Wednesday, March 31, 2010
A late magenta dahlia is blooming in the garden, I usually bend down and feel the petals on my face, inhaling deeply for any fragrance, knowing fully well dahlia doesn't posses any. A though came to mind, are not humans like these flowers, the most flashy ones holding no mysteries, all colour no fragrance, all external perfection, no substance.
Nainital, a tiny lake town nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains, Sun light slept on the gentle waves, sluggish snails lugging their slippery gray shells came to the shore where I waited for them. I would run down the cobbled street falling like a stone and hide in the dense foliage looking at these lazy snails. Sometimes there were empty shells and I would collect these, put them in salt water and they would still smell of the slime. red and yellow striped yachts drifted on the cool waters. From the window of the convent where I stuck to the window as I could not understand what the teachers droned about.
Long time back as a child I had read this story about Buddha, once his disciples asked Buddha, " why do you preach non violence towards all the living things?" To this Buddha replied that we as souls pass through so many bodies that every living creature has been our dearest and most loved one at some point of time. About many people who have blessed me in the present life, I have had strong feeling of having known them for too long. I recognize a mother from previous birth and have visions of being brought into existence through her body. Might sound completely far-fetched but then I had this experience, my daughter was just born and I was healing, she was few days old and I had this voice telling me, ask your mother about seventeenth September and your brother, he has come as your daughter(I had a younger brother who was a blue baby and we lost him when he was three). I was too scared to speak about this to my mother, later I asked her and she told me that he had died on the seventeenth of September. I was cold and speechless for long.
I believe we have many lives and sometimes when you feel that you know people whom you have barely met it is those past bonds that come to life. Unknowingly we play the same roles picking up the silken threads that cross lives and space. Bodies come together and part but soul keeps the count it seems.
A pregnant stranger cat rubs its swollen belly,
against my leg and purrs for milk
I shuffle out in the night gown,
sleepily pouring milk for her
Love is so easy to achieve
How did we converted it to commerce?
Pic: Nainital lake and leaves dipping into the green water, me and a kitten that looked exactly like this cat.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
There are days when you feel deep contentment and then there are some when you feel absolutely disoriented, a void corrodes the insides. Today, I am somewhere between these two, in no man's land. There is peace as children are blossoming and there is pure joy in just watching them grow. There is some void when I address the plans I have for the PhD, is it relevant, will I make some difference? Will the learning be applied and be of value? Should I be doing it in the first place? Can't I learn the same things without attaching a degree? Would the learning sans a degree be less valuable? Dunno, am really confused. Am not a 'yes minister' person and before stepping into any work scenario, I have to really figure out if I might be required to compromise my values.
I know these things one learns while working but am just trying to figure out if the direction I am heading for is basically towards a state where I am able to give back.
As a family with one major bread earning member(husband), there is no real need for earning, also because I feel the job I will take up might feed a whole family(isn't it snatching bread from those who need it more?). With him keeping long hours, it is me who balances out the household. Ideally, I should earn just what is sufficient for survival as earning more than that is kind of stealing from those who need these jobs much more than me(yeah, I blow up the money recklessly when I earn).
Have seen the latch key kids, there is simply no substitute for parental presence. Even as I weigh these facts there is this restlessness that build up during the hours when kids go away and even when I have so many hobbies, it doesn't leave me. Some thing that kind of accuses me of wasting time when I could have shared this learning. Dunno, maybe I am just apprehensive as I am in the late thirties.
I think I will drop all this and work on what Gautam Buddha says: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Like oysters bears a pearl
May the prayers bear peace
Deliver us from illusions
Bearing rest and ease...
Pic: Himalayas again, something about these wise sage-like mountains makes me just keep on looking at these picture I took while in its peaceful lap.
Monday, March 29, 2010
There is a Shiva shrine, ancient, quiet, surrounded by giant Himalayan cedars that sprout suddenly pushing the resilient pines. Clusters of temples with little brass bells tinkling with the mountain breeze. First time when I saw Jageshwar, it suddenly absorbed my attention into its scented green calm. A melodious brooke, ferns dipping into the its clear water flows over the rounded stones. There, among the clusters of stone temples is one with a Ganeha (elephant God, son of Shiva) statue, it is such a beautiful statue that if you sit down and look into its stone face, it speaks to you. Inside is the stone phallus, the revered 'Shiva linga', never thought of so, it's always another statue in the Hindu psyche. Nearby, is a cremation ground and although I do not know much about this form of worship, but it is a fact that there are men and women who worship in these cremation grounds. They devour human flesh and drink alcohol, it is through tantra and sex that they try to reach the divine, mostly they are after the so called 'powers' that they use for black magic, that they do these practices. What they do through these practices is to basically bring the consciousness to a level where they see no difference between the edible and non edible. The basal and the normal existence. Somehow, this gives them the powers to interact with the matter and transform it into another matter by interfering with the electrons and atomic weight. Through the altered consciousness they change matter.
