Monday, January 26, 2009

First one

A foggy morning, and before the dawn sets in I'm out of my bed. It's monday but a holiday as
today's the Indian Republic Day. Thirty minutes, I'm on the mat, meditating. All the while I'm reflecting on how long has it been since I sat for meditation at this Godly hour. That it was 23 years ago on this day that we moved into this new house. That today is the first eclipse of the year and I have a special meditation session to attend. That it has rained badly in Jammu yesterday and the temperature's freezing, hope they've kept my kid properly wrapped up in warm pullovers.


Death is on my mind as I drive through the early morning streets. Two days back at this hour, just a few miles across the city, a drunken car moved down four early morning joggers. The very thought sends a shudder as my grip tightens on the steering wheel. I swerve carefully across every bend, slow down at every cross, suppress my urge to press the pedal once roads become long stretches--I'm careful to the core. Yet, I jump a signal and drive straight into the arms of a waiting policeman.

'Didn't you see the redlight, sir?' he smiles. 'You know what happened two days back?'

Nausea. I want to get out of here as soon as possible.

'The fine will be rs. 400.' He's too polite for a cop.

'I'll pay 200,' I blurt out. Should I have said 100?


Back in the car. Accelerate. My mind's a battlefield. Right? Wrong? You just added your precious bit to this corrupt system. No, you've to be practical. Cut the shit, you're no hero, you are this system. No, no, it's like this...

Why didn't I think twice before deciding to chuck the fine and circumvent things? Why was I lost for those 3 minutes? Why did I slip into survival mode so fast, throwing out all reasoning? Why was my focus only on saving 200 rs and nothing else? Why wasn't I thinking of light all along....


My body resists but gives in gradually. Sitting unmoved at a place for four hours is not a joke, but you can train yourself. Slowly at first. I manage to meditate for an hour and a half. Thoughts run wild. My first job, four years back. I'd just finished a course and was brushing up on a few things when a friend called up to say,'There's an opening.' I refused.'Give me sometime to prepare,' I said, not admitting to myself a terrible nervousness, a sense of inadequacy. 'Nothing doing,' he said.'Just attend this inteview or you'll regret it. You think it's going to wait for your preparation?' With a fluttering heart, I set out and sailed smoothly into my present job.

Lessons are seldom learnt. I'm still preparing, still equipping to move from here to something better. Stepping into the water, inch by inch, learning how to swim by testing the waters, feeling the cold...Just take the plunge. Nothing waits. You'll always be on the surface. It's as if the same friend is exhorting me. He's here no more.

Not just the job. Everywhere. In every place. At some point, you pack up the never ending preparations and just take a leap of faith. You bloody jump.

'We shall end the session.....' comes the voice. The eclipse has just ended. You're already in 2009. Look ahead, will ya?


  1. "Lessons are seldom learnt" How right you are! However, the universe seems to find ways to present the same unlearnt lesson again and again, with subtle differences, to see if THIS time we will learn. I've given up count.......

  2. What about learning something new from the same lesson as time passes? If it is painful to learn, perhaps we are only learning part of the lesson and when we have healed we begin to learn the rest?

  3. Val...thanks for the insight. What you say is so right! The universe(or life) never forgets. We think we can push things under the carpet but forget that the carpet is lifted and dusted every now and then :-)'ve added another dimension to val's observation. Maybe one should contemplate deeply on the issue at hand when a problem resurfaces, to see what are the unlearnt lessons. Thanks a lot to both of you.

  4. Let me understand: the rs. 200 was a bribe to the cop? Yuck!

    I am impressed: I have never been able to practice Vipassana meditation for more tha 30 minutes and it took me 2 years to get to that point.

    For me, I have always found it easier to jump forward than remain in place. I suppose that is related to my meditation practice (or lack of it) as well.

    Blessings, my friend.

  5. Nick....Yup it was a bribe and it's Yuck from here too, although I was involved.
    Good that you didn't hang out with Vipassana meditation. I know a thing or two about it--Don't ever try that, it's known to be spiritually very harmful. Any spiritual practice will take you towards light, towards God but some work in the reverse direction and this is one of those. I've known people who've been severely screwed after this practice.