Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell notes...

We jump up at every opportunity to teach Tejas a new word; it's mighty fun to listen him gurgle out the word in his baby language. At night before he falls asleep, I take him to the puja corner, address each deity over there and ask them to bless him. So it'll be, 'Goddess saraswathi, give tejas knowledge and wisdom, Swami Vivekananda, give him strength, Hanuman, give him devotion...etc' and Tejas sports a broad grin all along. 'Do namaste', and he folds his palms, closes his eyes, pretends to mutter something and lifts one eye towards me to see if I'm watching. 'Say Jesus Christ', and he mumbles, 'Jeej chaish'.

Mom is aghast. 'Why Jesus Christ?' She doesn't seem to appreciate her hindu grandson utter a christian god's name. I suppress my urge to give an explanation, to correct her. No arguements. No convincing anymore.

A project ends and I apply for a 10 day leave, to accompany archana and tejas to Jammu. On the last working day, when I shut down the system, I feel as if a burden has been lifted off me. There's a sudden sense of relief, something I used to strongly feel and enjoy on the last day of school before the summer vacations began. We used to come home and just throw the books everywhere and flop down on the bed. That gesture remains as a reminder of how we hated school from our guts and how relieved we would feel to escape its clutches. And strangely, the workplace seems to have morphed into an advanced school, something I've come to hate and resist strongly although unable to shake off and bound away. You can never be at ease amidst the helplessness and boredom that are typical in a classroom setting, the unqualified authority of the elders and the inescapable chore of studies-homework-exams. And the repetitive drill at work reminds me of the grind of those years. Inspite of the economic freedom and superficial respect this job has given me, I look for and savour every opportunity where I can be far off from anything called Work.

No, I don't like hating this everyday chore, spending the best part of the day in these activities that help me 'make a living'. I would love to involve myself in work that nourishes my spirit, makes me lose sense of time when I'm at it, gives me a keen sense of achievement and satisfaction irrespective of the endresult and is tremendous fun to do however taxing the details might be. And of course, has at least an ounce of positive benefit to anyone but me, beyond the economic calculations.

Either I find such work or lift my current work to that level.

But.... How?


An overwhelming need... to be alone. And I realise how difficult it is, how precious those moments of solitude are.

If I'm not in the office, I'll be at home, with my kid, with archana, in front of the TV, with a book in hand. Switch off the tv, keep aside that book and my son swings on my neck, demanding to be taken out for a walk. I rationalize that I'll find my solitude late in the night when everyone's asleep or early in the morning. But my body refuses me this previlege.

Maybe there's a quota of aloneness allotted to every individual for a lifetime, and I've bloody exhausted mine in those long years between graduation and job, where hours and days just passed away in rich solitude.

Or maybe it isn't the case. I'll soon snatch huge chunks of time from the daily grind and sit blissfully alone, staring into a vaccum, pondering, scribbling,....just being.


Where does this fear arise from? Why do I get anxious? I try hard to pin it down but in vain. A very relaxed and jovial meeting with friends is underway when suddenly he says,' Okay, what were your good and not so good experiences of 2008?' Each one begins to narrate. Then he tells another person to share his experience. And another.

Suddenly I'm in the grip of an unreasonable panic. I don't want to speak! This is my family, these people are my own and I'd love to interact with them, any given day, on the subjects we all love to discuss. Yet, in a group setting, my throat runs dry and I have a mild shiver. I'm praying that nobody points out to me and says, 'What about you.....?'

This fear of embarassment has tormented me over the past many years. I remember giving no shit and rattling my guts out, not so long ago. When and where did my nerves run cold, I know not. I've shied away innumerable times from confronting this fear, from voicing my opinion in a group. Many of my decisions have been influenced by this fear. Many twists of life have been shaped because of this anxiety. This remains a dark shadow, something I'm unable to and unwilling to shrug off.

Maybe it hasn't grown huge enough where I have no choice but to root it out. And it isn't mild enough to allow me to cope with it. It remains in that delicate tense equilibirium where you can neither spit it nor gulp it. A perfect thorn up your nail.


'How fast the year ended,' I tell her, as if it's a routine to utter this by every december end. But it's true. I remember finishing a translation and sending out a mail late in the night, just last december and it appears as if it was done yesterday. And a whole year has passed after that... as if an entire river flowed under the bridge by the time you finished that sweet little conversation.