Anyway, the temple is not for such practices, there this stone shiv linga was established by a Hindu saint named Adi guru Shankaracharya. He structured the Hinduism when corruption and rituals were corroding it and to save people from the savagery practiced in the name of religion, Buddhism and Jainism had already established roots. His birth place is in Kerela in Southern India and he is considered an incarnation of Shiva. Now, this stone in Jageswar was very different, it was so powerful that all wishes that devotees asked for were fulfilled. Soon, people started wishing for sad things, harming others and wishing for the ill of others than their own betterment. The shiv linga was then pushed down deep into the ground to reduce its wish fulfilling powers. I felt it immersed in a mixture of water, flowers, leaves and offerings. Himalayas have a very subtle spiritual energy flowing through its mountains. It is almost palpable, music I heard through out my pregnancy, the hymns of Shiva, strangely the moment I listen to these hymns am transported to this divine place nestled in Himalayas.
How sweetness seeps into the soul
To saturate and overflow
Quietly, as a bud unfolds
Surging and receding like waves on shore
Days melting into nights
fetus sneaking into womb
Such a stealthy invader
Those who seek it, thirst
And those who dread are chosen
For its steely grip
You have filled my cup...
Friday, March 26, 2010
First brush with the cruelty of commercial world was when in fourth grade my two friends and I started a library. We pooled our comics and books and in back-breaking labour wrote down all the titles and the proposed charge and fines against the books. The day arrived when I stuck a huge board of ' Library now Open' on the balcony. Kids came in droves as it was summer holiday and lounged in every nook and corner of my home. Mother was patient, trying to encourage the ruthless business streak in her daughter. No, came the hard part, kids would drink lemonade( on the house) fight over the books ( tearing them to bits), taking them and then aggressively denying they ever saw such a comic let alone issued it! Another cruel addition to woes was the little song these smart kids made up, it went like this, 'A, B C... PEHLE KYU DI THI!'(A, B,C rhyming with, why did you give in the first place?). All the precious Phantom and Mandrake comics vanished and if a rare kid paid ten paisa, he would make sure to extract the worth by torturing us to beg for the precious money. Soon fighting broke among us friends as there was hardy any money to be divided as the books left the shelves, we would blame each other for not getting them back. The end came sooner with the other friends taking their books back and home was quiet again, thankfully rid of the constant stream of thrifty kids. I returned to my fantasy of marrying phantom-the walking ghost or something he was called in every second line. I would seriously wonder what would I do with kit and heloise, his kids, when I did away with Diana Parmer, his wife!
Long ago fresh out of school, my friend and I had these wild aspirations of starting our business. Now I am laughing even thinking about it, we used to visit Gandhi ashrams here in Delhi to figure out what business will suit us. God! The seriousness of it, for hours we would watch incense sticks being rolled ( rest of the skills were beyond us, so we settled for this). We would sit under the shade in scorching sun, I and Smita and eat our lunch, daydreaming about how rich we would be selling those incense sticks. This was supposed to be our research for the business. Nothing came out of all that loitering in the sun. Smita, the rigid moral being in our class. She would howl when the whole class stood in punishment, this would irritate the teacher and when asked she would keep on repeating that she was not talking, She indeed would never do any thing forbidden and stand by the 'truth'! This 'stand' would really get the teacher and poor Smita would be hauled for being stubborn. We were corrupted mortals indulging in evil naughty things like hitting kids with chalk and having a good time when turned out of the class( I was perpetually standing near the black board for being mischievous, that was a mode of existence for me after a while). She would lecture me on how she would become a Doctor and charge nothing to her patients, she is a Doctor now and struggles to juggle a job, kid and a higher degree.
Just remembering those days, it feels that there are many lives that we live. As a kid, I would see the serious adults all around and would vow to never become like them. Dunno, but it seems life drags you ruthlessly and like a harsh parent snatches away the tender flowers of innocence that the soul clutches fiercely. At least reflecting on how things become what they become. Why we become what we become, maybe if we can see that, we can revert to what is joyous and balanced? Human heart has immense capacity to heal itself and others. Peace for the heart and beauty for eyes!
Pic: Himalayas, son has topped in the class, got the result yesterday. He is in this picture with my daughter, both are tuned to mother Nature.
Rest that heart now
Place a healing hand gently
Beats hold songs of your love
Put them to sleep early tonight
Blue light will caress the breeze
Moon will hover somewhere in the sky
Dreams will kiss those warm breaths
Silence will curdle peace, soft and thick
Rest that heart, it has to soar again,
Drifting like a cosmos on the breeze
With songs of wind swept leaves...
