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!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

181. Categories

When I am getting out of Delhi Metro Station(s), I am interested in observing people's choice(s).

There are three choices - to take a lift, an escalator or staircase. Obviously, this is before or after Metro travel!

It is understood that those people who are either ill, very old or having luggage should use the lift. 
Rest of the commuters have two options - staircase and escalator. Most of the Metro Stations do not have the facility of escalators for climbing down - they are only for climbing up. So, I am mainly discussing the tendencies exhibited during Upward Mobility! 

Every time I see some people rushing to lift. Even for climbing down they want to use the lift. They are not always old or ill or do not carry luggage. However, they are obsessed with 'saving time' and always want to take the fastest route. I put these people in category one. Sometimes I wonder whether these people know only one way of living, I doubt whether they are flexible and I wonder how they would respond to life without electricity. 

There are some people who would always take staircase. " Use Stairs to Stay Fit" declares Delhi Metro. Some people do take this opportunity to exercise a bit and stay fit. They are least affected physically as well as psychologically, when the escalator is not working. They are determined and they carry on with their mission without bothering about the external situation. I am not sure how many staircases they climb up every day. These are category two people for me. They are health conscious and certainly they can adjust to the situation in a much better way than the category one people. But in a way, they are like category one people! They also have a fixed way of thinking - only staircase!! 

The third category of people always try to use escalators. They are kind of people who use technology (or luxury) when available. But if the escalator is not working, they would calmly climb up the staircase. They would say : alright, once in a while it is good.  These people have choices and initially they try to make easy choices. However, if easy choice is not available, they do not mind the hard way. They could be easily mixed into category one and category two - it is hard to identify at a glance.

Fourth category is more spontaneous. Depending on their mood or situation, they decide what to choose. Sometimes they would just run on the staircase and some other time they would lazily wait for the lift. They don't have any fixed route - they enjoy the variety and for them the variety comes from within.  I am a regular Metro traveler for two years and know some of the faces who sometimes take escalator and sometimes staircase. I like their unpredictable ways of choosing options. Wherever they go, I am sure these people would always create fun for themselves - by being flexible.

And I know there are many more categories.

One category who observes, thinks, shares.
Another category who never bothers.
Another one who does not like being categorized like this.

We belong to either of these categories - maybe we are in different categories for different things in life. But certainly our behaviors create pattern giving glimpses into inner mind.
Of course, sometimes we could be fooled , we could be completely wrong.
However, the process of categorization keeps on happening.
With knowledge or without knowledge.

How much of it is conditioning and how much of it is choice?
I do not know. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

180. Game

"How was the marriage ceremony?" the moment I stepped in, Sudhir's grandmother asked.
I was little surprised at that question. Because not only Sudhir's grandma did not know the bride and the groom (and their families), she also did not know me well enough to ask this question. 

Sudhir is my friend's - Nirmala's - husband. I was in the town to attend one marriage - which I could not afford to avoid due to my close relations with both the families involved in the marriage. I had taken this opportunity to stay with Nirmala and to chat with her. 

"Oh, it was good," I answered grandma with a smile and immediately switched the topic. Grandma naturally had more questions to ask but my reluctance was visible to her too. Fortunately at that moment Sudhir came. 
"How was the marriage ceremony?" Sudhir asked. Though Nirmala was my close friend, I had hardly met Sudhir. We knew each other mostly through Nirmala. So I glanced curiously at Sudhir. I get tired of entertaining people in a meaningless way. So, I completely ignored Sudhir's question and said, "Sudhir, did you see the news of this new scam?" (That was equally meaningless question!).

Sudhir smiled clearly showing his understanding of my thought processes. He pushed the easy-chair in front of me and said, "Now just relax. I will bring you a cup of coffee. Nima would be joining us any moment."

And Nirmala came. Surprisingly, she too asked the same question: "How was the marriage ceremony?" 

That was it. "Nima, the marriage ceremony was like any other normal marriage ceremony. The bride and the groom put garlands, the Pandits and some of the old ladies sang mantras, people queued for lunch, the video cameraman's presence was overwhelming .... Is it not that each marriage ceremony is the same except for the changes in few details? One glance at the invitation cards tells you what to expect!!" 

