Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vishnu

My favourite actor died today morning. I'd stopped watching his movies long time ago. But I can't remember my childhood that doesn't have his presence. We grew up emulating him and his mannerisms, watching his movies with friends multiple times, whistling and howling at his action stunts, getting into arguements and even fistfights with people who spoke ill of him, getting rebuked by parents for using more of my non-natural hand(he was left-handed)....Mom would joke that my aim in life would be to grow up and become his car driver and I remember taking that as a great compliment.


I had seen him only once, in one of his birthday parties. In a movie, he played the role of a soldier who's captured by the chinese army and is tortured. On the day of the release of the movie, hundreds of his fans shaved their heads, wounded their foreheads(similar to how he appeared in one of the promos) and took a procession, praying for the movies success. I was in high-school and I sported a military cut on that day. My friends were surprised that I hadn't got my head shaven. And it was almost mandatory for all his fans to wear a steel bangle on their right hands, the way he did, as a mark of allegiance to the star. I wore one then and still do.


His death reminds me, with an irrefutable force, that this physical reality that we are so deeply engrossed in isn't the only one that exists. I wish I had the insight and capability to directly know and experience the other realities. Being aware of them gives comfort that nothing ends with a heart-attack, that the souls' journey continues even after that. Yet, his departure leaves behind a void within, a sadness that can't be soothed by any philosophy. May his soul be guided to Light.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Enter the Photon belt...

We sat at 6 pm yesterday, in meditations. Even Tejas who was sleeping until then woke up and sat with us, with his mock gestures of meditations. In silence, we prayed and welcomed the Photon belt.

Our earth entered the aura of the Photon belt yesterday, on Dec 21st 2009 at 6 pm. In another three years, on dec 21st 2012, we will be totally inside it. The next three years, where we will be under the influence of the Photon belt, are going to be interesting.

Whatever the skeptics and believers say about the end of the Mayan Long count calender and the prophesies surrounding it, one thing is evident. There is a shift occuring. A new life is unravelling. The changes that will occur from now on are going to be absolutely unbelievable.

To witness this shift and to participate in this makeover directly is a wonderful privilege for all of us. It's like sitting on God's shoulders and observing evolution unfold. The ride's gonna get bumpy so let's fasten the seat belts.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Small dreams like this



We still have the 'Worldspace' system but the subscription has expired and we haven't bothered renewing it. No time or space to listen to radio. 'We'll renew it once we shift to a new house,' I tell her. My dream: Make a hot cup of tea. Turn off the lights. Sit by the window. Switch on 'Moksha' channel on worldspace on low volume. In between sips, looking out the window at the night sky, listen to the soft music. Dream for hours on end. Just exist with the soul stirring sounds.

This ain't possible currently, in our single room, with Tejas asleep and the kitchen being two floors below, locked up. So my dream has to bide its time until it gets realized. And when that happens, in that moment, wanna type a few words straight from the gut on my blog. Without pre-meditation.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quick notes before I forget...

Just a small observation--or self-observation. Unless something becomes a life/death situation, I generally keep off doing things and stay lazy. Especially if that something is a bit difficult to do and requires an effort. Amazing how long it took for me to make this discovery.

Four years ago, on this day, by this time, we were at a mortuary. Shell shocked. Waiting for Mouli's postmortem to get over. First glimpse at the loss of a close friend.
Remembering him today, especially when I'm reading and pondering into all of this

Tejas wants to pluck a small flower. I ask him to take permission from the plant. 'Plant, plant, can I take this one?' he mumbles and tears a little flower out. And plays with it happily for the next half an hour.

Autumn trees on a patch I pass through every morning, on the way to office. The trees will be felled very soon, owing to the new metro train track that passes nearby. In our burgeoing city, this railway track is required to ease the traffic clogs we face everyday. But at the cost of our lungspace.

Again, why should we think in human terms? Is the tree valuable only because it cleans the air we poisoned? Would it be okay to cut them down if they weren't so useful?

The trees stand there, shedding leaves, waiting for the season to turn to sprout greenery. Do they think, the way we do, in tree terms? Calculating and weighing something based on its usefulness?

Loads of movies getting downloaded every night. Don't know when I'll watch them. Time--a gasp of air to a drowing man. Right now, just collecting and hoarding all good ones.

Hot coffee on an especially cold evening. Biju, who supplies beverages to the entire office is always on the edge, always walking around with his tray, visiting every desk at least three times a day. Overworked. Always polite. Smiling at times.

Friday, December 04, 2009

On success

Reading 'Outliers' by Malcom gladwell.

It kinda answered or even confirmed something that I'd known all along. That it's not how well you do academically that determines your success in life. I have friends who were bigshots in studies(I too was one of them). They are nothing more than moderates, as far as career success goes. And there are a few 'outliers', some who didn't even go to school back then. They have more financial and social success than the high iq guys. It's not just the 'normal intelligence' that counts but the 'practical intelligence'--how you make sense of the world around and how well you can navigate it--that determines financial/social success.

Of course, it's never too late to gain practical intelligence. Gladwell pins it down to your upbringing, to the environment in which you grew up. I don't agree completely. I guess, your environment does play a role in shaping your personality. But you can always outgrow it, create your own inner models, on your own understand how the world works and adapt to it.

Then you wonder why people give so much importace to academic success. I see kids around being pushed too far into studies, the achievement of some high-fliers constantly glorified, etc. You don't need a book like outliers to tell you that what you learn in school/college is just one part, that there are a hundred other factors required for success. It's plain commonsense. How come people don't exercise it? Are they too dumbed down and stuck in the old paradigm which shaped their lives? Why is our vision so narrow?

Of course, there's a far more important question that arises? What the hell is this thingy called success? Your paycheck? What people around think about you? Your bank balance?

Or is it the opportunity to be what you've always wanted to be? To exercise your creativity? To constantly learn new things and enrich your understanding? To love and be loved? To explore new paradigms? To experience the diversity this life offers? To have the freedom to live life the way you want to? To make things happen, to teach, to share?

Or simply to be at peace...contented? Reminded of a passage from 'The power of now' where Eckhart tolle writes of his state of mind after his first experience of transcendence. 'For two years, I was sitting on park benches, without money, without social identification but I was in the most indescribable state of bliss'

Maybe success is a curious mix of all of the above. Or maybe, it's just subjective. I could consider myself successful but you may see me as someone who's totally fucked up. Or rubbish my idea of success. For all I care.

This book is already a best seller. Does that make Malcom gladwell a successful person? In the narrow definetion which he espouses in his book---Yes..... But in the bigger picture?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Walking new roads

It’s difficult to ignore certain ideas.

Last Saturday morning we were visiting our neighbours in the locality, to invite the kids for our son’s birthday party that evening. Just then she remembered that there was a recent death in one of the houses. We were in a fix whether to invite them or not, whether it would be appropriate to interrupt their mourning, so just to be sure, we spoke to one of the neighbours.

‘You’re right, but it’s okay, you can invite the kids for the party. It’s an old lady who passed away, and while I’m sure they must be feeling sad for the loss, she was almost 98, so you know....’

I guess this wouldn't have been the scene if someone younger had died, say someone in their 50s or 40s. What's the threshold age after which death becomes acceptable and non-mourning—even expected? You cross that age and, without anyone mentioning it, there’s an unwritten assumption that it’s okay for you to die. What’s that threshold age? 70? 80?

A long time ago, I was visiting some distant relatives with my Dad. There was an old lady in their house, very old and she was kept in an outhouse. Apparently, she was the one who’d looked after dad when he was a kid, so I was half expecting a sentimental scene since he was meeting her after a long time. Nothing like that happened. Dad spoke to her, standing at a distance, probably feeling embarassed and awkward with his emotions. Of course she was in tears. But what struck me was the utter neglect of that household towards this woman. It looked as if their contempt was for the fact that she wasn’t dead yet, inspite of being old enough to leave. She was absolutely unwanted!

Such things may not happen in every family but why do we carry these assumptions? Young—you’re not supposed to die and if you die, it’s terrible. Old—you can live but if you stay long enough, it begins to get difficult. I have some relatives who have crossed this threshold and are still hanging on. I’m sure their deaths will come as a relief to those around although nobody will dare speak it out.

Why is this so?

