Monday, December 13, 2010

Love n Life

Even if love knew bounds
I'd live unconstrained
Even if the wind knew direction
I'd live unconditional
Even if the sun knew limitation
I'd live to the fullest
And even if God exercised distrection
I'd love you beyond imgination...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Let there be light!!!

A special Diwali message from His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji: -

Hearty Diwali greetings to all of you. Diwali is the festival of light. Light signifies wisdom. We need to globalize wisdom today. People of various cultures, religions and nationalities will have to come together and realize we are a part of one human family. Let us on this auspicious occasion of Diwali resolve to spread peace, to unite people in love and celebration and to bring prosperity in society. This is the occasion to let go of all past bickerings and misunderstandings and once again come together in a spirit of celebration.

All the best to everyone of you.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nothing of Nothing

A change has come upon me
a peace and quiet descended
No troubled waters, no hurricane
a joy with enthusiasm blended.

I can’t quiet say what’s happening
what’s happened or what will
A blissful peace has found its place
in creations mundane drill

Every curve, every contour, every breath
is so perfect
The silence has found its way
to the deepest depth

Nothing seems important now
nothing needs less respect
A nothing seems to have filled me
till nothing of nothing is left...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Me

The strength of a woman with the grace she deserves
The levelheadedness of a man with the ambition he aspires

The innocence of childhood with the laughter of that image
The flamboyance of youth with the respect of age

The pictures that you see beholds me in its frame
A vibrant character in life's massive game...

Friday, October 22, 2010

How to succeed in business: Meditate

Stumbled upon this fantastic piece in the Fortune Magazine... its old, but worth a read...

With hellish hours and info overload now the norm, the C-Suite set is turning to extreme meditation to cope, says Fortune's Oliver Ryan.

By Oliver Ryan, Fortune writer-reporter

July 20 2007: 9:05 AM EDT (Fortune Magazine) –

The crowd of Harvard Business School alums who gathered at their reunion to hear networking expert Keith Ferrazzi speak earlier this summer might have expected to pick up strategies on how to work a room, remember people's names, or identify mentors. But tactical skills, it turns out, aren't what turned Ferrazzi into a bestselling author or sought-after speaker.

Instead Ferrazzi let his fellow alums in on a little secret. The key to connecting, he told the group, is "not being an a**hole." And the most effective path he's found? Meditation. Exercise and prayer work too, he said, but meditation has been so effective that he now spends ten days every year at a silent meditation retreat. In other words, the man whose latest book is "Never Eat Alone" credits much of his success to alone time.

Meditation has been around for thousands of years, but not so long ago extended retreats or programs that banned speech were reserved for aging rock stars or college students on the ten-year plan. And while the practice isn't exactly mainstream in corporate America, more and more executives are open to anything that might help them thrive in - or temporarily disconnect from - today's BlackBerry-addled ADD business climate.

Meditation devotees include junk-bond-king-turned-philanthropist Mike Milken; Bill George, the former Medtronic (Charts, Fortune 500) CEO; ad industry mogul Renetta McCann; and NBA coach Phil Jackson. Silicon Valley is full of meditators, such as Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce.com (Charts), and Larry Brilliant, head of Google's philanthropic efforts. Naturally, a crew of Google (Charts, Fortune 500) employees has organized twice-weekly open meditation hours, at which it has hosted Tibetan monks and a team of mind-science researchers.

C-Suite strategies

Particularly hard-core is Bob Shapiro, the former CEO of Monsanto (Charts, Fortune 500), who has done three ten-day silent retreats and is considering a 30-day tour. He must certainly be the first person to serve simultaneously on the boards of the New York Stock Exchange and the Center for the Contemplative Mind in Society.

Shapiro says that meditation has improved his ability to listen and to think creatively - and there's an increasing amount of scientific evidence to back that up. Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin at Madison has, among other experiments, used cranial electrodes and MRI scans to study Tibetan monks on loan from the Dalai Lama. His basic finding: The brain functioning of serious meditators is "profoundly different" from that of nonmeditators - in ways that suggest an elevated capacity to concentrate and to manage emotions. He calls meditation a "kind of mental training."

The retreat, however, is only the start. Back home, students are advised to meditate twice a day. Shapiro admits he struggles to find the time, but he also notes an old saying: "If you can't spend half an hour meditating, you need an hour."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Piecing the Jigsaw

The prospect of living my individuality has always excited me. Painting my life with vivid streaks of my unique personality has been my most cherished dream. As a schoolgirl, I was perennially in awe of the strong, the bold, the fabulous, the rebel and the recluse. At 18, the threshold of a new life, I essentially wanted to be, a bit of all of these. A fabulous girl, rebel at heart, strong in the mind, bold in action and a recluse to the core. After my class 12 board exam and an unsuccessful attempt at making it into the country’s premier law institute, I thought that the dream to live my life-my way, was all but shattered. To cut a long story short, I realized like everyone does, that every cloud has a silver lining. To my amazement, the unfortunate events of the past had actually opened the door to a new life for me. The depressions of the recent past forgotten, I marched forward, to begin life in a hostel, in a different city far away from home!

The train chugged in on the platform bringing me to my destination- Pune. It’s just a 22 hour journey from Bangalore, not much actually. Yet, with this journey, life as I knew it- changed- now and forever! My new life at the ILS Law College breathed of my individuality, within the framework of the Paying Guest rules. From figuring out breakfast to what to wear- each day was topped with decisions I had to make. Mind you! I came from a school, where uniforms complete with the name badges were the norm even in class 11 and 12. If that wasn’t enough, I had a lovingly overprotective family which made most decisions in my best interests.

Soon enough though, everything was under my control- including the weekly call made back home. I was running my own life, on the modest monthly allowance given by my father. But I swelled in pride when I was budgeting and shopping. The weekly toilet cleaning, the hanging and picking of washed and dried clothes was stuff that I didn’t particularly enjoy doing. The rest, I did smiling and happy with many a song on my lips. Hostel life with its myriad experiences was enthralling to say the least.

It was one such rather busy day. We had Morning College so that gave me most afternoons free to research for various college activities or just enjoy an idyllic evening. That July afternoon, I didn’t feel like anything particularly. So, I decided to give the library and reading room a skip. I headed straight to my room. Dark clouds loomed large and thunder threatened to replace itself with huge water droplets. Hopping into one of those 6 seater autorickshwas, that Pune boasts of in plenty, I scurried back. It was a short walk from the auto stand to my room. Plenty of small eateries also known as the tapries, dotted the walk and of course, many grandpa gulmohar trees provided shade. The rain gods were exceptionally pleased that day. Knowing my love for them, descended in all their might and left me drench to the bone.

