Across the road
The banyan tree whispers
The peepal tree listens
Their age old conversations unheard
Since ancient times
The carts plow on
The school children frolick
Beneath their leafy shade
Young brides tie sacred threads
Around the girth of the banyan
Smear the symbols of their wedded status
And congregate in periodic communion
The peepal forlorn
Watches from beyond time
Rooted in its space
The tree of ghosts
No one to worship it
from the corpses of ancient trees
Cold, cruel glass knifes
through the warm bowers
Once full of life,
within and without
These trees killed for people
The same people that
once played on its branches in another lifetime
The same people that
rested beneath its shade in eras bygone
The same people that
took shelter from the elements
Now there is no need of its silent strength
And so a massive life is uprooted
As a yuga ends
“Mama, can you see now?” my daughter asked me in the dark.
“No darling, I cannot.” I replied.
“Because there is no light in your eyes?” twinkled the beautiful brown eyes of my little girl.
An innocent exchange in which the wisdom belonged to the younger one. What is it that allows me to see? All other senses function well in the dark as well. Except the eyes. Is it the light within or without that illumines the sight in them? What is it that makes them see? What is it that pulsates the blood in our bodies? Science says, it’s the heart but what makes the heart beat? What makes it go through the pangs of separation, the fury of rage, the angst of love?
Someone recently asked me, " Are you a hindu?" And pat came my standard reply, "Actually, my parents are Christian and the in-laws are Hindu. I don't really follow any religion."
And that was it. But barely had I completed my reply when I thought about how although I do not appear religious, I actually am soaking in the rich and varied depth of Hindu religious literature and mythology.
So what am I?
I’ve been a kind of a sceptic about religious faith that involved frantic praying and bargaining since the time I rationalised that prayer that comes true is nothing but pure crystallized desire. Whatever one truly desires with a single pointed desire comes to be simply because the focus is unwavering and the conscious unerringly picks up the right frequencies to make the desire come true.
I’ve had various instances of things that I really want, happen. Just like that. It’s like they would come walking to me without my having had to do anything about it. Like the recent job I got. It meets all my criteria to the T. Spooky at times. However, this time around, I also believe it has to do with prayers of other people for me. Especially my mom.
As for me, I’m scared to wish for anything or pray for anything specific. I also know from painful experience that one needs to be careful of what one asks for. Sometimes, you just get it. So, I’ve sort of been very non-specific about desiring stuff in my life. I wish for things to happen as they are meant to be. Que sera sera.
I wonder why life gets progressively difficult as I get older. Somehow, I thought the older one got, the more wisdom one acquired. Here, I find myself woefully ignorant to answer life’s questions. They’re usually about the mundane and ordinary but I can get it complicated till the question becomes a complicated problem, seemingly larger than life. In reality, it doesn’t even actually exist in the real world. It’s all in the mind, that wily, indescribable framework through which all my feelings originate and play their course.
Writing is a release. I've recently started to write again with baby steps. unsure of whether the thoughts will flow. Somewhere, in the roar of life, my inner calling of writing became a faint whisper until finally even the echo died out. Only the memory remained.
Somehow this blog is an inner journey to find my voice.
I steal a few solitary moments when no one is looking or when everyone happens to be away or busy doing something. That’s the time, I can lend wings to my mind. It’s funny how we all talk about our minds but do not have a clue as to where it is located. Is it within the physical body or is it part of the ether that we all tune into depending on our frequencies? It’s the single most important equipment of our daily lives but no one has been able to figure out where it rests. It’s responsible for all of our emotions and reactions. But where in the world is it? And I guess when I finally figure out where it is, it really wouldn’t matter.
My father-in-law is in the final stages of Parkinson’s Disease and no one knows how long he will continue suffering.
This morning, I was sitting near him and I felt a deep sense of grieving at the fragile nature of our joys and lives. On one side there was a picture of my two children, taken when the younger one was just born and I remembered how happy life was at that point. My dad in law was still suffering from PD but he was mobile and managed to do his tasks by himself, albeit slowly.
Today, he is bedridden, fed mashed or pureed food, cannot shut his eyes when they are open and cannot open them when they are shut. He has great difficulty swallowing and breathing and yet the body continues to live. Thankfully, today we are in a position to have a full time nurse for him who takes care of him. The guy is really very caring as far as taking care of Anna goes (that’s what we call my father in law). I doubt if any of us could have cared for him as much so patiently.