One could argue that it's because of health, where the elder person has become fragile and beyond treatment, so people around him would wish that he'd depart peacefully. But imagine a younger person who's in ill-health and beyond medical care. I don't think their departure would be welcomed with the same detachment as that of an older person. Whenever we hear that someone has passed away and if he's around 40-60, the immediate reaction is 'so young?', but if he's more than 75, it's a muted silence. If he's less than 30 or worse, even less, the expression turns to horror. I've wondered why. Why should we feel this variance in emotions --since we know very well that death is a reality for young and old alike?

Is it inbuilt in us, an evolutionary mechanism similar to what's found in Nature where the Old naturally gives place to the New, the fresh? Or is it handed down to us by society? A society where youth and strength is revered and the old are carefully pushed aside--for economic and utilitarian purposes? Are we born with this world-view or does our environment fit us with this paradigm?

So many paradigms go unquestioned in our daily lives. Recently I came across this arguement against the 5 day work-week? Who made this rule that we should work for 5 days and then relax on weekends? Why do we accept it so blindly? Why not work on weekends and then relax for 5 days? Really! How many of us even begin to think in this direction?

Then there's this dominant idea, that what you see, hear, touch and sense is only real. Nothing else. Anything other than these must be your 'imagination' or 'hallucination' and hence should fall outside the boundary of 'reality'. That which is validated by the scientific community(?) is only to be accepted but if something that you believe goes against the grain, then you're a freak! I observe this when we speak about 2012! 'What's the proof?' is the question. 'What do the scientists say about this?' Speak about meditations, about shift in consciousness, about expanding awareness. Speak about entering a New Age of peace and prosperity, about the collapse of old systems and the birth of new ones. Or about experiencing things directly, subjectively with the help of spiritual practices and hence 'knowing' reality--- and you'll invite wonderful smiles.

At the other end, if enough people get to speak about it, such things might soon come to be accepted--not because anyone has directly experienced it, but because so many are speaking about it, hence it must be true, somehow!

If there's a choice between accepting a direct subjective truth or going with a popular belief--something that's validated by those around us, how many of us would choose our inner voice? How many of us would risk unpopularity and trust our gut feeling?

Coming back to the initial idea, in the first place, why is death feared and despised? Is it because we don't know what exists beyond that? Is it because our identity is so totally glued to our physical selves that we shudder to even think about the deterioration and demise of this finite self? Who gave us this paradigm that we are just this physical self, and death is the end--the black hole?

As someone said, 'the spiritual isn't hidden, it's ignored.' Maybe true, but again there's this question. Why do we ignore it? Is it an inbuilt paradigm or something that's handed down to us?

When the existing paradigms are getting screwed up, are we willing to consider new ones? Or do we wait for the majority vote to even begin 'un-ignoring' what was ignored all along?

What does it take to shake us out of our rut? To make us sit up and take notice? To pay attention to our gut?


pic from

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Humour and Pathos


If you haven't let out a hearty laugh, God help you!

* * *

Have you watched 'Raincoat'? Good movie but what really has stayed in me and is still ringing deep is this tremendous song by Shubha Mudgal. Been listening to 'Mathura Nagarpathi....' for the umpteenth time since last morning.

Then you have this line:

Biraha ke aasoon kab ke pahuch daali, Phir kaahe darad jagaav

(She has wiped off those tears of separation long back, so why are you opening those wounds now?')

You can listen here. And a good translation can be found here.

As they say in Enigma, 'Turn off the lights, take a deep breath and listen...'

Just wonderful!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chotu rant

Two things happened. One, a long awaited dream got fulfilled, when I purchased a Dell inspiron Laptop. Which means that I can browse/chat/blog/translate late into the night, sitting in the comfort of my small room instead of having to use the common terminal a floor below. Wife and son too have joined the party. He loves Tom and Jerry on Youtube. She's revelling in the new discoveries she's making in the virtual world. Loads of movie and music downloads in the pipeline. Rashomon, An unfinished Life, what not...

Two. When I opened the shiny new laptop and began explaining its features, there were murmurs of approval and congratulations. But amidst these, the congratulating voice was repeatedly getting choked. Lots of clearing throats, all of a sudden.

I know why this happens because it happened to me when I couldn't swallow the fact that my juniors were getting a better salary. My throat got blocked and I had to repeatedly clear it. The emotion found an outlet through my body.

Not that I blame someone for feeling jealous because I could get a beautiful gadget. It's my hard earned money, my long cherished wish, so if you can't enjoy the comfort/success of someone close to you but would rather hide it behind a false smile and artificial words, be warned that your body is speaking the truth. That's all.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small things

If you wanna do something, just do it, don't speak about it. I told her last night that I'd want to meditate once tejas falls asleep. 'Atleast for an hour', I thought. And it never happened. Tiredness overtook my will to wake up, get out of bed and sit for meditations.

Would I have done it had I not spoken about it? 'If you want to do something and you're desperate enough, you'll do it no matter what. Why put the blame on something external for your lack of will?'

Maybe not speaking about a goal is also a part of that Will do to something. A tiny part. The major part must be one's desperation and passion to pursue a goal, to do something one finds important.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Until this lasts...

It's a small cave, not more than 20 feet long. But you need to crawl on all fours to enter it and go all the way to its end. And the entry and exit points are on the same rock face, so in effect you enter the cave, crawl through a bend and come out exactly next to the hole where you entered. Doesn't take more than a minute.

But that one minute would appear like eternity. Anything could be hiding in that bend, any animal or snake and you'd never know until you came face to face. Outside, you had a heavy breeze blowing from the nearby sea but inside that small tunnel, the air was thick, suffocating. The fear, the uncertainty I'd felt inside that small patch of darkness was undescribable.

That small memory is fresh again, thanks to what's happening around in my life right now. I feel as if I'm back in that cave, that small dark tunnel, on a remote mountain of my native village. Suddenly Life appears scary, uncertain, constricted and absolutely suffocating at times. It's as if I'm down on my knees, crawling ahead, not knowing if I'm moving or just scratching the ground. I know that this tunnel has an opening and there's fresh air outside. I also know that this compression will not last long, maybe a couple more months. And nothing's hiding in that bend that's ready to pounce on me. But boy, is this struggle intense!

'Be like tarzan,' He said.'Move around the jungle amidst all danger but hold on to the rope. Be connected to the source. Amidst all difficulties, be aware that God is taking care of you... you'll never suffer, let anything happen.'

The rope vanishes and before I panic, it's there again. I grab hold of it for dear life and stay afloat. I meditate. Slap myself for the small mistakes. Sit still and stare out as the endless night slowly brightens up. The stars fade. The horizon has a faint glow. The sun is arriving.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Everyone's on a journey...

And nothing stays. Absolutely nothing. Good, bad, ugly, stunning, horrible, pathetic, pleasant, blissful ... name it and it's gone or on its way out of the window. Your wonderful life or your miserable life...it ain't gonna last for eternity.

You are a traveller. Out on this extraordinary journey.

And it's nice to become aware of this, at times. Because most of the time, we get so lost in the details of living that we never realise the bigger picture. We may not even be aware that there might be a bigger picture, something beyond our own small, private nests. That a great network of something... is out there and we're but a part of this complex, beautiful system. Insignificant yet important.

As they say it, 'For the world, you might be just another person, but for someone, you might be the whole world!'

That someone need not be anyone but yourself.

Knowing that you are insignificant makes you humble. Knowing that you are important gives you strength.

It's good to be strong and humble...

...when you're travelling this path.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rains...

Downpour.....
cascading
all day long
The whispers of these water drops
from heavens
as they kiss the earth.
A Soothing melody.
You know these whispers
from deep inside,
in your bones, in your cells.
Like you know them from so long ago,
from your childhood moments,
from inside your mother's womb,
from beyond that
in a previous life,
from countless lifetimes,
from eternity since rains were created...


Rolling clouds high up there
gloom in mid-noon
warmth inside a tight blanket
aroma of a hot chilli bonda
fried crisp
wafting in the air.

This sound, this moisture,
these droplets, the cold,
the energy that makes all these possible,
the way it affects and decides
a million varied life-forms,
the way it blocks
and brushes aside everything else
from your awareness,
shutting out all that's mundane
and profound.
This energy...
doesn't come from memory.
As if you've always known it,
beyond the time-space loop which
your present awareness is bound to.
All of these
are not separate
from you.
You
Are
These.

