Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

44. Must Show Go On?

We all have heard about ‘Show Must Go On’ and each one of us has innumerable stories to share. There are artists, professionals, managers, even masses who ‘carry on’ even after a moment of disaster, a life threatening crisis. It is not only the famous and the well known who have this capacity; many people around us have this gift. Mumbai public is always appreciated for its capacity to move on.

Yesterday I met two such persons. To one of them, I had an opportunity to get introduced, the other remains unknown to me.

Sunita (not her real name) is a Gond tribal woman from a small village in Nagpur district. She is an active member of a Self Help Group (SHG). Yesterday we had a meeting with her SHG, which was planned a fortnight ago. Three days prior to meeting, Sunita lost her 17 year son due to sudden illness. He was hospitalized for a week and between hopes and despair, he passed away… leaving everybody stunned and grieved.

When my colleague Manjusha received the information, she immediately went to Sunita to share the pain and to console her. Other members from the SHG joined. The SHG members requested Manjusha to postpone the meeting. But before Manjusha could say anything, Sunita told everyone, “I am going to attend the meeting. I am going to receive the guests. If you do not want the meeting, don’t attend, but I will definitely be there”. All women were taken aback, and they did not dare to postpone the meeting.

As promised, Sunita participated in the meeting very actively. When I briefly referred to the sad event at the beginning, tears flowed from her eyes. But she controlled her emotions and provided us information very enthusiastically.

While returning to Pune, few men were talking amongst themselves in train compartment. They were talking loudly, so I could hear them … even if I did not want. An old man, may be in his 70s, with a soft face (which tells you stories about the life of this man) was sharing his experience in a matter of fact tone. I cannot describe the details… but it was a touching real life story. The man lost his young son (in his 30s) in a truck accident. The man traveled to the spot, collected the remains of the body of his dead son, carried it to his native place, performed the religious rites up to 13 days and on the 14th day he joined the religious pilgrimage (varee) to Pandharpur. The man participates in this pilgrimage every year… and during the year of the tragic death of his son, he continued it.

I admire the courage of both these people. I salute them for the control they have on themselves and their sense of duty. They have the capacity to deal with pain and suffering. They are beyond the sphere of normal human ability. I am sure each one of us has some time in life carried the ‘Show’ on in spite of sad events. We all admire the ‘Show Must Go On’ spirit.

However sometimes I ask myself ‘Must Show Go On’? By carrying the show on, we hide our grief not only from others but also from ourselves. Why can’t we allow ourselves to experience the shattering moment? Why can’t we allow ourselves to experience the painful loneliness in such moments? Why can’t we say that “Yes, I do not have control over myself”. Why can’t we admit that we feel like ‘let the world go to hell’? Why can’t we live with our weakness? Why can’t we accept the vacuum within? Why we hurry to get engaged in doing something so that we don’t have to face ourselves?

Even I have carried the show on many times. Most of the times I did it because I despised the shallow sympathy people throw. I knew people around me would not understand my loss. I was aware that if I utter a word then, demon size gossip would evolve, so I had my leaps sealed.

What is more courageous? To allow the show to go on? Or to allow ourselves to be transparent and honest? Or to allow everybody to see our weakness?

May be after few months, I should talk to Sunita about this. I should try to search for the old man and understand his perspective. Both of them might have something to offer to me, which I have not learnt and understood so far.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

43. Rainbow...

Today I woke up with a smile. That is a sure sign of a good dream (and a good life…). Yes, I had a very fantastic dream. I was holding a rainbow in my hands… I was touching it; I was feeling it and I had an intense conversation with it. I was full of joy, smile, happiness, fullness…

Most of my dreams are illusionary and are born out of wild imagination. But this dream was very close to reality. Yes, yesterday I was face to face with a rainbow….

Yesterday was a routine day. That is what I thought, when it began. I was traveling to a remote area in Sahyadri ranges with my colleagues for official work. After the work was over, we visited a spot.. a huge water-body. The sky was cloudy enough to raise hopes for rains, but the rain has not visited this area yet.

And I see a whirlpool of water and amazingly beautiful rainbow at a ‘hand stretch’ distance. I could touch it and feel it.