I scampered into my room and quickly changed into fresh clothes. I later opened my room door to view the small veranda and tall canopy of trees beyond. I’ve always loved the rains and the earthy smell of fresh, wet mud. This time, however, as I sat at the doorstep of my PG accommodation and gazed out, memories of home came flooding into my heart.

My brother and I would return from school drenched in the rains and splashed with slush, in spite of our raincoats. Mummy would frown disapprovingly but hand us fresh towels, nonetheless. Once we’d changed, a warm cup of milk and some pakodas or fried nuts would greet us. Anyone who has lived in Bangalore knows that when it rains in Bangalore it pours. The joy of a hot cuppa in the cool monsoon breeze with a few stray droplets dashing against your skin… aahhh Heaven!!! Here I was in Pune looking at the raindrops slid down the leaves of the jasmine and seep into the earth. Mummy wasn’t around to hand me hot milk, nor was brother around for us to jump in puddles. In that instant, I don’t think there was anyone lonelier than me. My heart ached for the familiar sights and smells of home. Just the thought of making me a cup of steaming hot soup seemed demanding. I felt a warm fluid run down my face… I was glad it was raining so no one knew if the trickle was tears or rain drops.

Later that evening, I called home- it was time for that weekly call anyway. I had overcome the emotion of that afternoon and life seemed to have reverted to normal gear once again. I said ‘hello’ like I always did- the first question I heard my mother ask me was if I was ok. She said I didn’t sound alright. At that moment, the shoddy job that I had done, of putting my heart together, came apart. I didn’t say much, but I heard. I heard a lot of things that went unsaid. I heard my heart say all those little things that had been locked away.

In my first monsoon in Pune, I realized that there was more to me behind the fa├žade of running my own life and feeling proud about it. The strength I boasted of was not even skin deep and the individuality I craved for meant absolutely nothing. I was little more than a girl who wanted the warmth of home and her people. A child who wanted to be pampered and be part of the limelight. A grownup who still sought solace in sharing the small stories of the day. An adult who was scared of letting the torrents of time pave a new destiny. I learnt my first lessons of adult life; no matter how grown up I’ll be, there’s always a little child inside who seeks love and no matter where I look for it, there is no place like home and no support like family. No matter how harsh the trial or how deep the test, all I needed to do, is dip into that pool of unconditional love and strength that existed just for me.

That afternoon rain opened to me a new window of understanding life and the relationships we build. Here I was, young and energetic, looking forward to a new life and forging new relationships. While I did just that, what I also did was leave behind many of the old ones. With every relationship I put behind me, I lost a bit of myself on the way. Every new relationship built, showed me a newer, brighter tomorrow and a part of me, I had never known. Yet, when someday, like this rainy afternoon, I needed to piece the jigsaw together; I needed not just the new pieces, but the old ones as well.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We are what we eat

It’s a story that has always fascinated me. A story in the Upanishad’s (ancient spiritual texts) which talks about a young boy asking his Guru (Spiritual Master) ‘What is brahaman?’ to which the Guru responds saying, ‘Anna Brahama’. Undoubting, the little boy goes and meditates upon this answer given by the Guru. The story goes on to say that, 4 more such one line answers later, the boy finally achieves enlightenment. The spirituality of the whole story besides, just that food can be equated with God or Godliness was something that amazed me. So, I decided to explore and experiment.

Being the foodie that I am, I loved this experiment. I ate different kinds of food on different days and saw what it did to my mind and body. Ate spicy stuff and saw my mood swing, ate stale food and saw my mind plummet, ate raw vegetables and saw energy spurts. After a couple of months of experimenting, I started observing others and seeing what food did to them. The results were startlingly similar to what I had experienced when performing the experiment on myself.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans...

I recieved this in an email forward... This one truly deserves a read... Hope this lifestyle/attitude culture moves forward - even if slowly.Don't know who the author is, but as long as the message gets conveyed, it doesn't matter......

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results.. Therefore, we have come to possess a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

1. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
2. Stockholm has 500,000 people.
3. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, are some of its renowned companies. Volvo even supplies NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden , one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work).

The first day, I didn't say anything, neither the second or third days. One morning I asked him, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot."

To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, don't you think that whoever gets in late will need a place closer to the door?" Imagine my face.

Now-a-days, there's a movement in the world named Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart, Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Down.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fuelled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being".

French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity driven up by 20%..

This slow attitude has come to the notice of USA , the pupils of the fast and "do it now" brigade.

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means re-establishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living. It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive work place where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do.

It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence.

In the movie, 'Scent of a Woman', there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now."
To which Al Pacino responds, "A life is lived in an instant."
Then they dance the tango!

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious to live for the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists.

We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Janamashtami- a new perspective

That time of the year when Nand Ghar Anand Bhayo rings loud and clear. When butter and milk and kheer are wolfed down without guilt... Yesterday and today have been days and nights of celebration. Lots of singing and dancing to celebrate the birthday of one of the most colourful Hindu God- Krishna. While we wish Lord Krishna- A very happy birthday, its also good to know what the celebrations really mean... There is much more to the Janmashtami celebrations than just fasting, dancing, singing, feasting, listening to the Bhagwat (stories of Krishna) and meditating. This piece by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji gives a new perspective to the celebrations. Read on...

Janamashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Ashtami is significant as it indicates a perfect balance between the seen and the unseen aspects of reality; the visible material world and the invisible spiritual realm.

Krishna’s birth on Ashtami signifies his mastery of both the spiritual and material worlds. He is a great teacher and a spiritual inspiration as well as the consummate politician. On one hand, he is Yogeshwara (the Lord of Yogas — the state to which every yogi aspires) while on the other, he is a thief.

The unique quality of Krishna is that he is at once more pious than the saints and yet a thorough mischief-monger! His behavior is a perfect balance of the extremes — perhaps this is why the personality of Krishna is so difficult to fathom. The avdhoot is oblivious to the world outside and a materialistic person, a politician or a king is oblivious to the spiritual world. But Krishna is both Dwarkadheesh and Yogeshwar.