This moment,
when you sense
that you are one
with this aspect of nature,
you also grasp that you're one
with the rest,
with the whole.
The Whole has extended
into a tiny form,
which is you,
which is contemplating
feeling its oneness
with the Totality,
after an eternity of separatedness.
These whispers from heavens
to the longing earth
also wake you up
from
an
infinite
sleep.

Moist earth,
Clean air
Rising mist
Freshness
arising out
from
somewhere deep
inside.
A void
within.
The void
isn't empty
It was never...



pic by roby bon

Friday, August 21, 2009

With Krishna....

Suddenly I'm staring at my self, which is 30 years younger.

'Want to go to playhome....No', sobs tejas.

We hug him and allay his fears with 'you'll only play and come back home', 'Mamma will also come with you,', 'We too went to school and playhomes long back,''You'll find many friends and teddy bears to play with'.....but he's not convinced. There's fear in his eyes, the fear of stepping into an unknown world full of strangers, without the assuring warmth of mamma and pappa. The fear I grew up with and still haven't shaken off from my core.

Nothing consoles him. His eyes are about to become small pools of water.

Like with any two and a half year old, it's irresistable not to cuddle, kiss and pamper our child. Our hearts melt at his plight. He's the apple of our eyes, the song of our hearts. Our very own little krishna.

But a fearful little krishna he is. Always playful, adorable, mischievous, sharp but also vulnerable and tender.

We want him to be fearless, to take on the world head-long, to plunge into the world and challenge it. Latch on to his purpose and pin it down. Be a hero.

And I cannot expect my son to be like the real krishna, the lord of the universe who played his flute but also slayed fearsome demons. The butter-thief who played pranks on everyone but humbled mighty rakshasas. The divine child who incarnated to set right the imbalance of this imperfect world. That spark of divinity is present, no doubt, in every child's heart, in every adult's soul. Yet I realize that it takes a herculean effort for that divinity to express itself. Forget divinity--to become the master of your own emotions, thoughts and decisions itself takes the cake.

And how easy was it for the Lord to abandon his childhood paradise and step into the terrible new world, to fulfill his destiny. He kept aside his flute and picked up the conch shell, to become a Warrior, a political strategist, a mastermind. He abandoned the brindavan of his childhood and entered the Mathura of his adulthood, never turning back once, never returning to his homeland, never visiting the sweethearts of his boyhood days. The divine lord steps out of his beloved Gokul, leaves behind his innocence and play to enter the battlefield, to enter the big, bad world out there. The battlefield is his new playground. There are armies to conquer, victories to be won, injustice to be answered. A coming of age tale. The story of every soul in this universe.

In contemplating on Lord krishna's life, in observing my son's anxiety about abandoning a known world, I also realize that I'm in a way looking at my own life, my own fears-motives-anxieties. And what's true to my son is true with me too, in another context, in a subtle way.

I've been enjoying the relative comfort of a 'career' without much risk or change for the past few years. Now the time has arrived to make a change, or abandon this known universe to step into something totally new, totally unknown. And, inspite of my desire to take a jump, inspite of my love for the new life, I can sense an apprehension, a subtle anxiety. Much like my son's fear. And unlike Krishna's acceptance of the new.

I think it was Osho who said, 'Courage will come to you. At any instance, choose the unknown.' This goes totally against the old creed:-'A known devil is better than the unknown angel'. I'm stuck with the known devil, enjoying the sense of security and hope it raises in me, revelling in the warmth of this monotony and changelessness. And in every little act, I seem to choose the devil--either consciously or unawares. The same job, same house, friends, barber shop, groceries, movies, music, food, routine....nothing binds us down than a set of activities where the result is known, where the outcome isn't threatening.

Unless this changes, I know, I cannot move an inch. Unless my kid overcomes his hesitation and fear, he cannot learn and grow.

A friend said once: 'We fear because we're attached--to an outcome, to the known world, to our routine. Only by realizing that nothing remains constant, that everything is in a state of flux do we actually overcome this attachment. With detachment comes fearlessness.'

Only with fearlessness can we embrace a new world that's in waiting. Whether this new world is a classroom full of new faces, a new company with an unknown work-challenge, a new locality with strangers to live with, a new career-path, a new attitude---or a totally new world with a different paradigm....we need to abandon our hesitation, our fear of the unknown, our attachment to the old comforts and jump into the void, so to say.

Lord krishna does this. Maybe that's why he's the Lord. Or maybe he could do this because he's a God afterall.

But the spark of krishna is within me, within my son, within everyone of us--buried deep underneath layers and layers of our egos. My effort therefore should not be to strengthen this ego in any way but uncover the hidden divinity. In every thought, in every action, in every intent of mine, I need to strive to bring this out. I need to make conscious choices, take bold decisions, but first make a sincere effort to lose my attachment with the known world. Love it but keep a distance--internally.

We are at a great and turbulent period in our individual and collective history, where the known is going to collapse and a new order is getting ready to take birth. The signs are ominous--with a little attention, anyone can notice the great surge of changes that are happening all over the world. The financial collapse was just a beginning of this series of waves. The coming days will test the mettle of each individual on this planet and one question everyone of us will have to answer individually is this:'Do I want to go with the new or am I going to get crushed along with the old?'

I can never forget this from 'Rang de basanthi': 'I'd met two kinds of people. Those who went to their gallows wailing and protesting; those who went in silence. Then I met the third type--those who went singing and dancing'.

The gallows of the old give birth to an unimaginable new. How do we enter this crossover point--in fear, in mute silence or in ecstacy?

How can I arrive at this point in ecstacy? How....?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tweet Tweet...

Me on Twitter. Here.

And all along I was thinking that it's just mindless chitchat. Nope. Inspiring stuff gleams every now and then. And the links are priceless. Many of my favourite bloggers are already there.

All my one-line musings go there, henceforth. The lengthier ramblings will be here on this blog.

Do you tweet? If so, drop a line and I'll come visiting to your nest

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Nothing's crap

A lone star gives company to the waning moon in the cloudy sky. It's as though the moon's feeling very lonely and a star comes out to say, don't worry, I'm here with you all night.

There has to be this life-affirming force, this immense motivation to live--else you can't lift a finger, can't look beyond yourself, can't take a step further. I've been wondering about this and many more things in the past three days. At one point, I was just asking myself,'Why am I alive, right now? Why should I be? Where's the drive to go ahead with the daily chore? What's the purpose of my life?' You're justified to be in this mood if you're adrift alone on a boat in the high seas for months on end, without the sight of the shore, but to ask this in the thick of life? Maybe life's a sea at times and you get bloody lost.

I'm standing on the terrace, patting tejas to sleep, answering his questions half-heartedly and it's the dead of the night. The road out there is dimly lit, utterly deserted and there's a small arguement going on for the past 10 minutes, between a young man and a lady, who's on a two-wheeler. He appears agitated and isn't allowing her to start her vehicle. Who are these people and what's happening in their lives? Is she married to someone else and having an affair with this guy? Is he stalking her and threatening her to give in to his wishes? He's trying to kiss her, places his hands on her head in a gesture of making promises etc, and she pushes his hands out. What'll happen now? Will he beat her up? Will she shout for help? What'll happen if the beat policemen come up and stop over here? Are these two aware of someone like me standing on a nearby terrace, making assumptions about their lives? Why should I be bothered about who they are and what on earth they've been doing with their life? What if someone does the same with my life?

At night, this road tells a different story, with all the night creatures swarming out and making merry. Drunkards and prostitutes, rowdies and the homeless, police and their victims--it's a different world. A group of drunken teenagers were caught once by a policeman, who grabbed one of them while the others escaped. He thrashed the young boy mercilessly and mounted him on his bike, deaf to all his pleas and cries. That was a year ago. Where is that boy now? What has happened to his life in the past one year?

I tell my team lead that I want a break. '...five days,' I tell him, after an exhausting project. 'Difficult,' he blabbers. 'Our project lead has denied leaves for all team members.' 'Where's he, haven't seen him this week,' I ask and he says, 'He's on a leave, has gone to his native'.
I suppress my urge to spit on his smirking face. I have severe antisocial thoughts that evening--something like blowing up this whole building.