Rest the heart now, it's getting late...
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Nature like a magician has pulled clouds over the horizons and the heat has abated for today. At five in the morning, I was meditating and then when I opened my eyes there was this gray light. From darkness to light the subtle shift was beautiful. There were chopped off croutons near a hedge, picked them up and planted them in the garden. The clouds have drifted and sunlight and shadows dance on the rooftops.
There are sweet succulent mulberries and two trees that were bare branches and stump are covered in lovely shades of green,plucked a few and they tasted divine. When you pluck fruits from trees and eat them right away, you can feel the live energy entering your system. The frozen and processed foods just don't posses this pure nutrition. There is a lime tree where we live, not in my garden but nearby and throughout the year it is decorated with golden juicy limes. This reminds me of what Gandhi had to say about food, he once commented that food cooked in nature's fire, he meant the sun, is the best. Drawn from the Earth, filtered through the genes of plants, the organic compounds in the leaves, barks and roots restore balance to bodies exposed to artificial surroundings and foods created by us. In Indian kitchens some spices and herbs that are used daily without a thought, are now found to be rich in healing nutrients. The wonders of one such root I can vouch for, after I had a natural second delivery, I thought healing of the episiotomy stitches would be as long as the first one. This time I tried turmeric, I drank it mixed in plain milk and applied a paste on the stitches, there was a eucalyptus tree near the balcony so I would put hand full of these leaves in hot water. In less than seven days There was complete healing. There is a powdered mixture of three fruits-'harar-bahar-avla' this is a detoxifying combination to this I add, powdered peepul tree fruits called peepli, powdered bark of Arjun tree and this is one thing that really cleanses the system of any kind of toxic substance. Sharing this as we all encounter the stiffness in joints and that lethargic feeling that goes with the consumption of frozen foods and hectic lives. The herbs that I have mentioned are available at any ayurvedic
(ayurveda is a stream of medicine based on herbs practiced in India)medicine shop.
Sometimes it seems that life as we know it, we have got to the depth of it, at others it is as if we are just the spectators of a very grand show. A yellow butterfly flutters merrily near the dahlia and it knows that it has to suck nectar, find a mate and then lay eggs. That is the limit of its world as she knows it. What about us? Pulled in a million directions, with media, peer pressures, social obligations, guilt, anger, constantly changing dynamics. Before we even begin to comprehend our place in the vast cosmos(which we don't even begin get, even with all the satellites), the skeleton goes back to calcium in Earth and flesh to ashes or compost. Yet, we feel so serious about the structures, stiff rituals, pecking order and power games. An analogy here, the answer like Gandhi's non cooperation or spinning wheel, lies in simplicity. Complexity has given us cancer, it's not even a choice but the only option now. Simplify needs, relations, surroundings. Returning to what is necessary and happily granted by our only resource-this planet. Dunno how balanced this is but when sometimes I say this the reaction is-do you want to go back to the stone age? Well, a stone age is better any day than an exhausted destroyed Earth, no? Love to think it out here as while am at it some answers come and some questions erupt. Blessings and Happy thoughts!
Pic: Himalayan Village we visited last summer, my heart is already there immersed in moss-covered rocks, pine needles beneath the feet and cool wet shade of giant pines.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
There are five teenaged boys lounging in front of the Tv, watching a ninja movie. My daughter is having a great time teasing them. I've placed a huge bowl of popcorns, biscuits, some roasted peanuts and grams to munch and am here feeling really drained. The heat is acting on the body and it is taking some time to adjust. Brought veggies and fruits for the whole week. I love children visiting home as they have such positive energy. Have been procrastinating reading books on integral education, that is what I am going to apply as I teach maths from April fifth, God help me with that, I used to dread the subject.
Yesterday,I was waiting for husband for the evening tea and refreshments that I make, I don't like tea alone so I wait for him. I was walking sans my headphones looking out for his office car, this lady who was a neighbor walked to me and we got talking. She was bursting with resentment towards her husband and mother-in-law. I patiently heard her out as she complained about her menopause and how every thing she made was criticized. She i not allowed to work as husband does not like it and was telling me that I should get out of the house before kids grew up. She told of how the family needed hot dinner at midnight and would not allow her taking any help for this. She is a beautiful and simple woman, she resented the fact that she was a secretary in her college and gave speeches but once married she started stammering. Resigned to the fact that she has had her best time when unmarried, she draws solace that at least she had some good life. It is not that all Indian women are so docile, in a party I met this woman who asked me how much maintenance money I got from the husband, I said what's that? She elaborates that it's the money that you spend on maintaining oneself, ahhh, I got that. Another told me how foolish we were to cook, she said that she simply refused to enter the kitchen and had never cooked since she got married. One of my own cousins who is a spinster, they used to open the meeting with the boy and his family by a statement that meant that they were overqualified to cook, no wonder they still are looking for a match.