Krishna’s teachings are most relevant to our times in the sense that they neither let you get lost in material pursuits nor make you completely withdrawn. They rekindle your life, from being a burnt-out and stressed personality to a more centred and dynamic one. Krishna teaches us devotion with skill. To celebrate Gokulashtami is to imbibe extremely opposite yet compatible qualities and manifest them in your own life.


Hence the most authentic way of celebrating Janamashtami is knowing that you have to play a dual role — of being a responsible human being on the planet and at the same time to realize that you are above all events, the untouched Brahman. Imbibing a bit of avadhoot and a bit of activism in your life is the real significance of celebrating Janamashtami.
 
Here's one among my many, many favorite Krishna bhajans. Click and Enjoy! 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nature in my backyard...

Laughter had tinkled across our classroom when in class 6 when we were taught about JC Bose and his experiments with plants. I laughed too yet, from that very evening I stealthily crept into the balcony and sang to my rose bush every day. Voila! It grew better than all the other plants in my sunny little balcony. This was amongst my best kept secrets until of course my brother caught me singing a lullaby and ridiculed me for being such a baby. It’s a vivid image- that healthy plant which I believed swayed to my cacophony. Sensing my interest in gardening, my mother and I slowly began our small kitchen garden- beans, mint, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots- you name it, we grew them. I noticed again, that if we spoke to our dear plants they grew better- healthier, yielded better produce. Not to discount the absolute necessity of good soil and great manure.

Today, many years later, I have my own small kitchen garden and am proud to say that I use no fertilizer. Just lots of good soil, plenty of sunshine, water and tons of love and great vibes- I have a rich harvest of curry leaves, mint leaves, tomatoes and many more in the pipeline… It’s a small step, but I believe it makes a difference. No fertilizers, means that the soil doesn’t get rancid and barren. It also means that I can replant and still yield a good produce (even if in a small pot). Plants in my balcony mean I am green. I am ecofriendly and in sync with the times. It’s a fashion statement in its own right and surely works to beautify my home’s interiors. Herbs that I grow mean I can garnish my cooking with well, garden fresh herbs! It also means that in case of a cold or a sore throat, I can pluck a few leaves of tulsi or holy basil, brew it in steaming water and ward away the illness. Plants in my home mean a dash of music every day, a smattering of love and lungs full of fresh air. It also means a smile on my face as I tend to nature- flourishing right in my backyard.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

India's Diadem

She is exuberant to her youth, a companion to those with many a silver hair, a task mistress to the unrelenting, charming to the poet, inspiring to the artist and a goddess to the believer. She is every color in the rainbow. She is extraordinary in her ability to be a shade of everything and everyone that she houses. She is India: incredible and glorious in every aspect. She is a country of love and acceptance. She is a nation of diversity. She is a country of abundance. In that India, we live.

India! Everything from population to languages, from cuisine to costumes - is in plenty here. A country that is home to so much variety and color cannot but be a melting pot of cultures, traditions and humanity. With such vivaciousness about her, it is no mean task to identify the tiara but I believe I’ve found the biggest and brightest shining diamond - the diadem of Incredible India.

Click here to read the rest of the article...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A quest...

It’s a desire… may be a little more than that, may be a little lesser. But it’s a desire all the same. To be loved. To be sought after. To be craved for. To be the mistress. To be the slave. To be the best. To be looked up to.

A desire yes! On the face of it.

And to fulfill that desire… there are the wants… a diamond ring to outshine the rest. A curvy look to be the temptress. A table over loaded with the much sought after feast not to forget the huge pile of gifts. Wanting to please others. Wanting to be wanted. Wanting to be cared for…

Wait! Is that confusing!!! That I said was a desire… a desire to be cared for. A desire to be wanted… and also a want to be craved for… a want… a desire… a desire… a want… want... Desire. Desire Want. Want. Desire. Desire. Want…

But look beyond… actually look through it… pierce the want, look at desire. Bare its soul to you and you’ll see the truth… no desire. No want. No complimenting. No fulfilling.

Just a quest. A thirst. To feed your soul on love in its various glorious forms…

You don’t desire. You don’t want. You simply seek fulfillment and that; you look for outside of you… instead of where it really lies... buried deep within the depth of your own eyes. Like water droplets that seep into the ground and you can never separate them again… so also, our thirst for unconditional love, for bliss is part of our deepest longing… the only true desire or want that we’ve ever had is that of love- unconditional, free of all entanglements.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Abundance...

Over the last few days, the most predominant thought or rather feeling has been of plentitude. Life has a strange way of giving soooo much... plenty of everything. So much work; so much spare time; so much activity; so much rest; so much of longing; so much of dispassion; so much of everything; so much of nothing...

In fact as I realized, even the feeling of neglect and lack is in plenty. Most people really feel the lack or dearth in life. And that feeling is so strong and so deep; it doesn’t come superficially- it comes like a gushing wave and sweeps over us. That’s life, giving its fullest to us always. All that matters is what use we put it to.

With a power so profound working all the time, it is a little wonder that we haven’t mastered the art of making it work for us. If we look at it rather closely, life only gives us what we are thinking/ wishing/ dreaming deep down. So, for instance, if you are wishing that the cup doesn’t break, your deepest sentiment is fear of the cup breaking… So, life does just that, goes ahead and smashes the cup!

For those of you who have read The Secret, you know that this is true. I am not just quoting from the book. I have been lucky in many aspects of life. One of them being that I received this profound knowledge very early in life when Gurudev His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji spoke about Intention, Attention, Manifestation. Being the brat that I was, I never really implemented it. But then, like many other important things, this one also got tucked away, safely in a corner of my over active brain.

Some years ago, suddenly people were talking about movies and books that drew inspiration from ancient knowledge. Indian Spirituality they called it. What that means I’ve never understood, given that spirituality can’t be divided least of all geographically. That besides, with all the talk of spirituality and dreams, secrets and matrixes going on, that’s when unbidden, this knowledge raised its hood and ruffled its feathers inside me. Like a fad that comes and gets a grip of everyone, I brought this knowledge into my practical life and reaped a rather rich harvest. Not only was I growing materially, but something inside me seemed calmer, happier and content. But a fad is just that, as impactful and rushed is its entry, so is its exit. With the talk dying down and me getting all that I had wanted anyway… the knowledge was put to sleep again, down in the depth of my mind.

