Posted in Being Someone

A Moment’s Worth of Peace

IMG_20180705_130625_664If I was to scan my life, like we do when searching a keyword in our inbox and we find the relevant word highlighted in a few, scamper of emails or messages, just like that, if we had a choice to filter out the most serene moments of our lives, what would you find, in those scanty grains of sand?

Amidst the havoc of lectures that last well after darkness becomes still, and between the grading papers which lasts for over ten hours on weekends, between the running between (and during) gym and grocery, what do I recollect? What are my few grains of sand that cannot and will not pass through my fingers, till perhaps I breathe my last?

For anyone, I believe, those moments are not plentiful.

No. They are but a few…moments, and nothing more or but.

Then there is another question that can be posed. Are these moments indeed just peaceful, or do they cling to memory like debris to a stream that washes on the shores because they are our most happy moments? When we felt, perhaps, complete?

The wind rushes to my ears and I don’t see the servants around me, the maali (gardner) jabbing his spade into the earth to make it soft so it is easier for the roots to get the water, or the maid hurrying into the kitchen with fresh milk. I see, only the sky and my feet trying to touch it, in all their capacity. I am deaf to the world of reality around me while my own world is alive and throbbing with life. I push myself higher and higher on the swing. Where? Right here. In my thoughts. For a daydreamer, one doesn’t need to go very far to be away. Here is always there. And there one always finds everything one could possibly imagine of possessing.

Going home in a car that was a decade old already, with all the people you cared for. And we are talking. About what? We are deciding on a name. A name that matches with us sisters, that goes well with the rest of the family. A name, that best suits the red-cheeked cherub we just met in the maternity section of the hospital. And we discuss. One name comes up. No, that wouldn’t do. Something simpler, perhaps? A soft sound that is pleasing on the mouth too. Not anything too conspicuous. A few more entries are discussed while the girls in the back giggle. And finally, we are almost home, and we also have a name.

It’s chilly. I am wearing a red fleece jacket, that I still have in a cupboard somewhere, two decades later. I am running and I can’t stop laughing. It has been an exhilarating and a thrilling day, and guess what? It is still not over. I run past the log ride that splashes into the water, making the seated drenched and gleeful simultaneously. I run past the ride that has swings suspended from great height while it goes round and round at a great speed and at a great gradient. We have been on that already. But I am not alone. My sneakers make soft sounds on the grey pavement, these following and in league with five other pairs of squeaking shoes, all running, and laughing because we just got off a ride that had our hearts swinging from the pole, and we are running to another, that might as well have the organ reeling from our mouths.

It’s a big day. The students are nervous, the halls quiet, the teachers apprehensive, the staff wide-eyed. Something is about to happen, and I can’t breathe right. In frantic fervor, I keep going over again and again the past two years’ lectures. Yes, I did that. Yes, I made sure they got it. Ahan, went over that twice. Did they have enough practice? I am reminded of my sore wrist after the constant checking and grading. Yes, ofcourse, we did group work and individual assignments on that too. But what now? What if…? The results begin to get announced, and one after the other the tearful teens come over for a hug. Everyone I know, and those I don’t know congratulate me on my feat. I wish I could I say I fought back tears of pride, but no, my eyes were dry and my heart kept beating, ‘I can’t believe it.’

We are in the north. We just came back from a walk in the perfect woodlands of Scotland. And midway it starts raining. It is not the pelting rain of Asia, that creates puddles deep enough to swim in, no, these are soft rain drops that courtesy your skin and fall to earth and disappear. We are back at the cottage and I decide to take a dip in the tub outside. Eerie? Yes. Rain and a hot tub. But I sat through it, the kisses of rain cold against my warm body heated by the fluffy, colored bubbles in the tub. I sit there, awed with what I see and feel. I watch as the fog begins to settle on the mountain tops, and far off I see a shadow of a train chasing the clouds away.

The future is as certain for a believer as the past. What was, is, and what will be, is also, well, is. In my mind there is a moment, not yet come to being. How I see it, I fail to describe or make sense of it as you would expect me to. I am in the lounge with soft brown and pale hues of upholstery that surrounds me. An incandescent light emanates from the lamp on the glass top table I sit next to. The light filters on to the window and through it. It is dusk and getting dark. Everything is where it should, and so is everyone. All is well in the world, and I smile, for I knew I’d see this day. My heart fills with solace and I breathe a moment worth of peace, at last.

