Thursday, December 31, 2015

This one....

I think this is extremely deep. There's this person and he makes you feel that you are one of the most important people in his life. When he talks to you its like there's nothing else for him other than you. You are his total priority. Your life, your decisions, the direction you're headed in--he has a concern for everything. The love between you and him is absolutely pure. And the funny thing are not the only one who feels so...each and everyone of your friends, elders and kids around also share the same feeling. Everyone feels as if they are most important in his life. They love and adore him as much as he does for them.

How did he manage it? There's nobody I know who's capable of this.
Most of my memories of him are extremely pleasant and beautiful. Some memories are saddening. Every occasion spent with him, there would be an anecdote, a story, something to chew on. Once we were sitting, waiting for the tea which was stewing in the kitchen and he said, 'Only once...I lost faith in the Rishis...and I wept loudly, in utter helplessness and fear.' And he narrated what happened...and it was a poignant incident. Every detail of what he said then comes up from memory in my moments of despair and anguish. And they give strength--that story of total helplessness lends strength. The memory of his pain and subsequent triumph gives you hope and courage.
Difficult to believe that its been three years since his departure. Wondering how it would be if he had still been there...or better, if he had still been the same person that we knew long ago. With his powerful, compassionate, loving physical presence, how would've we been? How would that timeline look like?

Wish I could connect more with him...then...and now.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

there's no separation...

Death and Departure are on my mind off late. There are mass exits across the globe, in Mecca, in the migrant populations fleeing across the Mediterranean, in everyday deaths--people losing loved ones. And it seems to intensify day by day. Then, there are deaths closer home. A distant relative passes away at a ripe old age. Memories of my granny. A few elders in the layout who are no more. Impending departures of others. Pets, teachers, friends. And a seer who looked and said when I would exit smile emoticon
Separations are as painful as death. Friends who are not on talking terms anymore. A few distanced over misunderstandings. You meet someone after 2 decades and realize that once upon a time you were so close to them and its been years without a thought about them crossing your mind. Every job you change, every house you shift--many familiar faces turn into strangers. On the tide of time you are a driftwood, moving closer, moving away. Change is the only constant in this play.If every arrival and union gives you joy, every departure/separation tugs at your heart-strings. Some... you never get over. 
Chew over it and slowly it dawns---look deeper, there's no separation! You come back, lifetime after lifetime, meeting those who're bonded with your heart. Forms and roles change. A Guru once, a friend again, then a brother somewhere. Friends coming again and again like flocks of migrant birds meeting in a distant continent. Familiar faces and hearts recognized in an instant. Every departure is an initiation to another threshold where a union awaits. We never lose sight of those we love, and we're never lost to those who love us. An invisible thread binds us all across life-times, across eons, transcending time and space.
Look beyond the forms into the essence and you sense a dance of Souls, united forever in one Source--the Light from where we emerge, incarnate, experience and merge back. There's no separation, departure or grief--just Love, Love and nothing but an unending torrent of gushing Love. A call to be aware of this union, this love, the unbreakable bonding between souls. A signal that at the highest level, we are always forged together, in a beautiful embrace of love and light, looking down at the dance of forms, their union and separation and union--with an amused smile and laughter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Once upon a blog's the tenth year of my blogging. I'd almost forgotten that there's this tiny corner on the internet where I used to regularly take a 'walk in the drizzle', scribbling down thoughts as they occured, and also penned an occasional thought-out piece. And in the process, made a bunch of friends across the globe, some of whom I still follow elsewhere(ash, nick, val, jen). Can't believe the march of time.

Yea...I'm guilty of abandoning my lovely blog home, and spending extra time in the more vibrant(?) and more visited fb apartment. I meet more people on FB, get to socialize(??) more over there, receive instant feedback and can get into easy conversations---my pride gets a beautiful massage over there than in my shy blog palace. Add a bit of natural laziness...the home accumulates cobwebs and dust.