Then, recently came Inception, and with it, once again Intention, Attention and Manifestation came to the forefront. Thankfully, this time it isn’t only about fulfilling some desires and growth etc. This time, when the wisdom resurfaced for me, it opened new doors of understanding. An understanding that might help me tap into the infinite power of the universe. A step towards the realization that the seed contains in itself the tree, the fruit, the leaves, the branches, the buds and the flowers. The awareness about my thoughts manifesting as a reality in my life…

The result of that awareness has been a spontaneous recognition of the abundance in life, in nature, within me and every single thing and person that comprises my existence. Abundance, plentitude… the lavishness of it all stare’s in my face and leaves me with a million dollar smile…

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beyond the darkest dot...

I desired to make it happen
So, for long hours I thought
I worked and saw and analyzed
Beyond the darkest dot.

Then one day before spring came
I formed the sheltered plot
With the fresh new leaves and the spots of green
I actualized my deepest thought.

As the green grew deep and the swings did sweep
I built on all my want
When the first drops fell and the stream did swell
I drew the larger font.

Then came the fall, all harsh and small
In wilderness I did wander
The trees went barren, the wind howled like a distressed heron
The dry leaves took along with them, the thoughts that I did ponder.

In the testing cold and bitter times
No footprints did I see
Time went by lost and forlorn… I almost breathed my last
At that very breath, in the deepest frost, I saw the golden sea…

I basked in its beauty
A new life it gave, a new vision for me to see
And somewhere deep down in life
I felt innate tranquility.

As the sea grew deep and prettier indeed
I reflected on all that I squandered
I knew now what I forgot
I knew now that I was peace… I was what I always sought

And so I desired, and so I thought
And analyzed beyond the darkest dot
Coz now I knew what I forgot…
That spring would come after the frost.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Loving... Love itself!

Was it the moon hiding amidst the clouds or was it just the whites of her eyes behind the veil of her thick lashes? Was that slight upward curve of the luscious lips, a sign that she craved for more? Was the flutter of her eyelids a manner of enticing me into the deep and long corridors of romance? As I gazed into the thicket of her tresses slightly ruffled by the wind and the careless flick of her fingers, I noticed the vivid pink shade on her nails saw the fine lines on her palm and was lured. Just how long I sat there, lost in what seemed paradise to me, I know not. After all I was mesmerized in praising something that nature had created with ever so much care, so much love and devotion… for in those moments, I loved love itself!

And when I was aroused from that slumber… lost in dreams of greater beauty, romance and love, neither was she there, nor was her sensuous scent. What she left behind was an overwhelming feeling of fullness, a heart that was bursting to bloom, and a smile that pervaded my very being.

                                                              The Light of Love
                                       

Monday, July 26, 2010

Until the candles burn along...

The angels came together
They danced in utmost glee
The Mozarts of all the times
Composed seductive cacophony.

The candles in all their scent
Lit up, shone bright and warm
The flowers in all their dainty
Blossomed, beautiful and calm.

You weren’t there and yet you were
I’ve waited and I will wait still long
The words are there, the rhythm too
I’ll wait till we are the song.

I sat and watched, you weren’t there
Yet I’ve felt you in deep and strong
I’ll wait for you, however long
I’ll wait till you come along.

The music shan’t die, the candles can’t burn out
The flowers can never droop
No dance can stop, no moon can wane
Until I have the hope.

I shall wait, and wait, forever long
I shall wait till you come
Till the cacophony, the flowers and me
And candles can burn along.

PS. I wrote this one many years ago, stumbled upon it during the weekend house cleaning and decided to post it... :) It's amazing the stuff that can tumble out of your cupboard when you least expect it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Million Magical Moments

What’s a pilgrimage but a million magical moments strung together on the path of belief, hope and prayer. I’ve just returned from experiencing infinite peace on one such journey. During the monsoon months, the lean phase of mountain top pilgrimages, over 15000 people trek up the Trikuta Hills. The peak season handles traffic of over 50,000 pilgrims a day. For some pilgrims, it’s a vacation in the Himalaya’s, for others, an adventure trip but, for most it is a walk of faith. Whatever the motivation, the pilgrimage to the Maa Vaishno Devi Shrine, situated atop the Trikuta Hills close to Jammu, is nothing short of magical.

The spiritual trek up the mountains is filled with loud jaikara’s* sounded by walking pilgrims, the clank of wooden lathis, trotting ponies, the stray palkhi, the occasional dholak and groups of young dancing pilgrims. At Katra, the base of the hills, one needs to buy the Yatra Parchi or Pilgrim’s passport, as I like to call it. This parchi basically insures you against any accident that might take place in the hilly terrain. The biggest insurance is the presence of Maa, herself, but something tangible is good too, so the parchi works well. Also, unless each pilgrim has the yatra parchi, they are not permitted to begin the pilgrimage.

The 17 odd kms journey begins at Banganga and ends at Bhairon Ghati. With 2 major stops on the way:- Aardhkuwari and The Bhawan. The Bhawan is the sanctum sanctorum of the Mother Divine. In this Holy Shrine, the Universal Mother has manifested herself in 3 rock formations, known as the pindis. The temple does not house any idol or pictures- only the Divine Mother manifested in the Pindis in all her glory. The journey along the steep winding road itself is beyond words. While nature stuns you with her bounty, the light of longing in the eyes of the pilgrims keeps you marching forward.


Refreshment is provided in plenty along the route and many a weary traveller take a nap under the sheds.
The entire path is well paved and tiled, making the walk easier. The pilgrimage to Maa Vaishno Devi’s abode does not require a great deal of money, other than getting to Jammu and back—a very good pair of shoes and some light woolens. What it does require, however, is an investment of time and energy and a desire to dip in the pool of faith.

Standing in the Bhawan, head bowed before the Divine Mother, is an experience inexpressible. Waves of devotion and love wash over us taking with it the weariness of the walk, the fatigue of life and the troubles of the mind.

On returning to base camp, any conversation about the pilgrimage is more about the journey than the destination. Journeys, filled with aches, blisters, sprains and exhaustion from walking. I’ve experienced it myself the test of endurance. But, this isn’t just another expedition, and so, even as pilgrims struggle to walk those steep miles, their smiles are virtually unshakable. Looking back, I staunchly feel that the journey to the shrine was among the best experiences of my life.

As I narrate my experience, all I can say, is that this trek is akin to scaling the mountain of self-doubt and ignorance. When you finally summit and enter the Bhawan, you will meet yourself. A new you- emerging from within the heart of rock, refreshed and strong, breathing of peace, joy and love.

I returned home wishing this pilgrimage never ended. That’s when I stumbled upon this quote by one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho, ‘Life itself is a pilgrimage. Every day is different; every day can have a magic moment.

