemer although that's the image that came to the forefront in the last 1 hour of our interaction. Throughout our 4 years of friendship he came across as a multi-talented, dynamic, warm person but how's it that I don't associate these qualities with him? How do I retain only the negatives about him? The same happened with a couple of friends, who were dignified, gentle, witty but now I've to try hard to link these qualities to them because of their not so glorious final acts. How is it that we carry back only the surface attibutes of a person that are most glaring instead of his subtle characteristics? Are we biologically hardwired to process and store information in this way--keeping stock of only the recent, more useful(?) information and relegating the rest to the dustbin of memory?

And what image do others retain about me is also worth pondering. An unforgettable character from my childhood is Satyajit, a dear friend with unusually large ears, who'd happily call our teacher as 'aunty' when the rest of the class sheepishly referred to her as Miss. Although we were the best of friends, he must be recalling memories of a nasty fellow whenever he thinks of me. Long long back, on the final day when we parted ways, I was at my worst, harassing him for no reason and thoroughly enjoying his discomfort. He was sad but uncomplaining. I came to my senses within minutes after he left and fervently wished that I'd make amends if only I could meet him again. A swathing sense of guilt and sadness stayed in me for a long time after that final farewell but I guess, if I were him, I'd always carry that last impression of a nagging bully instead of a dear friend whenever I'd think of myself.

Maybe it's unfair to judge people, for better or for worse, but definetly not right to push aside all their characterisitics and weigh them only by their most recent behaviour. And given the lengths to which we go, consciously or not, to gain approval, to belong to a group/community, to look good in others' eyes, it's amazing to think how randomly we judge others or get judged by them. It takes a lot of detachment to be impervious of others' opinion of us. Maybe the evolved souls strike the right balance between developing strong interpersonal relationships and giving no shit to what others might think of one. But for the rest of us, who're on the highway of evolution it's a bitter-sweet struggle between appeasement and indifference.