Suddenly Life has acquired a break-neck speed. Look back on the past few months if you don't believe me. Many equations have severely reversed in my life, just this year itself. And sometimes the pace is too much to cope up with, to withstand and bear. I told my Mom that I'll be shifting away from here, to another place where I'll be working henceforth and she was terribly upset. I had another thousand things to tell but didn't. I should've left the nest long back so that my parents wouldn't have got used to my continuous presence. Maybe it should be mandatory--that once you reach adulthood, you build your own nest, far away. Healthy. So that when you decide, you have nobody to be answerable to. It's your life and you take a decision, to drown or to stay afloat.
I'll do the same with my son. Kick him out once he grows up so that he doesn't stay crippled. So that he learns to fly on his own.

Taliban chief Mehsud is dead. That'll give enough fodder for our newsmedia for a couple of days. And now, there's the swine flu scare in India.'One third of the world's population will be affected in 2 years,' says a collegue, quoting WHO. Of course, there'll be new tidings in the next 2 years. We're also discussing and contemplating the flowering of a new consciousness, in the next two years. By 2012!

I wake up early one morning, on an eclipse day, and sit through meditations for an hour. Then sleep. Then wake up with this immense freshness--of being flushed and wiped clean of all blemish. Like a flower.

'Will there be a pay hike?' We've stopped asking this now. A few numbers on my bank account will not decide my happiness. More numbers. Lesser numbers. No numbers. Life depends on these numbers. Sick of such existence, such calculations, such a life. Wanting a new life. Call me an escapist. Like Mccandles of 'Into the wild'.

After a turmoil, I decide vehemently. That I'm much, much beyond any relationships. I'm not my roles. Father, husband, son, disciple, friend, citizen, wage-slave...what else? Nobody decides my happiness, nothing will shape my life henceforth. Then? To simply ask, 'What do I want?' and once the straight answer arrives, to put it into practice. Live simple. Without being dishonest to your self. Will I do it? Can I?

Tejas is fast asleep. The arguement has ended down below on the road and the lady speeds off on her bike. The young man walks in the opposite direction, truimphantly. Slowly, a few more stars come out of the clouds and smile nervously.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The future has arrived....

We always weigh the future based on our present circumstances. So most of the time, the future looks improbable and unreachable. Only in retrospect do you know that you were wrong long back when you looked this far.

In my initial days here, in one of the team meetings my team leader said, 'One day you'll be leading teams, and you'll understand the team dynamics better then....' and whatever he said further failed to get registered. I couldn't imagine myself leading a software testing team, being a
complete novice at that time and totally bewildered in the new equations I was getting exposed to. But now, I'm comfortably leading people in projects, alloting assignments and monitoring progress, defending my juniors in team meetings etc. This was totally unimaginable to my younger self way back then. Reflecting on this, I wonder at all those things that I now consider to be impossible in the future and whether they really are impossible or is it just my lack of faith in myself that makes me think so.

You could take this arguement further to any area in your life and find out that it's true, most of the time. I'd have laughed it off if someone had envisioned my current life-scenario, say 10 years back--about my job, or marriage or fatherhood. And in a similar vein, I'll probably find it amusing if someone takes a look at my future self, five years ahead and tells me that, this is where you'll be and this is how you'll behave then. But life has an amazing knack of throwing up surprises and its only when you take notice that you'll recognise the miraculous changes that happen over a period of time.

This only affirms that nothing is impossible. Anything can happen. One can climb any peak or slip to any depths however strongly one denies either possibility, right now. And sometimes the future arrives too soon, sometimes within a blink of an eye.

We're standing at one such crossroad, right now, where our lives will take a fantastic turn and never be the same ever again. I had always thought that this change would happen slowly, over a few years where we'd transit gracefully, without disturbing anything or anyone. But No. Suddenly an opportunity has opened up. The door which was at the far end of the long road has suddenly appeared right here, right now. We're ready to swing it open and walk in.

And there are many with us, this time. We aren't alone. And we're more excited than apprehensive. There will be new beginnings and a new life after this.

More on this soon.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Tell me...

'Hi, moon' shouts tejas, waving up at the sky, at the golden plate behind the rushing clouds. 'Pappa, why does he run so fast?'

'Because his mom's calling him home. The milk's getting cold...'

Nowadays, we lookup at the sky more often than not, thanks to my son's celestial friends. I'll bring him out on the terrace for a late-night walk, and inspite of the city lights, at times there are a million sparkles up there, on cloudless nights. A few moments of gazing up at the spectacle and you can't stop wondering at the enormity of creation, at the immense endless void out there...and the relative insignificance of our individual chotu worlds. Awe-stuck at times!

We used to sleep on this terrace, long back, on summer nights. My imagination would soar at the sights of the clouds, stars, moon, the endless space. The puranic characters would emerge from some hidden corners and I'd imagine sage narada walking down on those fluffy clouds, singing devotions to his Lord, looking down on this world. Demons and devas would clash with one another, their weapons illuminating the dark night. I wished and prayed fervently for all of that to be true, and not just the result of fertile imagination of some long dead poets and bards. I wanted the gods, heaven, hell, apsaras, multiple worlds, everything to be very real--as real as my homework, bullying teachers and playground friends. I wanted re-incarnation to be a fact, just as Gravity was, thermodynamics was, calculus was. Maybe I was born somewhere in another part of this country, in my previous life and lived a different life. Done great things there, died a warriors death and went to the other worlds. There must be more to this world than this stupid everyday life, isn't it? Is there no mystery, nothing unknown? Why are billions of stars and galaxies hanging up there? Just to give us a good view on cloudless nights? If the gods and other heavens exist, why in all earth can't we see them? If there is a God, where is He?

It doesn't take much for the imagination to be pushed to some unknown corners of our minds. There are a million sundry things to keep one busy and occupied, so those skyward thoughts from summer nights faded slowly and were replaced with exam score cards, cricket match statistics and movie stars. God took an ardous journey from being a friend, to an agony aunt, to a criminal responsible for all of my worries, to just a stupid non-existent concept and finally invisible. Forgotten.

Of course He's made a royal comeback. And this time, not just as a puranic character. Slowly, very slowly, He has penetrated my life, in inumerable ways. Without a bit of a fanfare. As Hope. As mystery. As awe at life. As Silence and Wisdom. And in one beautiful moment, when I asked where He was, as a hint of a tremendous expansion.

And He still has a long way to go. I know the destination, where He becomes me. There, I'll know Him by direct experience, as I know anger, as I know lust, as I know fear. I will taste Him and then the mystery ends. Or maybe not. It could be the beginning of something else.

I'm on this journey. What's yours? Where are you headed?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Couldn't resist this...

I wake up at 4.45, and collapse, hoping to stretch and wait until the alarm rings at 5. And drift and drift until I end up here...

She's there, in that classroom, with all of us. The same hesitation, uneasiness and blushing when she's around, and once everyone leaves, she walks up to me and sits by my side. And slowly, very slowly, we get into a conversation and she says that she always wanted to speak to me, wanted me to speak to her but...

And opens an old notebook in which she'd scribbled something ages ago and it reads 'I love him and will love only him, forever...'

And mumbles, 'I said that I'll wait for you and my parents warned me that one day I would come, but would have setup house elsewhere by that time so there's no point in waiting. But I held on and here you are!' She looks happy and pleased.

'I have something shocking to say,' I tell her, with a pounding heart. My wife and son are in my mind and I try my best to find words, words that don't hurt but will gently make one aware. 'You don't know how to speak,' I was told recently and I'd agreed. Words are just gutted out and not placed in tact. I'm a terrible conversationist.

'Don't,' she stops me with a smile. And suddenly her expression changes, as if she senses what I'm about to blurt out. The smile is still there
but I know that everything has changed inside, that something valuable has collapsed within her.

This is the first time I've seen her in my dreams and I feel this isn't just a dream. Maybe this is not like some of those vivid dreams which are astral experiences. But this confirms something, settles something, reconciles something that was in waiting. Something unfinished seems to have found its logical end. Like keeping down a burden that had been on ones heart from ages.

Maybe not. It could be a suppressed desire rearing its head in dream form. Too many movies watched and a done-to-death plot finding expression with real people!!