 

Posted in Being Someone

About Discipline

Recently I have realised that I lack the knack of discipline. Yes when I went to preschool they taught me how to sit in a chair and not run about the class room. Later in kindrgarten they taught me how to speak politely and not yell and throw a tantrum when I wanted something.

They also taught me how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank ‘you’. Through out my education there was a reward and punishment system intact so as to make me a better ‘man’. At home was no different. I learnt to be ‘nice’, ‘well behaved’, ‘groomed’.

The world had done its job right and proper. They all had a hand in making me a literate, educated person. No more a cave man, no more like the kids in the streets who had no idea that to steal food and fill their starving tummies was a bad bad thing. They (the world) beleived I was finally disciplined, a better person,  a better human being.

However,I realised that discipline had nothing to do with kindergarten and college. It had nothing to do with learning to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. The social conditioning had only one aim, only one purpose. To make sure that I fitted in with the rest of the ‘disciplined’ class.

I sadly realised that my mind was not a disciplined place at all. And hence my actions, my decisions, everything that I have been doing for the last thirty years has been nothing but chaotic.  So perplexed and helpless I tried to Google how to discipline the mind. You would be surprised to know what I learnt.

The search results showed that yoga was a great way to discipline the mind and so was meditation. Without tying to brag, yes I occasionally do yoga and meditate. Without a teacher though, but I do it nonetheless. I also leant something else. I found out that every method to discipline the mind and hence yourself was one form of spirituality or another.

So to my utter disbelief I learnt that if I wished to discipline myself especially the mind I ought to go back to spirituality. Find the truth within so that I may be in peace enough to be disciplined in the head. I learnt that my degree did me no good as a person. I learn that thank you and please were never a standard of being groomed. Maybe they are in the artificial social ambience and perhaps that will always be the standard there. But I learnt that to be disciplined, I needed to embark on a spiritual journey not go to kinegarten.

Posted in Being Someone

The Art of Doing Nothing

We have been conditioned to do something all the time. Even when we don’t want to, even when we feel that we would rather stay in bed and just lay there, we still find the courage to get out of bed and make ourselves useful. The thought of sitting idle for the modern man is almost akin to sin.

I beg to differ here on such a notion. We spend our entire lives running. Running after food, running to work, running to manage the house, running to please everyone, running to look after the kids. Do you notice the constant theme here? Running. Doing something, anything, all the time.

In fact sometimes when we have nothing to do, we apply the old maxim to ourselves, “keep your hands busy.” So we run to the kitchen and start baking. Or for neat freaks like myself, I start tidying all the cupboards and drawers in the house. It isn’t so bad either. After all, nothing kills a man more than boredom, right?

Wrong.

Cultural and social conditioning has developed our DNA in a way that we cannot stand idleness. We just have to stay busy. It’s important. We don’t exactly know why, but it is. Most annoyingly, when the old lady asks us at a tea party what we have been doing lately, there should be a two feet long list of things we did in the past week for us to talk about. The longer the list, the greater is our credibility. The greater the credibility, the greater our rankings in respect and honor.

Although I would say that at certain age groups, like that of teens or below, one should be kept busy at all times. Even if that means shredding the newspaper and then gluing it together. Yes, an idle mind in children could be a devil’s snare. But what about those of us who are over 25 years of age? Should we run too all the time because that is the way it always has been and if not we would be stoned for doing nothing.

Youngsters of today have this new term I quite like. It’s called ‘chilling’. When you ask them what they’ve been doing all day in their room, they’ll tell you in a one word, ”chilling”, and you understand. To give this slang a more profound name, I call it the art of doing nothing.

Once you learn of this special art or skill, you’ll find yourself at a greater peace. I realized that since the time I started honing this great skill, I have plenty of time to reflect and ponder. Many a times I find myself sitting by myself, smiling into space. The moment when you zone out of this reality, you can look over with a birds eye view at your own life. You see things that you wouldn’t otherwise which are perhaps only at an arms length.

The art of doing nothing helps you accustom yourself to a greater perspective. Which is otherwise usually lost in the fervor of busy hankerings of the day. The art of doing nothing is a noble art and should be practiced from time to time.

Meditation, too, if you please is designed according to the same principle of the art of doing nothing. While meditating you do, well, nothing. Nothingness, I believe is one of the profound theories of philosophy, but why go into the mundane details, when I am telling you to practice this honorable art at least for a couple of minutes everyday. And if someone asks you what you’re thinking or doing, just smile and say, ”chilling”.