I am no feminist and neither do I support the double standards society has had for men and women, but this bloated ego thing of deciding that a work was beneath one is so immature. When a man like Gandhi could clean public toilets and lead by example what is this insecurity in these women that makes them shun one of the most creative experiences of life. It is as if you yourself are sated when you see people enjoying the meal you have prepared. Dunno, somethings are really beyond my understanding.
The silent suffering this women goes through as she nurtures her family through her sacrifice is also not a good idea, there needs to be a balance. Just sharing things were in my mind, peace and blessed spring time to all...
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
There was this surreal dream last night, ocean roaring and shifting in brilliant patterns. Sometimes this life feels more surreal than such dreams. I don't know if you have ever felt it, but sometimes in the crowd this eerie feeling creeps up. Are all these people as alive as I am, I don't mean this in literal sense, of course I know they are as alive but just thinking that they are going back to their homes even as I see them through these sense. Every one with a life ahead and a past. Everyone viewing the other lives closed in the individual shell of the body.
Long time back I had read this book 'Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda Paramhansa,'in eighth grade, this book had these stories about spiritual masters, the realised ones immersed in a meditative state where they felt one with the creation. If you see quantum science at a very basic level, that is what it is, every thing is energy. Atoms with electrons, neutrons and protons make all of us into masses that can covert into energy and dunno why it doesn't through any of the accidents possible given the speed of the solar system in the galaxy and the galaxy itself rushing at tremendous speed. Reading about History makes one realise of the minute time span we are here for and still humans are seriously and meticulously absorbed into eradicating humans who don't agree with their understanding of life or who threaten their lion's share of resources. Really, are we here for this? Produce children, keep defending our territories and then die. Then why did we evolve from a unicellular animal to the present complex machine? Evolution could have stopped as plants, harmless paradise this Earth would be without us, but it didn't. Sometimes it gives me goosebumps just to think the magnitude of nuclear arsenals and weapons of mass destruction, why we have even catered to destroy this planet many times over in the name of territorial threats. Whatever intelligence is behind this creation and the perfect symphony of AT matching CG in those double helix structures, risks alot to see us evolve.
Meditation gives a little peek into the majesty of this creation. It is a state that has different dimensions than the normal existence. Human mind is capable of much more than what we use it for. You can sense thoughts across vast distances, for thoughts are also energy and when the energy of mind communicates with the gross energy of matter, in the perfect synchronized melody, then there can be changes in how atoms and mass comes to be in space. This is the state the realised souls reached. reason why matter and time was no barrier to them. There is some thing so positive about the state, innocence and responsibility for all comes into ones being and instead of self the effort is for all. Being too engrossed is the basal state of human existence, just as an amoeba evolved, a soul too evolves. Attention shifts from outside to inside. It is not utopia but a state that is possible, if abuse and exploitation comes through a self-seeking attitude, selflessness and peace can come through the opposite. It might seem idealistic, but I think we need to open minds to at least the possibility of such an existence.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Finished reading this book and it ends with the assassination of Gandhi. Feeble after the fast, he would still spin cotton on his wheel as he believed that ' bread taken without labour is stolen bread'. Reading this book that is as much about Gandhi as India's independence, I realised that he was a man who grasped the truth when he saw it. Once while boarding Johannesburg-Durban train an English friend gave him John Ruskin's 'Unto This Last', Gandhi read this book all night and made a vow, he would give away all his possessions. According to Ruskin riches were a tool to secure power over men. A labourer served the society as much as a Doctor or a Lawyer and the life of labour, of tilling the soil was worth living. Gandhi was doing very well as a lawyer those days with an income of 5000 pounds a year. This thought process had begun in his mind since the past two years. He would do his own laundry, cut his own hair, clean his toilet and had delivered his last child. He settled his family in a farm with few friends and Gandhi's life took on a pattern that would rule it until the death. A renunciation of material possessions and striving to satisfy human needs in the simplest manner, coupled with communal existence in which all labour was equally valued. He also took the vow of sexual continence, this had been nagging issue since he had questioned his indulgence in carnal pleasures as his father lay on the death bed.
It is this force of truth that gave him such power over the Indian masses. During his fasts he subsisted on lukewarm water and bicarbonate of soda and as the life would ebb out, the masses would give up violence and gather around him and promise to be brothers. He loved with his heart every human and it seems he had risen much above the divisions of cast, religion and colour. Seems he had reached beyond the individual to the collective, where all living entities are merely extensions of a whole. I will be reading more on this great man and share it with all.