Nirmala must have sensed boredom in my voice. After a moment's pause, she said, "Well, there are certain things which are beyond all this obvious. I know you don't like to attend these ceremonies but you attend because you don't want to hurt people's beliefs. You also look at this opportunity to meet many people. So when I asked, 'how was the marriage ceremony?' what I wanted to ask was - 'Did you meet any other friends? Did you enjoy the gathering?' Now that you answered with such irritation only shows that your time was not well spent."

In spite of my irritation I smiled. That is the specialty of Nima. She always speaks in such terms that I can understand. 

I turned to Sudhir. "Sorry, Sudhir, and what did you really want to know?"

Sudhir said, "Like Nima, I was also interested in knowing whether you enjoyed. Also I think we have similar views on  the give and take part, the show of wealth in these ceremonies and the meaningless rituals etc. I wanted to know your remarks on these aspects of the ceremony."

"And what was Grandma's intention?" I asked feeling little guilty.  

"Oh, being a lady from old generation, Grandma was naturally interested in knowing about ornaments, menu, rituals etc" Sudhir answered with smile. 

"Oh! Then why don't we ask directly what we want to ask? Why the mask of words? Is it not confusing that each one of you wanted different set of knowledge but used the same words?" I was talking to myself but spoke out aloud. 

Sudhir smiled again. He said, "How can we change language? Sometimes the direct questions sound very rude and undesirable. Instead of that why don't you take a challenge of interpreting the question in the right way? It all depends on the persons with whom you are conversing and your relationship with that person. We keep on using the same words, but each one has a different expectations from the same words, for each of us the hidden meaning of the words is different. It is a game of interpretation. One has to play it with interest and not get irritated. In reality everyone plays this game ...."

Same words, with different meaning, with different intentions, with different expectations. 
This seems to be an interesting and challenging game. 


Sunday, September 2, 2012

179. Strangers in the Night

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 31; the thirty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is 'Strangers in the Night'
I was being followed.
Constantly; continuously; without break; always.
I could sense IT.

Now that was bit funny.
I could not see who was following me, could not hear, could not touch, could not smell… still I could sense IT. The nameless, formless entity – It was difficult to elaborate IT to anybody. So, I chose never to talk to anybody about IT.

Who was IT? 
A Ghost? A God? One of my Ancestors?  My Conscience? My Instinct? And was it natural fear- born out of that instinct?
I did not know.
A stranger, I guess.

I named our pair, our co-existence as ‘Strangers in the Night’ only because I could never see who IT was. IT always remained a stranger to me. But the description of our relationship was not right. IT knew everything about me and I did not know anything about IT. Would IT name me as Stranger? No, I think not.
When did this start? I mean when did IT start following me? As far as I could remember, IT had always been there. I could never feel the absence of IT! IT had become inseparable part of me.

However, I was not frightened, – I mean not after certain time; in fact never except for the initial days. I got used to ITs’ presence. I accepted IT as part of my existence. Whatever I was doing – good, bad or ugly – IT never commented, never advised, never got angry, never irritated, never had a word with me.  When I did something good, I felt IT to be nearer and when I did behave badly, IT moved away from me a little further. This went on for years. I did not know what was achieved in the process - whether the stranger came nearer to me or moved away from me – I could not tell. IT was always at a handful distance and still away from my shadow. I could hardly affect it, leave controlling IT.I could never catch IT, could never understand IT.! I just kept on feeling IT. And sometimes I told myself that IT was just a hallucination – that was all.

When I was on the deathbed, I remembered the lines from MuNDaka Upanishad.
द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया समानं वृक्षं परिषस्वजाते
तयोरन्य: पिप्पलं स्वाद्वत्त्यनश्वनन्यो अभिचाकशीति 
(तृतीय मुंडके प्रथम खंड – १)
(Two birds, united always and known by the same name, closely cling to the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruit; the other looks on without eating.)

Then everything became clear to me.
We were strangers only because I was ignorant. We were inseparable because we were never two, we were always ONE.
When the realization dawns upon, there is no ignorance, there is no night and there are no strangers.
Everything is ONE.
Strange indeed, that I spent my whole life without understanding this simple truth.

Wish that for you there are no more Nights.
And no more Strangers in the Nights.

(Note: After reading the first four comments, I thought it better to add these two links. Those who want to know more are requested to go through those;
1. Upanishads
2. MunDaka Upanishad)
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: BLOGGER NAME, Participation Count: XX