My pilgrimage has only just begun… yours?

* Jaikara- Words of praise to the All Mighty said loudly. At the Maa Vaishno Devi Shrine, among the more popular Jaikara's are:
Jaikara Sherawali Da. Bol Saache Darbar ki Jai
Jai Mata Di
Holy scriptures esp. the Sikh holy scriptures suggest that when you say your Jaikara, say it so the moutains shake and the skies crack wide open!

Monday, July 12, 2010

It’s a four letter word called F***

It can wreak havoc in the most peaceful of lives. It can make the strongest of the strong, go weak in their knees. A word that can turn the world as you knew it- your world- upside down. An emotion that can wipe away all your fancy notions about your own self. Well, I am not talking about mushy stuff or love… I am talking about icy cold and absolute FEAR!

My fellow passengers on board the Indigo flight bound to Jammu clutched their seat arms, in fright. The cabin crew was staggering and the captain voiced an alert. The air pocket wasn’t going to be easy. I could feel fear in air. Yet, here I was squealing in delight. I was thrilled and was enjoying the adrenaline rush, much to the dismay of both my husband and my brother. I even poked fun at them about their twinge of fear. Little did I know that within 24 hours, the very emotion I had scoffed at would bring me to tears.

After trekking uphill a full 15 kms or more, various hidden muscles of my body decided to reveal their presence. I had another 2 km to trek and knew that my feet wouldn’t move an inch. That’s when my husband, brother and I came to a consensus that we could take the pony ride up to the Bhairon Nath Temple. We had seen many pilgrims take the ponies at Katra, the base of the Trikuta Hills. Though I wasn’t very comfortable with the idea, I decided to give it a shot. After all, I had done the major portion of the Maa Vaishno Devi Yatra on foot. All that was left was to visit the Baba BhaironNath shrine. It wouldn’t hurt that I took the pony.

After some bargaining, both the men jumped on their ponies and were seated in absolute comfort within moments. It gave me courage- the smiles on their faces and their confident demeanor. The ponies strutted and sometimes almost slipped, but the men didn’t seem too bothered. The horse trainer was of course running beside. Clumsily I saddled myself. Unexpectedly I realized how precariously poised I was. I chanted and sang the Jaikara’s that had been ringing in my ears during the night long walk up to Mata Ka Darbar or Bhawan as the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Maa Vaishno Devi Shrine is more popularly known. But the monster of fear that had raised its head in the depth of my heart, refused to dunk its head. But I am a strong girl. I knew I would make it. I HAD to make it. After all, I’ve always thought myself to be the rather brave and adventurous sorts.

The rather over grown pony turned and with that action, I felt myself getting more lop sided. I clutched on the small iron handle by the saddle. With a fervent prayer on my lips, I held on to dear life. It was a very cold morning, at 6500 ft above sea level, the cold was almost biting. On horseback, the icy fear that gripped the inside of my being, only made the morning chill worse. The walk way made for pilgrims on the Maa Vaishno Devi Yatra is just enough for 4 lines of people walking- two towards the shrine for the Darshan and another head back to base, after the Darshan. The ponies also squeeze their way through this path.

The rain Gods had showered their blessings just a few hours ago. With some pony poop and slush from pilgrim’s feet, the steep and wet walkway presented a dangerous picture to me. Just as this thought passed my mind, the pony almost slipped and then got back its balance. An incident that fed the monster within me with more fuel than necessary- FEAR gripped my very being. In those few meters that the pony trotted forward, I was more scared than I could imagine. I cried out to the horse trainer to get me off this beast. I didn’t mind if it took me an hour to trek up, but I would walk. Fellow pilgrims saw my plight but, in my situation, only the trainer could help. I cried out loudly. My husband was a good 100 meters ahead but he heard me. ‘Mujhe Uatro Yahan Se. Daar Lag Raha Hain!’ I yelled. (Get me off this. I am scared.) Before I knew, there were fat, warm tears streaming down my cheeks and the trainer helped me off the pony. Siddhartha got off his pony and came to me. He paid the trainers a bit and pacified me. After a while when I was OK, he jested about how unlike me this behavior was. He was disappointed at me developing cold feet on horseback when I was delighted in a rather dangerous air pocket.

But then, FEAR can make you do the strangest things. It can make you behave in ways most unlike you and most importantly, can raise its hood anytime- without any warning…

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It doesn't hurt that meditation has become 'cool'

It all began with an eyesore...the cubicled atmosphere of plush air-conditioned offices, the 'I am busy' look my colleagues wore whenever they looked up from their work stations, the back-to-back meetings and incessant IMs...

That's when I knew I needed a vacation; a vacation from the mobile phone, from Outlook, from IM, from work, from fun, from Facebook, Twitter, blogging -- from the noisy, task-laden vuvuzela that has become my life.

While I mulled over the perfect vacation destination, an e-mail caught my fancy -- a four-day meditation course promised me not just stress relief, but a deeper understanding of life and beyond. Bracing myself for the company of the silver-haired, I headed to the Art of Living International Centre in Bangalore to attend the meditation programme. What I saw there was bewildering and far removed from what I expected.

The rest of the post in my article on rediff.com here

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Things we do to kill time as we chug along…

The settings: - A cubical in one of the compartments of a train run by the Indian Railways. The blue seats in that passenger train headed to Bangalore. The fans are all on, yet people are sweating profusely. The 4 people at the window seats spend a lot of time opening and downing the shutters- both the evils giving no less respite than the other. In sometime, even the seats start radiating the heat. Through this, the continuous onslaught of snack vendors screaming to make a few rupees and the occasional song performances by the urchins. This is where I sat un-intrusively observing… And here is an account of what I saw:-