Working on reuse, reduce, recycle, we got a blender jar for a very old mixer that husband had bought when he was eighteen. Amazingly we got a new jar that fits perfectly. This brings me to rural areas, it is just the Indian cities that are now into the Western mode of use and throw. The moment you move to the suburbs and villages, you see old plastic buckets stitched up, innovative use of things like plastic bags and another sore sight, mountains of non degradable plastic that cities consume and dump in landfills that pollute the suburbs and little towns beyond.
Reading Gandhi, one thing is clear, the things he believed in would have led to a world where everyone was happy, not a fistful of rich people like today, who sadly lead a life that is happy(Is drug, indiscriminate sex and corruption happy?). Still, the illusion is being heaped with such deadly skill by equally corrupt media. Percolating from those strata to those who look up to this fancy world, not knowing that the woman who they want to emulate sleeps when drugged or the man who looks so suave racing his ferrari has a heart bathed in guilt, how he cheated the investors and is now cheating himself with this pretty toy. Falsehood upon falsehood and now they say its recession, the crooks think they are smart but the creator is smarter, unless we do not accept the balance, there might be passing moments of gratification but no real peace.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Seems today is my friends day! Just as I had a lovely morning chauffeuring my lady friends to shopping places and then to kids' school, I get a surprise here! A friend for whom I had looked every where for long, I have found here with the help of my class mate Saurabh and what a lovely feeling it is! In the evening I round up the day with a visit to my childhood friends, Shalu and Malu, already the presents for there kids are ready for packing.
Seems the day is blessed, my younger one is getting impatient as I have to take her to tennis class. I was feeling very tired since the chores had added up and multiplied in morning. One was spinning husband's dearest pen drive in the washing machine, must say he has an angel's patience, he was just happy that he didn't dropped it somewhere.
Wonder what I will do once the PhD is rolling, I love being with friends and sharing, it is life's sustenance.
This friend of mine and me , we used to talk talk and talk, dunno why but we had made a separate world where we shared our dreams. Three was a tree and we rushed to that spot during recess time and had our lunch there away from the din of children. She opened me up in many ways and when in seventh grade she left for another place, I was very lonely for many many months. I still have an embroidered pouch she had gifted me, have carried it every where just as I have kept an apron my friend, Ruchi had gifted me for my wedding. What a disaster I was as a cook in those early days. Am so happy am disconnected, so till I find my feet...
Field of Daises
Drifting with the wind a fragrance known comes to me
Kissing away the gloom
Again my dear again today the fields of daises are in bloom!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The heat is up today and even in these high-ceiling houses one can feel the difference. You feel like switching on the fan and just as the air inside the room is stirred, it gets uncomfortably cool and you switch off the fan. Strange weather! The laptop’s giving trouble it shuts down again and again. Nearing the end of the book and am in such a trance and just moving in a slowest pace possible, Gandhi is nearing death as he fasts for getting the Pakistan 55- million rupees that India is supposed to give it but withdraws fearing that Pakistan would buy armament with this money. He asks all the Hindu refugees to vacate the mosques and homes of fleeing Muslims they have occupied, all this is well. He was an idealist, he advises the defiled women to 'bite their tongue and hold their breaths till they die,'now this is something I don't understand. I know that he suggested all the European nations to willingly surrender to the Germans during world war so that there was no blood shed and at one point said that the only war that could be justified was one against the nazis. Dunno still tuck at this place and trying to understand what the old man meant by these statements that came through a lot of introspection.
Tomorrow. I will be visiting kids' school to get the book for my son who is in ninth grade. These classes now are considered very important here. is interest is in Maths and Computers, he wants to become an Engineer like so many men in the family. The coming years will be tough as there is a lot of competition for every single seat in good Engineering institutions and being from a high caste things are weighed against him as there is almost seventy percent reservation for the weaker sections. Sometimes people score in the negative and make it to these places whereas kids scoring quiet high are left with very few options. He is fine boy,the hormones make him arrogant and moody but he is one matured soul, always fair and honest. With releasing him into the world like a bird in the sky, to do some thing good for Mother Earth and everyone, I will accomplish the task entrusted to me by Mother nature. Today as we both sat watching pride and prejudice, I told him that is he came t visit me with his wife I would hide under the bed. He asks why, I say to him, as I am afraid of becoming a mother-in -law. He says yeah, you keep being scared all your life. Well we have these conversations and I have started calling Jayani Mic-mic, dunno why but that what I feel like calling her. Thought I would not be able to post today but here I am.