Or maybe my hunch is right. It could be a message from across a multitude of individual consciousness. Tying up two loose ends at a different level and letting it be known here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hibernating...

... Like a polar bear which snuggles inside the earth to escape the winter.

Or maybe, more like going into a cocoon hoping to come out transformed.

Or just to see if I can let go...let go of this space, which has been so much a part of my life for the past 4 years.

Sorting things out. Planning new things. Working. Waiting.

Bye for now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On a Tea-walk

You call this a Tea-walk because you take a walk with a cup of tea in hand and, in between conversations, or reflections(if you're walking alone), you sip from the cup. And continue to walk or talk or reflect.

We started this nearly 4 years ago, in my initial days in this company. A colleague, who was also a friend beyond the office cublice would accompany me and we'd stroll atleast twice in a day(sometimes thrice). A 200 meter road stretches beside a park near my office, lined by tall trees with thick foliage on one side and posh houses on the other. To walk this silent stretch on a hot day was a really pleasant experience, amidst all the stress and boredom of the routine work. We'd order two half-cups of tea in a bakery at one end of the road, and begin to amble under the shade, sipping slowly from the cups, talking leisurely. A milk booth stood at the other end of the road, and by the time we reached that spot, the cups would be empty. Then we'd order spiced butter-milk packets and, sipping the throat churning drink, return to the cubicle. And wait for another walk in the late afternoon hours. Just refreshing.

What was really interesting about his 1/2 hour spell was the conversation. Anything under the sun would come up for discussion. Of course there was gossip, bitching, small talk, sometimes silences. And good exchanges about topics close to our hearts--meditations, spirituality, Work at Manasa, escape from the cubicle life, movies, music, books....everything punctuated by hot sips from the cup.

The colourful sights and mild sounds of the surroundings would add to the magic of this ambience. Birds would chirp in the branches high above. Sometimes a mild drizzle would break out and the earth would yeild its thirst quenching odours. Evening rays breaking through the wet leaves. Children would play on the see-saw or run around in the park. Brisk walkers and exercising elders would walk past in the evenings. A few autorickshaws would be parked by the roadside and the drivers would be fast asleep inside-- probably after working at night and having nowhere to go in a new city, sleeping the whole day in their vehicles. Young couples would shed their hesitation and melt in one another's arms on the park benches, unmindful of the elderly lady walking past. 'Then, you know, you always get your best ideas in the shower....' 'Mmm.... Must be something. But I take all major decisions of the day in the loo...'

Of course, the season changes. But the 200 mt stretch stays. So do all those tall trees. Also the boredom, frustration and bewilderment at work. I come back to the same bakery and pick up half a cup. And amble the lonely road, reflecting, also calming my thoughts. The quietitude of this place belongs to another world. Stop worrying. Don't think about life rushing past before you can blink. Don't think about the dying dreams. Listen to the rustle of the young leaves. Listen. Stay Awake.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thirty thoughts...

The deal is a simple one. Sit back and jot down thirty thougths in thirty minutes. Blog it. I saw it here and here and I thought, I'd give a try too. I could make only 26 entries in 30 minutes, but went ahead to complete the list, in another 5 minutes. So here they go.

1.Air everywhere, outside-natural, here-from the fan. The hot air outside and the leaves smile. Not here.

2. It's okay to be blank. Not have answers. Being silent. Empty.

3. What if there was no memory? How would life be different then? Do animals/plants have memory?

4. Can we live without depending on the crutches of technology? How will life change if everything comes apart, as is being predicted? A simple life, like the one I know from my childhood days in my native village. Is it possible for everyone?

5. Friendship is like oxygen--you hardly notice it but know the value only when it's absent.

6. Yeah, it's not the people in your life but how you relate to people, that determines your happiness.

7. A couple of birds chirp in the hot afternoon breeze. Hot, afternoon breeze is supposed to be melancholic for me, but why do I expect the same for those birds?

8. Maybe we're all escapists, hoping for everything to crash down because it's all so overwhelming, and want things to remain simple. Maybe I've that attitude and that makes me think that all are similar.

9. At some point, you feel, you made a big mistake in choosing to walk down the road. No matter which road you choose! Isn't it?

10. Read about the phony culture of Dubai, where lakhs slave away in pathetic conditions to keep up the glitter and glamour! Isn't it the case everywhere? Darkness underneath the glittering peak.

11. When I get angry, where does the energy arise from? From which dark corner of my heart? How does it blind me, make me so venemous, so stupid?

12. What if time stops? What if we started living in the Now, this moment onwards? And threw away all watches, clocks....? Will that solve everything?

13. I dreamt that I was the second husband and was feeling friendly, accomodating and sorry for the first one. Such expansion in the dreamland but not here, in reality. Jealousy, hatred, possesiveness rule here and if you don't get angry, you're a loser. Being full of shit is normal here. Cool.

14. There's such joy and fun in watching my son shout in anger--his anger is so full of grace, innocence and pure power.

15. Details are always overwhelming but you can't wish them away. As long as you're alive, you've to deal with them.

16. I wanted to cut three coconut branches. Dad says, 'I look after the tree like my child , how can you cut those branches?' I reason, argue, go ahead and cut it, all along knowing very well that he's right.

17. Why do I want to change this world into something better, something peaceful, something devoid of violence? Is it right? Who gives me the right to do so? Am I different from the advancing talibani hoardes who want to change the world into their version of heaven? Who gives them the right?

18. Death is so close to me and I don't want to turn around and say hello. It's the closest but I shudder to even think of it.

19. Then this flashed many times. You continue to exist, because your awareness isn't lost after death. Maybe you'll be more expanded until you incarnate again but no, even death cannot kill your awareness.

20. Three days of darkness and light, when our earth stops and reverses its rotation. Will that happen? Are we in the middle of an intense upheaval that's going to change things in unimaginable ways?

21. Relations are myths. I haven't met many of my relatives in ages and hardly think of them. Their non-presence makes no difference to my life. Out of sight--out of mind.

22. A bird had drowned in a small pool and died. Elder sister and I dug a small grave and buried it. I stroked its belly before putting it away. That touch I still remember after so many years.

23. Millions of stars and heavenly bodies up there. Such arrogance in saying that life exists only on this small speck called earth in all of the Universe. Life, as we define it.

24. Parellel universes, parellel lives, expanded consciousness, telepathy-teleporting--what if we evolve in this direction, from the next step onwards?

25. A cricket match on tv. Brings back memories of that cricket match that I watched, long back, at the darkest hour. The batsman is the same. As if he's a friend who was with me then and is with me even now.

26. Thirsty earth. Like all creation, I too am thirsty. For something that ends this thirst forever.

27. Living on this globe, there's a roundedness to life. You end where you begin, you come back to the same place, the same people, the same situation but with more awareness, more understanding. There's no straight path, only a circle.

28. I have similar questions about lust, as I have about Anger. And of course, about love, about laughter, about tears and sadness.

29. What If we could sit back, at a small height, and look at life in one big expanse, from birth to death and maybe beyond? Why are we so close, so involved that it blinds us to larger realities?

30. What you think is actually real. All your thoughts, emotions and drama exist, at a different level. It was amusing when He told me this, long ago, but now I shudder at that possiblity.

Give it a try and see if it loosens something inside you, brings out something unexpected, something alarming and funny. If nothing, it's a good way to break out of a false belief(at times) that you have nothing significant to say.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Blues....

Blogging blues strike again but in good company this time. I'm tired and depressed for no apparent reason--on all fronts. I'd love to say it's because of the hot weather, or maybe because of the general sense of gloom and hardships the world over, and I'm receiving a part of that mass karma. Or maybe, I'm feeling down and out for a silly reason, and am attracting similar vibes and feeling more depressed, attract stonger blues and on and on in a downward spiral. Or maybe I'm plain stupid. Whatever the reason, I feel stuck in each and every field. My meditation practices have stagnated and I feel, I have no energy to pull myself into a state of silence. Job sucks. My boss is an awesome asshole but I remember this advice and feel depressed--his assholeness isn't my problem, I only need to get the hell outta here, find something better, something that doesn't kill my soul. I began a few ventures and they fizzled out pretty soon. One blunder happened but the worse part was my inaction, my non-acknowledgment of it, my lack of seriousness. I go on to say something, blurt out something dumb and soon there are sullen faces around.