Life is all about impossible becoming possible. What excites me most is, I hardly play any role in it when it happens. It is a gift to me… without any expectations, without any compulsion to return the favors… I am completely free of burden of ego when I am with Nature. Nature makes me what I am and it accepts me without grudge.

Human relations are mostly about ‘Give and Take’. You are expected to return gifts, favors, compliments, money, care… everything that you get from others. If you don’t pay back, you are labeled as a traitor, a ruthless person. Don’t get influenced even if you are treated exclusively and exceptionally well…. That only means you will have to pay exceptional price, you will suffer exclusively.

What I like about Nature is: it never claims to be doing anything for me, but it gives me immense joy. Nature is not bothered about my actions and reactions. It allows me to make my choices… the Sun rises and sets without even bothering whether I am watching it or whether I am satisfied with it. The rain comes and goes… I cannot command and I am not commanded, I cannot demand and I am not demanded, I cannot expect and I am not expected to do anything …. The Nature and I just co-exist, we just live together, we just happen to be in the same ‘time and space’ framework. Even if l decide to live without Nature, it does not emotionally blackmail me…. It can very well do without me. That gives me a rare freedom. That gives me opportunity to ‘take off’ my ego for a while. That makes me Infinite. The duality vanishes and everything becomes ONE.

I am lucky enough to have this ‘rainbow’ kind of life. I am lucky enough to have everything that I have and everything that I don’t have…..

Sometimes I wonder whether this whole life is nothing but a DREAM….. Like that rainbow a colorful DREAM

Just out there for its own sake…..


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cyber World

The May- June Poll question was:

'On an average how many hours in a week do you spend in Cyber World?'

31 readers answered the poll.
2 readers (6%) spend 1 to 10 hours. They seem to be 'living' with human beings rather than machines.
5 readers (16%) spend 11 to 25 hours. If they choose, they can still change their habits.
15 readers (48%) spend 26 to 50 hours... this is a workoholic lot.
4 readers (12%) spend more than 50 hours.... they seem to live in virtual world.
5 readers (16%) spend more than 'countable' time in cyber world... it worries me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

42. A K, 4Ds, 6 Cs and 1 H

A story of a kitten, four dogs, six crows and one human being.
It was evening six. I had just returned from office after a day of monotonous work. I stay on fifth floor and on three sides I am surrounded by trees. To the north is a row of tin roofs - it is a ground-floor storeroom of the cancer center. It is about a distance of few meters – adjoining my compound wall. There are trees which are grown up to 40 feet. My mornings start with identification (rather a bad try to guess) of birds.

But this was evening. Suddenly I heard a loud noise on the tin roofs. It was followed by sudden bark of dogs and shrill cawing of crows. I rushed to the gallery. I first noticed four dogs barking with full throats. They were obviously angry at something, at someone. But I could not understand what it was. Then I noticed crows circling a branch of the tree ... which led me to a frail kitten sitting at a narrow spot which diverted into multiple branches.
The dogs were obviously chasing the kitten, for how long I did not know. The kitten running for its life had climbed the tree in a hurry. Now it was sitting in the midst of branches. The situation for it was to face devil and deep sea at the same time. On the lower side were the viciously barking dogs and on upper side were circling crows. From the distance it was difficult to say who was more furious whether the dogs or the crows.

The crows took the kitten as their enemy. They started attacking the kitten. Slowly they came near him, one touching its tail; other touching its side… the kitten could not move any part of its body. With a single movement, it would certainly fall down and the dogs were just waiting for that to happen.

I was anxious for the kitten. For a moment I thought of calling a fire station. But the calmness of the kitten was amazing. I was glued to the spot by the behavior of the kitten. It did not mew even once. It was not shivering or shaking. It was just looking at the crows and the dogs, calmly, quietly, without any fear or nervousness.

The crows came nearer. The kitten looked at them but did not move. The barking of the dogs lowered. One dog left the battleground. The rest of the three were definitely confused by the leaving dog. They looked at the tree and the kitten once and then at the leaving dog.

By this time the crows realized that the kitten was not attacking them but had problems regarding its own safety. They sat at a distance from the kitten and they stopped cawing. Slowly one by one they disappeared leaving the kitten alone. The kitten was sitting very silently. It was alert but silent as if it was deeply thinking. The silence created power.