Dreamt of a volcano erupting and me gathering all food stuff and running, then floods as I saw children swimming, at one point I was lying on Earth watching shooting stars and thought how long it has been since I watched sky this way.
Souls travel alone
From body to body
and moment to moment
And yet a soul picks up
laughter, love, tears
Souls travel alone
in deep darkness of universe
silent, luminous fireflies
choosing wombs and words
For ripening silence
and lonely wanderings
Souls travel alone...
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
In the bright sun walked to get some tomato sauce and mustard oil. I cook the vegetables in mustard oil as it helps the joints and is better than most of the hydrogenated oils. On the way I saw my lady friend waiting for the vegetable truck to arrive, it is a facility that allows people to buy vegetables at slightly cheaper rates compared to the retail. I love sitting with them and chatting under the trees on the white-washed pavement, most women are well-educated and stay-at-home mothers as like me they don't want their kids to grow up cared by maids. Imagine how many jobs would go to offshore services in West if all Indian women staying at home choose to work. Another silly thought, dunno how right it is, I feel that before women like me work to earn, the families that are struggling to make ends meet should be given an opportunity. I plan to volunteer just to earn enough to cover for the petrol and commuting by taking workshops on something the Professor is suggesting.
Just saw the gorgeous petunias in purple, magenta and loveliest pink these were against indigo bunches of flowers. I never cease to wonder, one brown Earth and it transforms into such deep rich colours. Jayani just returned and after I took off her uniform and slipped on fresh clothes, I presented the cake, she is happy. Mother's live for such moments.
Can never read these lines from 'The Eve of St Agnes' without thinking of a bejeweled bride's groom gently removing her jewelry, getting her ready for the bridal bed.
Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,
Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:
Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed
This one I read when I am tense, it relaxes me transporting me to the school days when I would spend a whole afternoon chasing sparrows that were trapped in my room. With a towel in my hand, I would keep making them fly till they got exhausted and sat panting behind the curtains, then I would catch them and place them under baskets. A little bowl with water and grains to feed, but the poor bird would refuse to touch them, little heart jumping out of its breast. After touching the feathers and holding them in my hands, I would release them. Dunno why I did this but always loved holding animals and looking into their innocent eyes. My daughter gets that from me, she just grabs any bird or mammal. Think I'll get some gold fish for the bowl and yeah I need to start dancing for an hour, I love to dance and thats a very effective way to excercise, once I've put it here now I'll remember to do it.
Pic: Himalayas, would love to be there this moment and wander in pine groves inhaling the freshness of its resin, how I love the Himalayas...
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Mornings start with cooking, first the ginger-black pepper tea and then breakfast along with packing lunch for husband and the kids. These days I pluck spinach and coriander that is growing in the garden. I saw tiny white eggs, probably lady birds had stuck them on the underside, I remove them and stick them to other leaves. Tomorrow, Jayani starts her second grade and she is so excited, was making thank you cards for her teachers.
Jayani is very fascinated with aliens these days. She keeps questioning me about which stars might have aliens and what do they think about us. Animesh has a different world of facebook, foot ball and shared secrets with his friends. Strong sun is spreading across the garden and warmed pavements. Soon, there will be summer holidays for kids.
I remember those idle days when the noons are enmeshed in hot dry wind and sun beats down fiercely. You dread the heat but once you are out there body gets used to the sweat and the heated blasts of wind.The cobblers sit under trees in the shade and if you watch them stitching the shoes and repairing, it is a kind of meditation. Oblivious to the heat and dust they go on chatting and taking a sip from a tiny glass of tea or drawing deeply from the hand rolled 'bidi'.
How beautifully time and space have been divided, just when it is freezing in the high peaks of Himalayas just 400 Km away, it is scorching on the plains. When a human's eye takes in the perfect form of a solitary cloud floating against a stark blue sky, another human dreads the fury of nature, seeking last drops of water in parched desert. Mind, thoughts, bodies, planet and the cosmos all woven into this three-dimensional presence impregnated with sensations to make a linear movement of life. Just as I hear a child crying in a house nearby and watch my daughter engrossed in some cartoon character, The eerie feeling is that this is that warp and weft, of breaths and time, life...
Monday, March 15, 2010
Yesterday, the meditation was good, the best things is one steps away from rituals and comes face-to-face with the essence. When you meditate, the first question you ask is,'am I a spirit?' If one has a strong gratitude for the nature that humbles with its beauty, it leads for strong love towards the creator. Somewhere in between one is absorbed in a bond that envelops the being with bliss. Nothing to do with the religion, this is a direct and pure realization of self and its source.