 
This is the story of 8 people who were forced to spend much more than their stipulated time together. This train isn’t the preferred choice of anyway travelling from Hyderabad to Bangalore. After all, it’s a passenger train. It is not my pick either. Anyway, here I was, bound Bangalore-wards, unable to contain the joy of going home… and the train is re-routed (I hear something about an accident on the normal line). Even before the first green signal, the TT tells us we will be about an hour or so late. That’s the start to our journey. (Even as I write this at noon the next day, we are still easily an hour and a half away from our destination) Here are my observations of what we all did to kill time while Home-Sweet-Home was oh! so far away… 
  • Reading: The more intellectual of the lot, after passing the customary glances at everyone around and even managing to return a smile or two, opened the back pack (that almost all such intellectuals will cherish). Out came a not so fat, but well bound book and the reader was was then lost into the wealth of knowledge that the words offered. It is interesting what people read while travelling- the mid-level management from a techie workforce inevitably has some management related book- most probably a Harvard Business Review. I am impressed by the choice of the book my co-passenger is browsing- ‘Influencer- the power to change anything’. Given the intensity with which the book is being devoured, I have mentally made up my mind to attempt reading this one, sometime... may be! I walked through the other cubicles, the younger college goers have in hand a Jeffry Archer or a Sidney Sheldon (it’s amazing isn’t it, how these authors continue to rule hearts and minds of generations of youth) and then, there are some of the older aunties and uncles who have in hand the Lalita Sahastranamam or the Venkatesh Stotram. I simply love the gamut of thoughts that one can see and perceive all within one small cubicle.
  • Praying: Yes, praying! Come On! You should have seen that coming, given that the Lalita Sahastranamam and the Venkatesh Stotram’s are being dwelled upon, the rosary cannot be far behind. A Khan Uncle, complete with his topi was busy with the rosary. A little earlier, I had even seen someone do their pranayama and meditations. That is divine utilization of time! I ventured to talk to the person immersed in this higher pursuit of The Self and was surprised to hear what he had to say about the power of the breath. Something on the lines of “90 per cent of the toxins in the body can be released through the breath. We, however, utilize not more than 30 per cent of our lung capacity…”
  • Watching Movies: In complete oblivion of his surroundings, another of my co-passengers was watching a Tamil movie. It is funny sometimes when people use new technology, but don’t put it to good use. This guy was the perfect example for not utilizing technology… not only did he watch the movie, he ensured that all of us around him could hear it too… At any rate, I love all the gadgets that people travel with- the most acclaimed i-pod, the almost redundant Walkman’s, multi-functional mobile phones and yes, people like me, with laptops.
  • Sleeping: Guess this one should have topped the list. Some people can so sleep. Almost as soon as the train sets into motion until the end of the journey. They sit and sleep, they lie down and sleep. I think sometimes people sleep while they are awake- anyway, let us keep the philosophy aside. Sleeping can be such an elaborate activity in itself. The less talked about, the better- cause I firmly believe, that this is one act that you’ve just got to do. :)
  • Munching: It’s lovely, the aroma of freshly squeezed lemon on the bhel. It is great to taste as well. The thanda- thanda buttermilk and of course, the garam – garam cool drinks. Sometimes I think what makes street food so palatable is the fact that it’s a little unhygienic. (That is another issue all together,) but what I am talking about is an act that requires some skill- to be able to eat irrespective of your being hungry. One of my fellow passengers was a vendor’s delight. He’d buy almost everything that was sold on the train and wonders of wonders; he’d eat it up too… first the Dharmavaraam vadas followed by Chikus and then there were oranges and of course Ruffles Lays etc. etc…
  • Inquisitively Intrusive: The next species you’d come across is those who start by chatting up and then begin a friendly interrogation of your life. If you aren’t the chatty types, then you are going to hate this breed of people beside you. I was subject to the torture of one of those on one journey back home (but we’ll leave that story for later. I was just so glad that I could scoot without having to share my phone number and address.) Love them or hate them, you simply can’t ignore these conversation specialists. If you aren’t such a huge socializing person, then chances that you’ve found a great pal are as dim as finding a campfire in the Artic and you’ll just be glad that you are spared the gory details of knowing just about EVERYTHING in their life including what time they prefer to use the bathroom…
  • Playing: After listening to music, looking out of the window, eating, sleeping, wiping the sweat off your brow, finally out comes a pack of cards. Sometimes, I’ve seen a set of Brainvita. There is, of course, the much liked UNO set to play with, but the final winner is invariably the good ol’ pack of playing cards… given that the windows are down, it is really convenient to play! Hand out the cards, thrown them with disdain at the opponent’s lack of skill and expertise and even slap your thighs in celebration. The kids are busy with the rubix cube and the adults with teen pati ;)
  • The truly happy one: It is not me, though my fingers fly on the laptop… the only person in my cubicle I haven’t written about yet, is the one who is so truly happy and is in more ways than one spreading that joy. He has been bundled inside a small bed sheet and is dangling precariously from the upper berth. The motion of the train ensures that he is swinging along. From inside this makeshift cradle, I hear the happy giggles of a six month old. He is amazed by simply looking at his own feet and is in constant wonder at every jerk and stall of the train… After a few rounds of sleeping, crying, eating, laughing and gazing, the little one finds a new attraction- me and my laptop. He is enamored, can’t take his eyes off this gadget :) he decides to sit on my lap and start playing with the new toy… he has run amok with the playing cards and the books already. He now smiles as the new toy is within reach… he is truly, the happy one!

The train chugged along wearily and everyone was busy in the activities of their choice. I almost finished this piece and that’s when a change came over. As we reached Yalahanka, there was a sudden rise in the activity around me. People unlocking their baggage from under the seats, freshening up, the final dash of lipstick, the flick of the comb, the clothes being smoothed… but my mind had taken another flight, the smell of cool fresh air told me that I was home… and that people could do all they wanted on the train; their mode of expression might be as varied as the topography of this beautiful country we call homeland, but the feelings within as all the same- the same joy, the same relief, the same at the core of our being.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Where is the helping hand?

As a country, we’ve long gone from being the golden bird. In the recent past, we’ve always been perceived as a country that is forging ahead; a country that will be a formidable super power. The world has been waiting and watching for that day to dawn. Over the years, much has transpired within India to set speculation rife about which way the country is headed. Yet, one thing that has been a constant source of pride for the country is its spirituality and innate humaneness. From ‘Atithi Devo Bahava’ to the Mahatma’s doctrine of non-violence to the revered Upanishads echoing the ancient sentiment about, loving thy neighbor, India has been seen as the forerunner in all things humane. I am a proud citizen of this country rich in many intangible treasures. Certain incidents in the recent past, have, however, distressed and upset me.