If it hurts me so much to see his silent suffering, I wonder how much more it must be for his wife, Amma as we fondly call her. She is deprived of a companion in her old age. After all, although we are there and the children make enough noise, he has been her partner for so long; it must be akin to watching part of her die. Most days, she feels the pain and comes and talks about it. All I can do is offer a patient ear as there is no other alternative. She is old herself and does not have the energy at times to do stuff for him and it frustrates her.
Old age and illness- I can see why Siddharth became Buddha…
Water as one of the elements is held as sacred, purifying rites and rituals, one’s physical self and symbolic of mental and intellectual cleansing.
At one point in our collective history, water was naturally recycled as people tapped into nature for their needs. Well water that was used to drink and cook. There were no fancy flushes and showers. I remember bathing in the rain in my dad’s ancestral home or going to the river. There was no bathroom there. For morning ablutions, there was a makeshift shed which was nothing more than a hole in the ground. And everything was fine. There was never a shortage of water. Everything was in harmony.
Fast forward to our present day and everything is synthesised. And somewhere as a race, we are getting more conscious of the wisdom of our ancestors and going organic and looking at natural remedies. In this context, I can understand the horror of using chlorine when there are other options available. But what is a viable solution. Any innovators out there?
It's perfect weather for the beach these days. Blue skies, white marshmallow clouds, cheerful green leaves waving at the honking traffic.
Makes me want to head for the beach, slip into the waves and feel the salty spray on my face.
Just thinking about it makes me taste the salt.
I guess my conscious journey began sometime during my rebellious teen years. It was a period of mutiny against the religion of my birth, my parents, the system, in short everything outside of me. Without really understanding or knowing, I reverted to a pagan belief of being one with the universe. It wasn’t something I consciously went after but something that sprung from the inside. On the outside, I lived a life of indiscipline. Back then, I used to write whenever I felt my emotions were going to burst out of me and when I look back, they were mostly to do with the elements, the mindscape and peace.
It’s almost half my life ago that this journey commenced and it’s been arduous, backsliding at times, hugely rewarding and intensely personal. I believe that we instinctively know the path and the method, if only we listen to the inner divine. I’ve been surprised a lot of times with coming across lines from various texts that indicate similar practices. It’s like learning to swim instinctively. I don’t claim to be a very disciplined or perfect seeker. I go through rebellion even today where I just stop doing the stuff that makes it worthwhile and get to the point where the misery is too much. And it goes on, the cycle of falling and getting up.
The moment is the fullest one can get out of life
A moment experienced in totality is meditation
the fulfilment of the soul’s longing to remain immersed in bliss
No more new age healing
no more mantras to chant or lamps to light
just brilliant existence
I sit cross legged
On the broken wall
I look at the setting sun
Sinking into the distant mists
I wonder why the Sun God is in such a rush
AS the day dies into twilight
I hear the rustle of the neem leaves
As the slight breeze weaves through them
The tree behind me, the wall beneath
I close my eyes
And feel the crimson blaze
I my mind's eye
I hear my blood coursing
And smell warm wafts of a hot meal
Night settles slowly
Cooling my face
I open my eyes
The visions fade
My feet are numb
It's a dusty road behind
I taste the grit
On my homeward trudge
Barrels of smoke roll outwards Only to be sucked inwards and up Through the chimney That spits the smoke in bursts The flames dance wildly Consuming the rotting flesh The pandit chants his mantras The mourners still as stone The fire crackles as it devours The remains of a once alive body The mother watches glassy eyed The flames will burn all night Dawn will see the ashes As the father rises to gather them into the urn The men trudge to the water's edge Ans set the ashes loose It drifts and sinks till the bottom The skies and water finally claim That which his mother could not hold.
Some people have to be givers; it is their very essence, their dharma. Even if it means bleeding themselves empty. Not for them the acknowledgement or the accolades. They are mothers, nurturers. A mother nourishes and gives even if the child may bite back. Nothing can take that away from her. There is no other way she can be. Her baby grows up to go away and she helps him/her go away. Somewhere, the letting go happens the moment she gives birth, At some level she is always bidding adieu To the infant, The toddler, The child, The youth And finally the grown adult. Every mother surely goes through at least one humbling moment When they accept that they are just the vessel for a life to take existence. That the life growing inside is independent of their desires. It’s humbling to know that the child chose that one woman to come into this world from the billions on this planet For all her flaws and deficiencies that life chose her To bring her the unbridled joy of knowing that she is the world to him/her. These givers are not miserly, they don’t give for the recognition it brings or the reputation they will gain, They give as easily as they breathe and without thought. Their cup never runs dry It is not a conscious thought of giving something that is theirs; They truly live the fact that nothing is their own