In the morning I and Jayani, now she is in second grade, we went out looking for baby plants to grow in empty cans and plastic cups. This is a kind of experiment. As I am reading this book and trying to adopt to some practices that Gandhi Ji suggested to his followers, what I am testing is-what are reactions of small children to these practices. I am encouraging an hour of physical labour in any form and it is well received. While Animesh, who is in ninth grade and a fourteen-year-old laughs at my suggestion and says " there were other freedom fighters too, there is nothing so great about Gandhi." Well, Jayu understands now when I talk to her about limiting our consumption as we both dig the soil and she appreciates that Mother Earth is giving us all that we have. As we dig, I ask her to feel the soil and explain tat this is where all the life dissolves. She smiles and asks, will God bless me for planting new plants, to this I say, yes the creator feels happy when he sees life being cared for, she understands.
I stumble at every step, but at least this is a beginning of introspection. Guess the best way is to take small steps, these help in creating momentum and inclination towards small changes. Right now I am nearing the chapter when Gandhi is assassinated. He is informed about a riot that is about to begin as the Sikhs are heading towards the Panipat to revenge for the atrocities they suffered as refugees leaving Pakistan. As Gandhi steps into the crowd brandishing swords and knives, enraged people ask if it was his wife who was raped and his children who were killed. He says, yes their women where his women and their children were his. He begs them to stop the Muslims from leaving for Pakistan and to embrace them.
What kind of conviction this man had to never care for his life and walk into most dangerous situations. He read books like Bible and Geeta and whatever he saw, he immediately put it to practice and when he found that it was an answer to how humans should achieve peace and love, he suggested it. Will try and share whatever I am able to grasp with my limited understanding. Blessings all...
Sunday, March 14, 2010
There is this tricky thing about writing, today in the morning I was thinking about something I wanted to share and was very excited about it. Now, even when I am thinking hard the though evades me. Memory is like a flood of winged seeds passing by you, only when you hold one tight and jot it down, it remains to take root.
There are days when I feel so worthless and worn out. I must confess that such sad days I visit my lady friends who are frustrated and somehow made cooking, gossip and becoming just Mrs xyz their aim in life, I feel some solace. Thats sadistic or whatever but then I fell, well you are not faring too badly. This should not be the thought process, this relative sense of being productive should not be the source of fulfillment but as I said I confess, it sometime is. Then, I try and coax them into applying at places. Reading sometimes opens up another way of life, right now I can see what I do to feel better as I can compare my life with Gandhi. His devotion to working not for some personal gain, but out of compassion he felt for all those who were at the receiving end of an unjust society. Hope these purify my own comfort seeking ways.
Just wondering but maybe the way we were meant to be, just as nature is, animals are, that was the way to exist in the moment. We deconstructed it and created all artificial system, those which were never meant to be and created causes of unhappiness. Reading Gandhi, I am trying to do compulsory physical labor everyday and it feels good. Still scanning the memory files for that cheerful thing I wanted to share!
Somedays when it is silent and leaves turn dark
I sit by my heart and whisper smiles
It is alright to be tired, brittle and even broken
It is alright to palpitate and tremble
Frozen heart, thaws and speaks to me in tired beats
Yes, it is alright to tear you apart
I smile and we survive pain with pain
Easy as that!
Pic: A migratory bird on a silk cotton tree near my house.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Dusk gathers over the dense green treetops. Spring flowers are blooming in the garden, once in a while mild fragrance of sweet peas and mary golds travels lightly on evening breeze. Moments trickle, sometimes I feel that after childhood, when time seems to crawl at an easy pace, life is like that sublimation in chemistry lab. One day and then one year flits by and you are gathering the strands, children, buying for the house that feels like a bottomless pit and some rare silent moments.
What is it about being adults that steals away the joy and excitement of living each morning, noon and night like a child does. I remember as a kid I had this friend Sapna, she and I were so happy together that our parents had a difficult time taking us to home after a get together. What did we do? We roamed the vast wild fields fingers entwined and mostly were in a dream land of our making. A building under construction would transform into the most intriguing place. The drums with white lime would become boiling milk as we stirred them and poured more water to see the foam rising due to the reaction. We tried to avoid her brother who would tail us relentlessly and howl complaints to our parents. In scorching heat of summer, we would look for broken pieces of glass to make a funny watch, dunno why we called it a watch as it was just bits of colourful shards beneath glass. We would move our fingers till a round space cleared and we could see bits of coloured stuff. These were the most joyous moments. She and I would lie in the noons reading comics and I adored her for a special habit, she would endlessly comb my hair with her fingers. Amazingly that bond of affection is still there and no matter how long we have not spoken to each other, when we talk it is like continuation of that sheer joy of playing together, just doing nothing special but being in that moment. At one point we even took a silly vow of marrying, it was dusk and the sun dipped beneath the green running track. The sky was peach and we were so stirred with our friendship that we took vows to be together, seeking sun to be the witness! Now I laugh at our sincerity while we imitated adults, but it was pure joy in all its splendor. I will call her now to remind her of those silly vows. Hope that innocence visits me and you again with all its pure bliss and beauty.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Warm spring breeze caressing the blossoms. There are days when the heart's soil is so numb. Why we live and why we die, no one knows. Funny how so many elements get together to create a collective 'me' and this me goes through the ferocious storms raging in mind and soul.