I know it's temporary and this too shall pass. And it isn't a good practice to spread gloom in a world which is already fucked up and is in desperate need of something fresh, something cheerful, something inspiring. And there's no point in massaging that self-pity gland in your brains and enjoy a bout of sado-masochistic pleasure.

But if blogging is something about jotting down your day-to-day experiences, observations, insights and stupidity and sharing it with others--not just giving a hunky-dory picture of reality, then this is my reality for today. Let it go into the records.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pure blogging

Of course, the sky is flooded with thick clouds, threatening to open up any moment. This is a strange summer--it started earlier than expected this year, and we've already had two spells of short rains amidst thirsty dry days. Now with a cool breeze, there's the scent of a soothing downpour in the air.

It's difficult to remain hidden online and I'm realizing this slowly. Nearly four years later, my people discover that I have a blog. Younger sister stumbled upon my blog accidentally, read a few posts and announced to my parents, and of course praised. She was moved to tears by this post, probably because she was a part of that memory and now my parents seem interested. Now I have to watch out what I post, and ponder once before scribbling anything. Amazing how I kept aside this possiblity when I would post carefree, not bothering what anyone who knows me would think about what I write here.

Upheavals are occuring at an alarming pace.One moment I'm totally gung-ho, hopeful and optimistic about various things happening in my life. In no time, a wave of dejection and hopelessness clouds my awareness. I just resign to what's happening and carry on the motions. Life appears meaningless until cheer arrives unexpectedly.

New possiblities are opening up at work. I'm now a product leader, responsible for the quality assurance of one entire product, with guys working under me--and it's pure pain. Partly because I'm desperately looking to fly away from the monotony here and wouldn't like to be burdened with anything for now. And this is responsibility without rewards, a sort of thankless job. If things go wrong( as usual, they will), you're accountable, but if everything's smooth, so what? This is both a learning opportunity and a stressful occasion, so I don't know whether to celebrate or sulk.

Watched Rang de basanti, once again. Remembered what I'd written here, long back, when I first watched the movie. And you have the spectacle of the general elections, shameless politicians not even masking their lust for power, urban saviours who think that our country will be saved with everyone casting their precious vote and to top it all, the likes of Varun gandhi and a clueless media following every move of this baffoon.

This isn't depressing anymore. Because this is the last dance for all these scoundrels.

Suddenly I remember that I am a writer. A writer of short stories, as I used to answer that funny question, 'What do you do?', just a few years back. And how could I forget this? So, with this rememberance, there's a flurry of writing activities awakened. Told archana not to look into one particular notebook, because it's personal and contains something related to my creative endeavours ('Huh!' was the reply). Digging into my old diaries and writing manuals. Pursuing writing exercises. Stream of consciousness scribbles. Day dreams of published short stories and novels. Madness. With a method.

My son is in that magical phase where he finds everything, literally everything around him lively and filled with wonder. He looks up at the moon and says a word or two. Says hello to the sunlight. Falls down, gets hurt and stamps the road with anger. Saibaba isn't a long dead saint but a loving friend, who gets to share his secrets and triumphs. He holds up a glass of his favourite fruit juice to Lord Ganesha and other Gods in the photos. The toy car should listen to him when he tells it to move back. And maybe it isn't just ignorance or playfulness; maybe every child connects to the life force throbbing in every particle in creation. Only a child can see that nothing is lifeless. Expandedness is natural in innocence.

Soon he will grow up and lose this capability. We will train him to look at life through small apertures and crush everything else that doesn't fit in with that limited vision. Imagination recedes, magic fades and he will become yet another human being--efficient, wordly, mature but devoid of wonder and mystery. Of course until he wakes up once again to the mystical...

We step into Ugadhi, the Hindu Newyear day. Ugadhi means the beginning of a new Yuga--a new phase in time. You open the doors and windows and let in fresh air, allow sunshine to enter your life. Cleanse your soul of old cobwebs and dirt, awaken to new possibilities, set forth in new directions, embark on new voyages...And know in your guts that the universe is with you, all the time, like a mother.

As I begin a few voyages on this auspicious day, I wish everyone on our beautiful earth a new awakening. Let this new year bring you wonderful gifts, make you stronger against the trials of life and awaken you to your own hidden divinity.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Crossroads...

The final scene of the movie, Cast away is difficult to forget. Tom hanks plays the courier man who's marooned on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes into the pacific ocean. He lives in that piece of land for nearly 4 years, without human contact--the memory of his wife is the only thing that keeps him alive, gives him the will to finally brave the brutal waves and find his way back. By the time he returns to civilization, life has moved on. His wife, thinking him to be dead, has remarried. He resumes his job, delivers a packet to a house which is in the middle of nowhere, and on his way back, hits a crossroad. The long roads stretch on all sides and he stands there, looking here and there, pondering... and that geographical place becomes a stunning metaphor for his life at that moment. Where do you go from here? Where have you come from? Why are you here? What's your destiny?

A moment of tremendous pathos. And also a moment of sudden illumination.

Why does illumination arrive only after loss, sadness, emptiness? Why not in the midst of joy, abundance, peace? Why should our journey always be pathos-enlightenment-bliss and not bliss-enlightenment-bliss?

Why this fixation with the positives? What is it in us that makes us scared of losing, of emptiness, of sorrow? If there is something that exists beyond these positives and not so positives, what is that?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ponder this...

'Bangoon Ophaen', shouts tejas over the phone.

'What's that?' I ask her.

'It means, I'll come to Bangalore on an aeroplane.'

* * *

I have an early morning flight to delhi tomorrow morning and a connecting flight to Jammu. Our new airport is outside the city, almost 50 kms away, which means that the taxi fares are exorbitant and people rely on public transport. Since there are no buses so early in the morning, I have to bargain with the taxi guys, so I call them up.

'750 rs,'says the guy over the phone.

'It's too much,' and the calculations begin. 'Why not go there the previous night, catching the last bus, wait in the airport and catch the early morning flight?'

'Or, why not stay at Anand's place in Taponagara, get up early and ask him to drop you to the airport. It's nearer I guess.'

'The bus service starts at 4 a.m., so why not take that bus, just take a chance, if that's okay.....'

It's hard to shell out 750 bucks on a one hour taxi ride but then I begin to wonder what's the difficulty in that. Why? Why should I start thinking about putting myself into inconvenience in order to save a few hundred rupees? I understand it if money is scarce but when that isn't the case, why do these numbers cause a flutter?

We have a couple of new guys in our team, both less experienced than I, who take up less work, lesser pressure, but take home a slightly bigger pay packet. A pang shot through me when I came to know their take-home salary. And now there's a new guy with 6 years experience whose pay packet has gone through the roof and it's a topic of discussion at times.

'You've stayed in the same place for too long,' observes Nazeer. 'Change companies, job-hop and the salary will be good.'

Cool. Numbers again. I don't deny the practical aspect of it but still, these numbers sort of dictate the course of our lives, without our conscious knowledge. They decide the quality of my work, the people I work with and the environment I work in, 9 hours a day, for years together. And I hardly notice that.

It begins to disturb when the same numbers start interfering into the relationship equations. My maternal uncle who owned a flourishing business in bangalore two decades ago, fell into bad times and had to pack everything and retire to his native village. He descended into poverty, partly by his own fault and is still struggling with an uncertain job and salary. His standing in the community and relatives circle closely followed his economic status. The same people who surrounded him, coveted his attention and paid fearful respects in his good times began ignoring him, ridiculing and even insulting him at times. And without anyone explaining the situation very clearly, it came to be accepted as a natural behaviour--you respect someone who's financially sound and don't give a shit if he's penniless. The numbers in your bank account decide your social status, decide if you're worthy of respect and affection. Absolutely no exaggeration.

Is this how the world works? Is this how society has been designed, how life operates in the modern world, everywhere? Maybe yes. Is it healthy? I have my doubts.

Dave pollard's futuristic blogpost about living a money-free, hassle-free life, full of harmony, abundance and joy makes one wonder if that's how life will gradually turn out in the coming days and years. And Ranprieur is one guy who's living such a life, right now, 'in the gift economy' as he says. His entire blog is, apart from many other things, a meditation on the 'money-economy we currently live in vs the gift economy we need to move into'.