This year will be remembered most for the worldwide economic recession among many other things. Although pundits may point out that the recession had already started out years ago, this was the year it hit many in the face. Our jobs are still secure uptill now, but the future is uncertain, the present a bit shaky. Personally I realised that this cubicle will not be my permanent money spinning corner forever, that there are skills to be learnt, risks to be taken and ventures to be answered very soon--before the rug is pulled from under the feet. And it isn't scary afterall, it can also be a thrilling adventure, if you choose it.

When I look back at the year, I realize that many dreams still remain dreams, many resolutions are still in cold storage. And I remember Dave pollard's advice,--that unless something becomes a 'must', it ain't gonna materialize. That drive, that hunger, that urgency is required to make something happen---whether it's experiencing Light/God, moving on to a new job, penning that short story or just waking up early for a round of exercises.

Many dark emotions came to the forefront where I could see and recognize them for what they were. I realized that I'm not the saint I thought I was. And also I found out that being a no-saint wasn't such a bad thing afterall, as long as you know where you stand. There was a broadening of horizons, an increase in awareness however slight. I watched my son grow up from a sweet little baby to a sweet little monster. Joy of fatherhood, agreements-disagreements in family, boredom-disappointment at work, small personal victories, loss of discipline, a feeling of alienation-spiritually, new knowledge about existence, lost friends, gained insight....2008 will be a special year which I'll look back at from the future...

My biggest inspiration of the year was Obama's victory. When the light channels movement was started sometime back, we were told that this collective effort would bring forth a world leader. Yes it has. We rightly think that only thugs and scoundrels are fit for politics, that nothing worthwhile will transpire out of that bunch of humanity. The way Indian leaders behaved after the Mumbai carnage is ample proof for this. Perhaps Obama is one of the few leaders to kindle the hope that maybe this isn't always the case, that sane, sensible people can aspire to lead from the front, that even in hopeless times you can make things happen at every level by beginning with the attitude, 'Yes, we can.' After Gandhi, if there's a leader whom people all over the world looked up to with hope, it is Obama.

How different or similar will our lives be by this time next year? How would the world have changed by another 12 months? Will there be drastic changes--either desirable or miserable? After Nov 2009, when the effects of the proximity to the Photon belt start taking effect, how seriously will our lives be touched? It remains to be seen.

As I sit typing out these words, wishing to be amongst friends in Taponagara who're channelling light to our world, I wish everyone a very happy new year. And pray that we all find light and align with the light in the days ahead......


  1. Blessings, my friend!

    The need for solitude is a spiritual necessity that most of us fail at in this technological world. My soul has screamed out many times for quiet and simple tranquility.

    The “fear of embarrassment” you speak of once haunted me to the point that folks would comment on my lack of comments. Then, I suddenly realized that it was a wall of protection I needed to protect myself not only from ridicule, but also from infringement upon who I (think) I am. What will that matter in a thousand (or even ten) years? I asked my self. Since them I have been very open—perhaps too much so.

    Yes, 2008 will be remembered for the worldwide economic recession—may I risk using the forbidden word “depression”? There will also be chapters on terrorists and famine and natural disasters. Perhaps most importantly, 2008 will be remembered for the election of a person of color to the Office of the President of the United States.

    But that’s what will be written in the history books. I think that what is written in our own memories—the things you speak of such as the joy of fatherhood is what shall nurture our souls.

    New Year’s blessing to you and to yours; may we all find the Light and align with the Light in the days ahead!

  2. So good to read your post after a long time, Vishwa. I have felt the pressing need for solitude just as you write, and sometimes it is almost impossible to carve out my space.But as you say, there probably will be a time when I will have enough...
    Obama's victory was a great moment for me too. Inspiring.
    I liked the way you wrote that being a no-saint was not such a bad thing. Quite true. It is only when we accept ourselves -all the parts of our selves, the good and the not-so-good and the positively bad - can we become whole.
    How different will the world be? As you said, it remains to be seen. Till then, here's wishing you and your family a very happy year ahead.

  3. Yes, Vishwa, I too have discovered that its OK to be no-saint. Having high expectations of ourselves isnt realistic or accepting, I found.

    I hope the year ahead is a good one for you and yours.

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face;
    the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
    may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    (traditional gaelic blessing)

  4. '...that’s what will be written in the history books. I think that what is written in our own memories—the things you speak of such as the joy of fatherhood is what shall nurture our souls.'

    Nick...Thank you for your wonderful commments. They're truly priceless. I wish you and your friends a very happy and pleasant 2009.

    Meena...Let's hope the world will be positively different this year, and the setbacks we encounter in our lives turn out to be wonderful lessons for our growth. Happy 2009!

    Val...That's such a fantastic blessing. I'll definetly pass it on to others. Thankyou. And I wish you, your family and friends a fabulous year ahead.