But think of the pre-facebook years--blogs were the place where the online socializing happened, at least for me. Not just recording life as it happened....but also checking out a wide variety of other blog homes regularly. Commenting back and forth, sometimes furiously. Writing memes and tagging friends. Picking up a idea from another blog and writing an elaborate post on it. Checkout the blogroll to see the latest update on our favorite blogs(much like the fb notifications). In short, blogs were the social media before twitter/fb.(They still are, for many).

If Facebook is the casual 'hi' on the way to the park, Blogs are the leisurely conversations on the park benches. FB is the pulpit for expressing opinions whereas the blog is my autobiography, a sketch and record of the past ten years of my life--the events, the view-point changes, the stories told and 'not-told'. Posts I read again to reminisce on an event long forgotten. Wondering at times why I wrote this, or why I didn't write that. Follow the comment link to another blog to see where they are in the stream of life.

Then it occurs...does it all matter? What you write, don't write, express, comment, argue, fight, put aside so much time and energy scribbling....does it matter, to anyone or yourself? As someone noted...'My writings and art -- paper boats in the raging river of time'. Will the world be poorer if I don't scribble my life down? Or do I add anything of value with my carefully crafted reflections on the events of my life?

Not just what we create, but we ourselves are paper boats in the raging river of time! So while being tossed by the rapid currents, if I have taken a while to make some small boats and set them afloat, enjoying their brief dance, I guess it's worth it---if not for anyone else, at least for myself. Guess I need to create more such blog boats and set them sail, just for the sheer pleasure of watching them skirt the currents.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Nalini Teacher...

 His name is Shakir. Mir Shakir Ali Khan! He stands first in the class, in every test, every exam. Totally studious. Gentle. Softspoken. Toast of the class. Pet of the teachers. Everyone wants to be his best friend. He's a bit weak, physically. Emotionally too. His dad has passed away and even a small reminder of that fact is enough to drive him to tears. A gentle 10 year old kid.

 Then there's this girl. Sumathi, if I correctly remember. She sits in the last bench along with a few other rowdy girls. A bit plump. Fair. Slightly loud mouthed. Good in sports, good in fights. Kinda opposite to shakir in every way.

One evening someone whispers a secret and we wait for the classes to get over, unable to control our glee. Then we hurry to the last bench, to the place where Sumathi sits and look under the wooden seat. There it is! A small pencil scrawl on the rough wood. 'Shakir, I love you'.

 Whoa! Its an absolute scandal and we are over the moon, gossipping, discussing, analysing, guffawing a lot amidst all this. Suddenly we spot her, Nalini teacher! We run to her almost screaming 'teacher, teacher, teacher'.....'Sumathi has written something under her desk'.... Nalini teacher has a slight smile. 'Teacher teacher, she has written, 'Shakir, I love you', and the small group starts laughing. She has an understanding smile as she says, 'Ok, I'll look into it, now you all go home'.

 The next day is judgement day and we want justice to be done! See sumathi punished for daring to cast her eye on our boy. Love!! At this age!! We wait for Nalini teacher and once she enters the class, our group is around her. She has an amused look observing our excitement. 'Nothing is there,' she says. 'No teacher,' we are horrified. Someone runs to the last bench and peers under the seat. The love signature is gone, neatly erased!!! 'But teacher,' I protest, 'it was there, I saw it with my own eyes. 'Shakir, I love you'. And it was sumathi's handwriting. She only wrote it and now she has erased it.'

 Nalini teacher just waves us off, gently. 'Its ok, you must have seen something else. I'll look into it. Now get back to your seats,' she says. We return in disappointment, our small adventure fizzling out before taking off. The whole class seems to have got wind of the issue but its soon forgotten. There are a thousand other things in the world of 10 year old kids.

What keeps this small memory fresh is the way Nalini teacher handled it. Not punishing the 'offender'. Not admonishing the 'adventurers'. Just understanding the curiosity, excitement and inquisitiveness of kids on the threshold of adolscence and being gentle about it. There were other teachers and pt masters who would have taken the same situation and created a huge mess out if it. But she was different.