What do I want with my life? Reading Gandhi has led to a realisation that life is just not about self. There is little time years have gone by without sharing and now time is ripe to start giving away. If this body is given the grace to live and enjoy, it better spent itself in giving and making a difference every day, as a start and every hour when one reaches that plane.
Today, as I was heading to IIT, at a crossing I saw some eunuchs begging, I gave some change but was about to ask her why she was begging when her limbs were alright, I dropped the idea.
Like a flower is placed on the feet of an idol, I bow this head and place it on creator's feet. Lead me to do what I was meant to do here on Earth. If the wisdom is lost, lead me to the light.
Salt in my heart grits the delicate beats
The ocean evaporated and salt remains Finished reading this book and it ends with the assassination of Gandhi. Feeble after the fast, he would still spin cotton on his wheel as he believed that ' bread taken without labour is stolen bread'. Reading this book that is as much about Gandhi as India's independence, I realised that he was a man who grasped the truth when he saw it. Once while boarding Johannesburg-Durban train an English friend gave him John Ruskin's 'Unto This Last', Gandhi read this book all night and made a vow, he would give away all his possessions. According to Ruskin riches were a tool to secure power over men. A labourer served the society as much as a Doctor or a Lawyer and the life of labour, of tilling the soil was worth living. Gandhi was doing very well as a lawyer those days with an income of 5000 pounds a year. This thought process had begun in his mind since the past two years. He would do his own laundry, cut his own hair, clean his toilet and had delivered his last child. He settled his family in a farm with few friends and Gandhi's life took on a pattern that would rule it until the death. A renunciation of material possessions and striving to satisfy human needs in the simplest manner, coupled with communal existence in which all labour was equally valued. He also took the vow of sexual continence, this had been nagging issue since he had questioned his indulgence in carnal pleasures as his father lay on the death bed. It is this force of truth that gave him such power over the Indian masses. During his fasts he subsisted on lukewarm water and bicarbonate of soda and as the life would ebb out, the masses would give up violence and gather around him and promise to be brothers. He loved with his heart every human and it seems he had risen much above the divisions of cast, religion and colour. Seems he had reached beyond the individual to the collective, where all living entities are merely extensions of a whole. I will be reading more on this great man and share it with all. Working on reuse, reduce, recycle, we got a blender jar for a very old mixer that husband had bought when he was eighteen. Amazingly we got a new jar that fits perfectly. This brings me to rural areas, it is just the Indian cities that are now into the Western mode of use and throw. The moment you move to the suburbs and villages, you see old plastic buckets stitched up, innovative use of things like plastic bags and another sore sight, mountains of non degradable plastic that cities consume and dump in landfills that pollute the suburbs and little towns beyond. Reading Gandhi, one thing is clear, the things he believed in would have led to a world where everyone was happy, not a fistful of rich people like today, who sadly lead a life that is happy(Is drug, indiscriminate sex and corruption happy?). Still, the illusion is being heaped with such deadly skill by equally corrupt media. Percolating from those strata to those who look up to this fancy world, not knowing that the woman who they want to emulate sleeps when drugged or the man who looks so suave racing his ferrari has a heart bathed in guilt, how he cheated the investors and is now cheating himself with this pretty toy. Falsehood upon falsehood and now they say its recession, the crooks think they are smart but the creator is smarter, unless we do not accept the balance, there might be passing moments of gratification but no real peace. Dunno just putting down what is going on in my mind right now. On a lighter note, have discovered rare pleasure in licking the plates with solidified jaggery. Why do we eat as we think humans should? As children I am sure all of us have licked milk as a kitten does or ran with bread just as a dog snatches and runs away with the prize! Dunno again but I love to smell my kids and act like a mamma cat or mamma dog frolicking with its litter. Am I a bit off centre or everybody does it? I even love to bark and tug at their clothes and lick their arms and hands. Maybe I was a dog in my previous birth, was a piled piper of dogs as a kid! Enough of this peace to all... Pic: A simple kitchen in a Himalayan village, the floor is pasted with cow dung and mud(it's scientifically proven, cow dung is anti septic). Thankfully such simplicity is every where except cities of India.