This is a huge subject and these are my initial thoughts.

* * *

A guy who's two rungs up the ladder calls a meeting and says,'Our office time is between 9 and 6.30, with a half hour lunch. Many of us are not following it strictly, so the CEO has sent a memo. Starting today, this duration will be strictly followed. You have to be here before 9 and leave by 6.30...'

'These are signs of things to come,' says Nazeer. 'Just watch, how many terminations will happen on this account.'

Two days later, there's another meeting. 'How many in your team are arriving after 9? If anyone comes late, tell them to take half a day leave...'

The next day almost everyone's in by 9 except the rulemaker, who arrives at 9.30. The look on his face---priceless!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

When you grow up....

...what do you want to become?'

Mom wanted a doctor in the family, so I was expected to say, 'doctor'. Or, as was fashionable in those days, 'engineer,' though I never knew what the hell those terms meant. Then there was this astrologer, a friend of Dad's who'd proclaimed,'professor,'--another fancy term. So the answers would revolve around these three things although I'd whisper under my breath,'I don't want to grow up, you morons.'

These must be really stubborn questions, asked around the world of every child by well-meaning(?) parents, relatives, even strangers. A guy from Poland had come to attend our meditation classes and when I was taking him around, he caught hold of a young boy of 10 and asked him the same darn question. 'Astro-physicist!!' pat came the reply. 'Not bad. Not bad,' amidst gusts of laughter. The polish guy was a seeker, who'd come to India in search of the occult and the first thing he'd asked me was, 'Is your Guru enlightened?' What I'd have loved to ask him, me a doc-engineered-professor, was 'What was your answer to the well-meaning question, in your childhood? And have you become that?' Seeker? Not by a long stretch. What are the answers given by children in different cultures? Writer? Actor? Scientist? Businessman? Politician? Are there any cultures which don't ask these questions and don't expect any answers from their youngsters? Maybe someone should conduct a survey and find out what percentage of these predictions/aspirations have come true?

My niece is a little over 15 and her answer is 'opthalmologist'. 'What's that?' I ask and she says,'eye-specialist'. 'Why? Do you like being an eye specialist?' and she has a confident,'Yes'. Until recently the answer was 'advocate,' because her grandpa is also one.

'What about your son?' and I gnarl. 'Relax,' she soothes. 'Let them have their say'. My son has an ear for music and rythme, 'so he'll become a musician.' He whacks the ball real hard...'cricketer!' He loves to dance, 'so....movie star? Yeah, why not?'

This obsession with the material success-recognition-fame and a subtle grooming we're subjected to from a very young age, is quite amusing. And disturbing also. It's as if you're bound to fall behind and lose out in the race of life if the goal is not set at a very young age. There are off-beat answers too! 'Artist,' says my friend of his three year old. 'Parents have to watch the child and find out at a young age what her interests are. And then provide opportunities ...'

No qualms about that. A quote I still remember 'If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans'. And another one: 'A seeker gets only what he seeks. His choices are limited. An explorer finds much more because he has no fixed agenda.' More seekers of pretty ordinary things, many of us seem to have become. Fearful of exploring. Scared of moving out without any agenda. Without a compass. And deciding the compass beforehand for our kids too.

Scared of living. Enough if we can just make a living.

* * *

I thought I could do a lot only if I had all the time in the world. Wrong. Throw me a large chunck of time and I'll laze. The more restricted my time is, the more productively I seem to use it.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

One precious moment

So we'd gathered, more than a thousand, on a pleasant thursday
evening. There were many forgotten faces in the gathering--friends adrift, longlost acquaintances, known faces who'd vanished into the unknown to reappear suddenly. It was pure excitement, notwithstanding some of us not fully grasping the importance of the divine moment. At 7.30 p.m. we prayed as one voice out of thousands, for the light to descend and spread. In seven minutes of tremendous silence, a thousand hearts channeled light and love, along with innumerable friends who'd gathered in different cities and towns across the world. Before stepping back to the noise and hustle of the outside world, we prayed Light to bring peace, love and wisdom to every human being on this beautiful planet. We prayed Light to shine over all darkness within and without, to lead us from the depths of despair to the glory of a new day. We prayed Light to take us into the New Age awaiting at the horizons, to make us light, to make us divine.

Did you participate in this groundbreaking yet silent moment with your wish, your intent or your practice? You can do it this very moment and anytime this moment onwards. Welcome to the dawn of the Light Age!!!

* * *

Inspiration

"...One warm, sunny afternoon on the Oregon Coast, when everyone was laughing and talking and telling their truest stories, I had a wave of sadness come over me and I knew I needed to go sit on the sand for a little time away from my dear friends. Walking towards that massive sea and endless blue sky, I had never felt more solitary in some ways or more alone in this particular part of my journey. I could feel that familiar rush of despair coming to me when the beauty of the place captured my heart. I sat down right there and let the water speak to me, and that blue sky, and I realized I could never be alone really, as long as I was walking on this earth. That the earth herself was holding me, making sure I had a place to land with every step I take...."

Why does this little passage move you to tears? How do these words resonate within you, touching a wellspring of love and connectedness deep inside, making you feel that this experience is yours too? What's the magic behind these words, these emotions?

Jen lemen's blog is pure delight, fun and heartwarming. She says, she's helplessly in love with the idea that stories can change you and me forever. She's so right.


Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of the bestseller, 'Eat, pray, Love', which I haven't read yet, but there's another book of hers 'The last american man', about Eustace convay who's living a wholesome life close to nature, away from the artificiality and insanity of our modern society. I munched, gobbled and drank this book thirstily in 2 days flat and the delicous taste still lingers in memory.

By pure chance I landed up here where she speaks about creativity, genius and her own writing process. Just refreshing.

Do you watch Ted talks? I urge you to watch it. Amazing talks by amazing people.

* * *

You stop, just like that, for one brief moment and you know that this question is staring down at you. Why? Why are you here and what are you supposed to be doing with your life? What's driving you? What do you want out of this life? What...is...your...purpose?

Emptiness.... I keep aside all answers that come up immediately and wait. Wait for the answer that's lingering somewhere down there, struggling to come up, burdened under all that conditioning and ready-made theories about life.

I wait for that answer which when takes birth into your awareness, illuminates and sparkles with tremendous brilliance. And has this ring of 'aha! yes. This is it.'...I wait.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Light begins.......




Naveen is my neighbour and a longtime friend. He's the unlikeliest person to be interested in spirituality but he comes up and asks, 'What's the name of your spiritual organization? Read on the internet that you people are organizing a 7 minute meditation, this week. I'd like to attend..'

I tell him that it's not meditation, that it's light channelling which anyone can practice from anywhere. You meditate for your own growth. And you channel light for yourself and also for others.

* * *

On thursday, 26th February 2009, my spiritual organization, Manasa Foundation has arranged a Mega event to launch the Light Channels World Movement. At 7.30 p.m. IST, thousands will gather at Koramangala Indoor stadium in Bangalore and channel light for 7 minutes. And many more from around the world will join us at that time, channelling light from their places. This movement which began last year, will be publicised as widely as possible on that day.

I invite everyone of you for this event. If you're in Bangalore and can be present at the venue, nothing beats that. And you can join us from your own homes by practising the light channeling technique at 7.30 p.m. IST,(2 p.m. GMT) on 26th February.

I've written earlier about Lightchannelling. This light is not the physical light but exists at a subtler realm--we imagine an ocean of light above us, imagine that it descends and fills up our body and then spreads out into the world. This light carries Peace and Love. Practise this for seven minutes every morning and at night. This simple technique is one of the most powerful in terms of healing, self-growth and worldpeace.

I could quote the works/research of great luminaries in the field of paranormal to justify that there are things beyond our ordinary everyday perception. We're somehow cynical when it comes to spirituality--we ask 'how' and 'why' but stop there and think that it's scientific and rational to reject the paranormal. Kinda cool to say we don't believe. And we never venture, never explore, just speculate. We wait for the experts to tell us that these things are real, as real as the concrete everyday world we know. The spiritual is accessible to everyone of us. One needs to take up a practice and experience directly; like stepping out into the drizzle to connect to Nature, not just reading poems about rainfall. Maybe it's hightime we woke up to the spiritual realities that govern our lives.