 She taught social studies, just for less than a year before she was transferred out. But how the class loved her! How carefree we were when she was around. There's one lovely incident where, with any other teacher, I would have been skinned alive and scarred for life. A small assignment which we had to do at home, and I had faithfully flunked it. Nalini teacher picked me up and asked, 'Have you done the assignment?'. 'Yes, teacher,' I say, full of confidence. 'Ok, open your book and read it'. I open my homework book, and my hands begin to shiver. I open an empty page, and start saying something ....totally from memory. My voice is shaking and is on the verge of choking, fearing that I'll be found out. 'MN, stop for a while,' she says. 'Are you really reading from your homework book?'. 'Yes teacher,' (bloody guts!). 'Are you sure,' she has a smile, 'because, I feel that you are reciting from memory and not from the book'. I should have shut up and admitted, but being the reckless guy i was I stand my ground. 'No teacher, it is here in the book, see if you want', I hold the book towards her, covering the empty pages. She looks at me for a few moments. 'It's ok, sit down,' she says, before she moves to another student.

The whole class knows that I've made an ass of myself, and Nalini teacher saved me from further embarrassment. Did I dare do that mistake again? Hell no! Did I learn a lesson for my lifetime? Absolutely. It looked like any other incident then, but when I look back now, I sit back in wonderment at the way she took care of my budding self-esteem and ensured that I wasn't traumatised--just with a small gesture. And such gestures were a part of her daily interactions with everyone in the class, in other classes.

 When she left, there was probably nobody who didn't bid her farewell with a heavy heart. 'Write down something about me on a piece of paper', she told us on the last day. 'Anything...good or bad, what you liked in me, what you didn't like, whatever. And don't write your name, so that I'll not come to know who it is if you have written something bad about me.' We all faithfully scrawled our anguish and sorrow at having to see her go away, expressing our love and admiration for this gentle lady.

There have been many teachers since, but this lady....she remains in memory as one of the first persons I came across who had this very sublime, very unique and rare quality---'to influence and inspire others just by her presence, nothing else'. Somewhat similar to Him.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


you wanted the dream to never end
the moment to freeze, when the Earth and heaven met
the soft light streaming through dawn's window
the walk in the lanes, the talks and silence
caressing hands, adoring eyes, yielding hearts
the lips that whisper your name over and over

the dream halted when you escaped to another realm
to the strange land of battles
and plunged yourself into vengence and fights
of righting a wrong, answering a slight
but the dream lived on, untouched, unblemished
in its own abode of a million hues.
It remained tender and soft, vulnerable
waiting for the dreamer to return
and breathe life into the abandoned flute

the soft flowing yamuna remembers this dream
so do the loving eyes of the grazing cows
the murmur of the peepul leaves
the first breeze of dawn from Govardhan hills
the chirping birds, dancing peacocks
the cowherds, gopis...all remember the dream
and the one who invoked this dream for them
they remember you and wait for you
...the dark skinned mischief monger

and amongst them, awaits she
the one closest to your heart
the one who's your very heart-beat
and she knows that you'll arrive
straight from the battle-field, 
from the world of war and battles.
You will arrive to the moonlit nights
under the tree, next to the flowing river
where she waits for you

And when you arrive....the dream erupts
in an ecstatic vibrant splendour
exploding in blissful joy and abandon
the whole nature embracing the arriving beloved
not knowing how to express the unexpressable ecstacy
dropping into pregnant silence
while the joy erupts through gasps
the joy of having the dreamer, back in the dream

and the dreamer...his eyes search for the one
for whom he returned to the realm of the dream

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Three Mothers

(Couldn’t help translating this small piece from the book, ‘Mahanagara’ by Jogi. Call it a tribute to Motherhood or Womanhood, but for me, it’s nothing but lovely crispy writing, the kind I love to read and write myself)

That boy wasn't into studies but would watch his friends go to the ashrams, learn Vedas from the sages, and he too wanted to learn it all. So he goes to Gautama Rishi’s ashram. Gautama asks for his ‘gothra’. Not knowing his lineage, the boy comes back to his mother and asks ‘What’s my gothra?’