My imagination went wild. If any other cat without knowing in which situation this kitten was; would have asked this small kitten, “Hey, how are you? What are you doing here alone in the evening’? I am sure this kitten would have replied, “I am fine uncle/aunty. I am just enjoying the sunset. This tree is very lovely. Would you mind joining me? Do you want me to help you?” There was something very spiritual about the kitten. In the midst of life threatening situation, the little guy was amazingly calm.

The crows disappeared, the dogs went away disappointed. With the sun set, darkness was fast enveloping the surroundings. Now I was indeed worried about the kitten. In that narrow space, it can’t wait all the night. It could not jump to the ground, because it meant a jump of at least fifty feet. It could not jump on the tin roof, because for that the kitten would have to turn around, which it could not due to the narrow space.

The tension within me was increasing. For a moment I closed my eyes. When I opened it, the kitten was on the tin roof, fully enjoying stretch of the body. “Ha! At last it is over” it must be saying to itself. I smiled at the kitten, I smiled at myself. I smiled at the energy the incidence gave me. I smiled at my weakness and I smiled at my vanity.

The kitten was slowly walking in the other direction. From deep within my heart, I said “thank you little chap for the lesson” to that kitten. Suddenly the kitten turned around and mewed pleasantly.

Did the kitten acknowledge my gratitude?

May be…..May be not …

Sunday, June 7, 2009

41. After the Rain….

It happened only yesterday afternoon. The whole day, I was working on a project budget with my colleague. It was 7th or 8th draft, so we were tired enough. The calculations had to be checked and re-checked. My workstation is not ‘off the road’. So, I cannot see anything outside. I would love to have an open space to work, but well, it is not so.

Amidst all those figures, I suddenly smiled. I said, “Ah! It is raining…” There was no sound of rain, no smell of rain, but still I could feel the rain outside. May be because I was born in July, I love rain. It rains within me, when it rains outside. The rain touches my soul.

Whatever good childhood memories I have, all those are associated with rain. I was brought up in a rain-shadow area. So, I guess, there was not much of rain. But whatever it was, it filled my life.

My childhood house had a tin roof. So, when it rained in the night, there was a typical sound of the drops falling on the tin. I would somehow always be awake when rain came.. Whether at two or at six in the morning. Everybody around me, almost the whole world around would be asleep, only the rain accompanying me. Many nights I opened the door without making any noise and tried to catch rain in my hands. I tried to quench my thirst with the fresh water. Sometimes I got myself drenched in the rains and then sat all the night on the floor happily… feeling the rain all over me and integrated within me.

When it rained during day time, the sky changed its colors. Many evenings the golden Sun after the rain melted in my eyes, making me light. It was as if I could travel to different worlds with the help of those mystique golden sunrays. I would soak my feet into the small water pools. The trees would be fresh - like a just bathed baby - after the rain, and I would touch the leaves very softly. The thundering and lightening accompanying the rain brought a great excitement. There was some world unknown to me, but it brought its joys and beauty to me through rain. I loved rain more than anything.

Slowly when I grew, I became more attracted to rain. Many cycle trips in the rain in Pune, a walk on Pondicherry beach in torrential rains, windy rain in Mumbai, monsoon treks with clouds in your hands, rain in Tamhini, rain in Satpuda, rain in Himalayas, …. I have innumerable memories of rain. With rain I change, with rain I live, with rain I smile....

Though nowadays with rain comes the feeling that so many people would be displaced and so many poor and homeless would be distressed…

I am happy that monsoon is approaching. For next few months I would have hardly any time to be unhappy and I will not at all be stressed. Because at every corner, there would be the sky full of rain or at least a promise of rain.

I come home, physically exhausted but with mental vigor… and the sky is teasing me to interpret the meaning of life…. the clouds act as if we are strangers to each other….

After the Rain…life becomes more beautiful, more meaningful, more original…

(Note: All these photos are taken with a Sony Ericsson Cyber Shot mobile 2 mp camera on the evening of 5th June 2009 from my residence balcony – of course by me!)