* * *

Will this movement and this event catch the notice of the Media? Is it possible for this message to reach far and wide to the masses out there? Do those outside the spiritual circles understand the significance of such a movement and actually believe in it to participate?

Great movements have humble beginnings. Like mighty rivers, they gather strength slowly as more tributaries join forces. While the media and others are busy with all the sensational events and worrying news of the world, there are Masters and divine souls who work silently, gathering tremendous positive forces, laying foundations on which the future generations thrive. They work indirectly from the mystical realms and directly through the will and hearts of people like you and me.

One such soul, a lightworker from Newzealand, Soluntra king will be the chief guest for this event. My guru, Krishnananda will launch the Light Channels World Movement on that day.

If you think this is good, if you feel that we're going to be helped and benefitted by this practice, if you feel that this world needs Light now more than at any other time, I request you to spread this message, in your own way. Tell your friends and your family about this movement. If possible, please carry the above video on your websites/blogs, and write a few words about it.

Most importantly, please join this movement with your actual practice. For seven minutes every day, let us bring down the Light and pray for peace and love on this earth. Let us recieve this light and spread it around, to our homes, our cities and to this world.

Light is God. Light is our hope. Let us channel Light, channel God into our lives. And into this world of ours.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Frozen in Time...

Once upon a time, in a far-off place, a small boy used to get 10 paise a day as pocket-money. In those days, you'd get 2 peppermints for 10 paise but this boy, who was me, would swallow his temptation and keep aside the precious coin. Over a period of one month, this collection would grow to nearly 3 rupees and then, one friday evening, after the school bell rang, I'd trot to a nearby bakery, with my best friend by my side. We'd order a mango fruit drink(bejois, I think) and hand the coins over the counter. Then I'd take a sip, a very slow sip from the cool bottle, savouring every drop of the delicious drink. Pass the bottle to Harish and he'd take a sip and give it back. The bottle would pass nearly 10 times between us before getting sucked dry. Walk back home, cool all the way down below your throat, thinking about a similar treat the next month.

I'll never forget that taste, and probably may not savour that deliciousness again. And Harish! Where is he now, I wonder. In which part of the world? Our friendship was legendary. When our kannada teacher would narrate the story of Mahabharata and explain the deep friendship between Duryodhana and Karna, she'd mention 'Like vishwanath and harish', so that everyone would understand. And there were others too, hovering around--a close-knit group of friends. Yet, just over 20 years and not a soul around! Many of us have been thrown around and away by the demands of life, by separate priorities and individual callings. A few live close enough but they're far away. I'm too much absorbed in the details of my everyday living to even bother calling them up. Maybe they too have similar or different obligations. Maybe they're too busy to even look back at the past and remember.

Life amazes whenever you try to reflect back on it. How fast priorities change, how quickly we break away from close-knit groups and fritter away, going new places, making new friends, building new bonds. At any given time, you never imagine that this friendship or kinship is only temporary, that in a few years, this person could be out of sight and out of memory. Yet it happens very often. Just six years ago, there were five of us who'd meet every evening on a cricket field. Play cricket, take a walk to the nearby bakery, chat for nearly an hour in the evening, dream about the future---and now my contact is limited to only one of them--that too, maybe because he's my neighbour! We're not stone-hearted either--given half a chance, maybe we'd be too happy to meet up but it never happens, that half a chance never arrives. Life gallops along at break-neck speed, so you better keep up and keep moving!

A metaphor I came across quite sometime back illustrates this temporariness of human relations. It's as if we're driftwoods, moving along the course of a river. The currents bring us close and keep us together for sometime and as the river enters the planes, we slowly move away, towards new driftwoods, separating again, sailing along. And while we were together, the other person would've meant the world for us. We'd entrust them with our most cherished secrets and fears, envision our dreams with them and hope for a future of shared destines. Little did we know what life had in store for everyone. That it would take another quarter of a century before we'd set eyes on each other again.

An sms and a phone call from one such long lost friend prompted a rush of memories, buried deep down--amazingly fresh and not forgotten. 'Let's meet,' he said.'It's been 25 years since we all came to know each other and became friends. I'll organise.' How exciting would it be to meet them all after such a long time! Some have passed away, some are in different parts of the world. Many would've changed beyond recognition. Yet it would be a wonderful experience to meet these souls who were so close to you, spend time with them, listen to their stories and revive all those antique moments. It's like reclaiming a lost part of yourself.

Yet you know very well that you'll return to the galloping life from this meeting, back to the current friendships and acquaintances, so will these old friends return to their lives. Life will suck you back into its demands and pursuits, handing over new relations, promising everlasting bonding and love. It knows well that you'll get too busy in the details to remember this promise. Maybe that's the way things are meant to be. Maybe this temporariness itself adds beauty and depth to these relations.

Will I meet Harish again? I don't know, but If I do, I'd love to walk with him to the same bakery(which still exists behind our primary school building), order the same mango drink and sip it with him. And remind him of those jingling coins in our pockets as we hopped to this same place, 25 years ago, full of anticipation and excitement. Sentimental? You bet!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

That hidden desire...

'It's raining here,' she says over the phone.'And your son's getting scared. So we're telling him that it's nothing, just that God's pissing....'

I have a hearty laugh imagining his expression over hearing this.

* * *

I turned a complete vegetarian one fine day, 18 years ago, after reading an article in a news magazine. It was sudden. Until then, I had no qualms munching fish, chicken, mutton, prawns and molluscs but what made me give up on everything is still a bit hazy for me. I said, 'No more meat for me, please,' and my parents went,'what's wrong with you?' Then followed lots of admonishes, threats(in a jovial way), cajoles, taunts, but I held fast. Only twice I lost control--once in mumbai when I said, what the hell, and went and had a chicken biriyani. And another time, it was during one of my visits to my village. The aroma of the prawn curry was so tantalizing, so mouth watering, that I kept aside all shame, went to my aunt and said, 'Well...I think, I'll have it...' and everyone roared with laughter and it was the big news of the day.

Later I took up meditations and came to understand the low vibrations of non-vegetarian food that comes in the way of spiritual growth, but by that time, I'd outgrown my desire for it. Sometimes my friends would remind me that the cake I just had was prepared out of bread and Egg and I'd say, 'fine'. Think about it a bit and ponder whether it would be a good idea to give up on cakes or go only for eggless cakes. But it wasn't a bother, though. What's still pricking is the occasional saliva that springs automatically whenever the aroma of an egg omlette wafts through the air. I mean, we used to prepare it at home--two eggs mashed thoroughly, lots of onion, coriander leaves, chillies, soft coconut layers and you pour the mixture into a flat disc shape and roast it to a golden brown colour on low flame, take it out and while it's still hot, fold it between two slices of bread and then....Difficult not to salivate imagining it...

'Eat it once, if you're so crazy,' she admonishes. Yes, no, Yes, no.......

* * *


Valentine's day is nearing, so all the lunatics of our land are getting ready for another round of terrorism. The right-wing groups here have threatened that they'll hunt for couples who're out celebrating on that day, catch hold of them, take them to the registrar's office and forcibly get them married! And the left wing groups have threatened to kick these guys who attempt such intimidation. Meanwhile our venerable government(ruled by the right wing party), which we've elected to govern us, has issued statements saying that no group will be banned, everyone has the right of expression and nobody should take law into one's hand.

It makes one wonder in which era and which country are we living in? Is this India or the taliban controlled afghanistan? And, have we, by any chance slipped out of the 21st century into the dark middle ages?

What horrifies me even more is the utter insensitivity and cluelessness of a few people I know very closely, whom I interact with everyday--who're supporting these right wing lunatics! It's bloody shocking. My colleageaus say that these groups are right, these couples have no business going around and corrupting the culture! When the same groups attacked a pub in Mangalore a few weeks ago and bashed up the partygoers in the name of upholding our sacred culture, we were watching the events on TV. My family members said that those youngsters deserved it for enjoying so much, that it's high time someone told them how to behave. I mean, what the hell, dammit. I was too numb to say anything. Is it just that something's wrong with me, when I say that nobody has any business dictating terms to others? That there's no such thing as culture or tradition and what's happening here is pure goondaism? That you can't bloody impose your beliefs on others, you idiots!

This is ridiculuos. Bloody ridiculous. Hell.