His mother says, ‘See, I was working as a maid in many houses and got pregnant in that period. So I don’t know exactly who your father is. Tell this to your guru.’

He goes and tells this to Gautama. While the other disciples laugh at him and taunt, the Guru appreciates his truthfulness and his mother’s frankness and names him as ‘Satya-kama’---a lover of truth. ‘You’re the son of Jaabaala, so you’re ‘Jaabaali’,’ he says. A Rishi is thus born in the name of his mother.

The nurturing mother, Jaabaala. She teaches her son to be truthful, and win over the World through this truthfulness. He becomes known by his mother’s name and she in turn, becomes famous through him. She is the one who nurtures.

Then, the second mother, Kunthi. She becomes a mother before marriage. And sets her son sail in the Ganges, fearing the Truth! Her son, Karna, becomes a benevolent giver. And places a higher value on his friendship than on the love towards his mother. The baby floating down the Ganges is picked up by a charioteer, and now grown up, Karna realises the truth of his birth. That truth doesn’t trouble him, nor does it make him pity his own condition. He doesn’t crave for his mother. Thus, she becomes the mother who makes her son transcend her necessity, who sets her child free from her bondage. If Karna had stayed with his mother he too would perhaps have lusted for power? But away from her, he never craved anything at anytime. He learnt to give not receive. He stayed with Duryodhana but never became like him. Such a life, he received from his Mother. Kunthi abandoned him and nurtured his greatness.

Jaabala is the Mother who nurtured and Kunthi is the Mother who abandoned. The third Mother is the one who destroys. The Mother of the Universe who also becomes the one who butchers mercilessly. A demon asks a boon that nobody but his mother should kill him. He’s sure that a mother will never kill. With that boon he unleashes havoc and suffering. Lord Krishna tries to kill him but fails. Then his wife, Satyabhaama, who’s born from an amsha of the Mother Goddess kills the demon. That Demon was Narakasura. When his troubles cross limits, the mother of the Universe arrives in some form to swallow him. To destroy is also a part of the Mother’s responsibility. Nurture, Abandon, Destroy—she knows all.
These three mothers, their strange stories—filled with pride, fortitude and fearlessness...and our puranas have various dimensions of this mother-son bonding. Just as you have a mother who killed her son, we also see a son who killed his mother. He is Parashurama. On the orders of his father, he cuts his mother down. Then when his pleased father confers a boon, he asks for the revival of his mother. He gives birth to his mother again. Now, is he a son to his mother, or is he a mother who birthed her again?

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

In the land of chaos...

I am standing in a familiar place--a place with a sense of mild terror and impending chaos. This place, I know well enough because it used to be a constant reality for years together, almost a decade ago. I would think that this place has no exit, every door leading out would somehow lead back in, and I was resigned to staying here forever.

Yes, I had a wise and benign old man's guidance back then. But that never mitigated the anxiety even one bit. What took me out of that place of hopeless suffocation still remains a mystery. Maybe I'm banking on that mystery to bail me out this time round as well.

Sometimes you think you're all too powerful and in total control of the events and happenings in your life. And at times you feel, you don't have the strength to even move an inch, turn a finger or lift an eyelid. You could be right, but you could also be totally wrong both the times. When you think everything's in perfect control, something starts sliding down somewhere and your house of cards collapses. And when you think nothing's working, things start moving on their own. Rationality is a mess. I saw it happening twice when I was searching for a job--and something more than a job through the job-search.

I struggled for nearly 2 years, trying to break through one interview after another but in vain. I was in close proximity of clinching the deal but nope, something would crash. Then when I least expected it, there was a call, I walk in, get asked the right questions for which I have the perfect, confident answers, and in 2  hours I'm out, with a lovely offer letter in hand! Deliciously magical.

Giving up the struggle against invisible forces, I wait for the magic to strike again. I know it's a fantasy, but when the mystery arrives, I want to catch its tail and follow it...and see where it came from and where it returns to.