He was headed home. As a bachelor staying away from home, the home going (as the home coming at the destination) was always a momentous occasion. He had been planning a whole week before leaving- gifts for all the relatives, the sweets and snacks for home and of course, the huge pile of old clothes that are to get left behind (making space in the wardrobe for the yet to be bought, new arrivals). The nights before the departure hadn’t been among the best- no electricity, no water and add to that climate change. The upcoming home-going shone like a beacon of light in those dark, gloomy nights. Though glad about getting home, he wasn’t feeling too well when he headed for the Hyderabad airport early in the day. His flight was scheduled for 8:30 am and he felt strangely hungry and weak. As he stood in line to board the flight, the world went dark and blank in front of him. His knees gave away and sweat broke out on his forehead. He groped aimlessly for the nearest support but found none. Somebody held him and made him sit down. The line hadn’t yet started moving. He sat on the floor on the airport bang in the middle of the line and passed out.

A couple of minutes later, he seemed to rise from the stupor and could vaguely identify foot fall. A few more moments and he could make out people circumventing him and moving on… No one had come to offer him help, they simply moved on, like he was a mere stone that lay in their path. A little longer and the never ending line seemed to dwindle. That’s when he mustered the last of his energy and stood up. He staggered through the line to the aircraft and slumped on his seat. Within moments, he was asleep, a disturbingly dreamless sleep that gave him no rest.

A fortnight later when he returned to Hyderabad and to work, he shared this incident with a small bunch of us. I was appalled. No one came to help him? How could people ignore a person in need of help? Were we turning stone hearted? Just as this discussion came up, another friend in the group reminded me of a similar incident that happened with me. I was walking through the office cafeteria and slipped and fell. My first thought had been to save my laptop that I was carrying in my hand. The entire impact of the fall was therefore on my knee and elbow. An involuntary cry had passed my lips, but no one had offered to help. One or two snide people had even sniggered. I had thought of it as bad mojo and dismissed it.

The indignation surrounding that incident and many more such stories I had heard exploded within me when my colleague had described to us what he underwent. Where did that helping hand go? I had seen my parents rush to aid anyone in distress (more often than not, they were strangers); had heard stories of countrymen going out of the way to help another in need. Now I was left wondering if those were just things of the past and tall stories to tell. But then, it isn’t right to gauge everyone by the same meter so… I am left with just one thought, the country might just have its heart in place… whether the citizens do, is another story.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

English ain’t the only funny language…

Who hasn’t guffawed at the age old Tamilian-Punjabi joke- ‘Tamil Terima?’ to which the infuriated Punjabi replies, ‘Punjabi tera baap!’ But, come on, in a country with as many as 22 recognized languages, miscommunication is but inevitable! Add to that numerous dialects, about 847 of them recognized! Misunderstanding is also, but a natural consequence. Yet, what do we do, when a phrase that has multiple meanings in different languages is thrown at us and we are caught unawares??? Well, I was in one of those sticky and terribly embarrassing situations and all I could do was gape and stare…

About 3 years ago, a young journalist came from cosmopolitan Bangalore to slightly conservative Hyderabad. She wore well-fitting jeans, a short pink top, had her shades drawn up on her head and the wedding Chura jingling along. That was me! Anticipating that I would get a day or two settle down before the madness of news catches up with me, I settled down in the CNN-IBN Hyderabad bureau. As journalists, we have this natural instinct to look up at the right television screen at the exact time when an important piece of news breaks. (Those of you who have ever visited a TV media house will know that at the very minimum 6 TVs will be on at any point of time- spieling content from different news channels.)

So, within seconds I was on my toes, running helter-skelter for information and shots and of course, those all elusive bytes… After all, Taslima Nasreen had been beaten up by some Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) activists. With the ever resourceful Venkatesh (my camera person) I managed to get the first bits of information. A couple of phone-ins later, Venkatesh went to get some shots and Raju (another camera person) and I headed to the Police Commissioners Office. Back in Bangalore, the police commissioner’s office is spread over a sprawling couple of acres and boasts of heritage buildings. It was always a pleasure to visit that place- especially on a hot sunny day- the shade from the numerous trees and the juice at the canteen- oh! It was absolutely delightful! Hyderabad, however, has one tall building for the Police Commissioner’s office and my handbag, even the camera bag was checked before we entered under the Door Framed Metal Detectors (DFMD’s- another marked departure from my experience in Bangalore).

Raju and I walked towards the conference room on the 3rd floor. I was about to enter when the then Police Commissioner, Balwinder Singh ji, looked at me, at the door of the room and saw the mike in my hand. (I had spoken to him a little earlier). Given that the Commissioner had looked away from the table, the room full of reporters (almost all of them were men- another difference from the Bangalore reporting scene I noticed) looked over their shoulders to see me enter. Mr. Singh then proceeded to say, “Randi, Randi Shwetal Garu”. The smile on my face vanished almost instantly and I stopped dead in my tracks. What did this man think he was saying? I thought. That too on camera and in front of the entire journalist community; he is the police commissioner for God’s Sake!!! He can’t abuse me and get away. Within a minute all these thoughts and more flashed through my mind. That’s when he repeated himself, “Randi Shwetal Garu”. Now I was furious and it showed on my face. Raju had already gone ahead and was setting up the camera. He came back and smiled and said, “Aaiye Shwetal ji. Woh aapko aandar aane ko bol rahe hain.” As I walked in and everyone’s face turned to the Police Commissioner once again, Raju nudged me and said, Randi means ‘Please Come In’ in Telugu. It is a word used with lots of respect. I resisted heaving a huge sigh of relief, Respect!!! And here I was, furious, cause I only knew the Hindi connotation of the word!

When I got home later that night, I was in splits of laughter… shaken and stirred by the cultural differences and the experiences it can gift us. I’ve stayed in Hyderabad long enough now to know that rape in Telugu doesn’t have the same connotation as it does in English, but, for some reason, I have never been able to say Randi even as a mark of utmost respect…

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Whats in the name??? I'd say a lot!

She is agile… the light but firm footedness of her walk, the grace of her tread and the swiftness of her movement… who wouldn’t be enamored by her! The fullness of her being stirs the depth of many hearts. She brings with her the first sweet dew drops, a breeze of joy and love in the air… Across the world, these bombshells wreak havoc in the hearts of many.

Every year, there is at least one such new girl on the block; a picture that grabs attention; a new name that snatches headline space and is the talk of the town; a name that so many people take, that it almost sounds like chant. Well, I ain’t talking about Victoria Secret’s list of Sexy Things or Time’s annual chartbuster of Beautiful People.

This is a list of all things terrorizingly beautiful; strangely fascinating things at their destructive best. Times when one can’t but be awestruck at the sheer magnanimity of Mother Nature’s creations and her way of bringing back equanimity… This is a list of all those things that we term ‘calamities’ and yet name them with much love and care. This time around, in India, it is all about ‘Laila’.

After Nargis and Nisha in the recent past in the South Asian sub-continent and of course Katrina and Cindy in the Atlantic… Pacific… this time it is Laila. The cyclone has hit coastal Andhra Pradesh and parts of Tamil Nadu. If reports are to be relied upon, damages will be colossal. But then… after having covered many a cyclone, flood and fire… this time around I am more interested in the name.

Apparently, the convention of naming cyclones dates back to the early 20th century when an Australian forecaster named major storms after politicians he disliked. That makes a lot of sense… I can see myself pouring all my dislike for a politician on a cyclone. People are anyway not going to like the cyclone and so they will share my dislike for that name and thus the person. Hence, I would have initiated more people into my fold of politician haters… Oh! Don’t I love it!!! :D

At some places such as the West Indies, they stared naming Cyclones after Revered Saints and with it a belief that all those who have sinned will be wiped off the face of this earth. But then, somewhere along the line, to be more accurate, during World War II, they named a cyclone after a woman! It continued since then… they even have a list of names to dip into when the cyclone or hurricane strikes and only as late as the 1970’s did they add a male name to the list.

Why a woman’s name??? I read many people’s views on this- some were downright chauvinist, others just blabbering but almost everyone had set out to demystify the puzzle. I still don’t know the reason, but come on, I can also give my silly answer to this not so relevant question (I believe that this isn’t such a relevant question given the more urgent and pressing matters that should be addressed). So here is:- World War II, the pilots who spotted the cyclone and its advent had obviously known that they didn’t stand a chance and the first name that came to their mind before he probably yelled his last was his wife or his mother… a last call for help and care from the WOMAN who he knows loves him unconditionally and truly. Named after women, not to say that women are the cause of destruction or depression… but as an indication to love more dearly and truly…

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Labyrinth

I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the last couple of days… when outside of home, at work, wherever and whenever I can steal a few minutes; I am hooked to Wilbur Smith. What a fascinating story he has to tell. While his plot is gripping and the language simple, what amazes me is his attention to detail, the amount of research that has gone into brining out 500 pages of pure pleasure. I was introduced to Wilbur Smith over a year and half ago, even bought a book since it came highly recommended, but finally got down to reading it only about 6 months ago… ever since, I’ve never missed an opportunity to read something he’s written. The newest read is called ‘The Sunbird’, while archeology and history are not my piece of cake; I haven’t been able to take my mind off this book.

Alongside, when I am at home, I am reading ‘Siddhartha’, by Herman Hesse. A fantastic story told ever so simply. A profound truth presented unpretentiously, the reader cannot but be mesmerized. I got this book as a gift when I cleared my class 10 board exams, and have read and re-read it many times. Each time, it opens a new door of understanding, throws some more light on the unexplored mystery of life and makes the re-read such a pleasure. I stand with Siddhartha all night while he awaits his father’s permission to leave home, become a samana, watch him become a merchant; almost dive into the river with him… that’s the magic of Herman Hesse. You won’t just read the book, you’ll actually live it.

And then, there’s a lot of random reading that happens every day- the newspaper, the sign boards on the road, a million emails, facebook status messages, tweets… this that and the other. It’s a little wonder then that this little mind, which has an amazing ability to expand and imbibe, can get a little confused while filing. I saw this confusion so clearly the other night…

I had my fill of bhujia as I voraciously devoured the delights of being a rich, merchant (Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse). It was nearing mid night when I finally clicked the lampshade off. The monotonous drone of the air conditioning and the weariness of a day’s work shepherded me into sleep’s arms. That’s when the mind went into action- it needed to sort out the information overloaded upon it. It is now that I saw distinctly a web, a maze, a myriad labyrinth of thoughts, actions, information, and words criss-crossing and making their way into filing cabinets. It almost seemed like the over whelming and menacing traffic of Hyderabad, just that this was a wee bit more organized. Even as I was watching this activity inside of me, I flew far away from the arms of deep sleep and landed dreamland. This time, however, the dreams were crazy, painted in different hues, made no sense whatsoever and only succeeded in getting me more confused.  
I’ve staunchly believed that creativity and a fertile imagination arise from a mind that is exposed to so many more experiences, which imbibe’ s so much more information. I supposed that originality and imagination sprang from the labyrinth of encounters and thoughts that we caressed inside our minds. Until, I heard the Wise One say that, “Deep silence is the mother of creativity. No creativity can come out of one who is too busy, worried, over-ambitious or lethargic. Balanced activity, rest and yoga can kindle skills and creativity in you.” And then, suddenly, I awoke. The dream lay scattered like ill-fitting pieces of a jigsaw. I pondered on this, can something come from silence, can the best words arise from a depth unknown to us, and can communication happen in silence? Thoughts didn’t help in this case and I decided to give it a shot.

For over a week, every day and every night, I decided to empty myself of all experiences, thoughts, encounters and feelings. Each day, I felt lighter, more at ease and less confused. Dreamland wasn’t as disturbing and there seemed a dazzling clarity in my thought. Later, when I sat to write, the words seem to flow effortlessly and from some mysterious depth within me. Yes, the numerous expereinces help, but not in an unprocessed state. I realized this while my fingers flew on the keyboard and produced something that I am myself amazed... What I wrote, is for another time… but presently, I would urge all of you to give this a shot- meditate and sit back while you soak in the spring of creativity that unleashes itself from within you...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

The lawyer in me

The lawyer in me awoke and here is what the lawyer had to say:-

Greatest paradox ever recorded in History


Few centuries ago, a Law teacher came across a student who was willing to learn but as unable to pay the fees. The student struck a deal saying, "I will pay your fee the day I win my first case in the court".

Teacher agreed and proceeded with the law course. When the course was finished and teacher started pestering the student to pay up the fee, the student reminded him of the deal and pushed days.

Fed up with this, the teacher decided to sue the student in the court of law and both of them decided to argue for themselves.

The teacher put forward his argument saying:

"If I win this case, as per the court of law, the student has to pay me as the case is about his non-payment of dues. And if I lose the case, student will still pay me because he would have won his first case. So either way I will have to get the money".

Equally brilliant student argued back saying:

"If I win the case, as per the court of law, I don't have to pay anything to the teacher as the case is about my non-payment of dues. And if I lose the case, I don't have to pay him because I haven't won my first case yet. So either way, I am not going to pay the teacher anything".

This is one of the greatest paradoxes ever recorded in history. :)