Saturday, October 18, 2008


I look in His eyes
Searching for myself again
And I see the love


Black like the night sky
Swirling like the galaxy
Countless thoughts shining


Stretch and Stretch and Stretch
Till time and space lose their worth
The guide misguides me

Stretching till I'm wound
Retracing endless circles
I earlier saw

I face alone now
Questions no longer disguised
Love disappearing

I wish to gallop
But I must braid each strand now
And tie a ribbon

I need some more love
On my side to fight this war
Lest I join the hate.

Bouquets and brickbats
Do I know where I begin
And my role-play ends



I don't know what I want. I only know what I don't want.

How helpful is that beyond a point?

Quite, actually. I don't get bogged down with unwanted baggage that I don't want. There is still some that I don't yet have the guts to shed. But that's pittance compared to the TONS of excess mental baggage I've shed. I feel so much lighter.

Now, does this lightness help me move any faster? It does, actually. I sort things out faster than I used to. But there's still ground to cover - some age old tendencies that I shoulder out of habit, more than anything else, need to be sorted.

I'd like to think each circuit I fix in my head will help me do better. But I also know it's stupid to try and quantify these things beyond a point. Self-realization, enlightenment, quantifying oneself - these are all tricky games, disguised cleverly as the right thing to do. We get charmed by the beauty that the occasional flash of connectivity brings us in contact with, and try to make this self-realization a continual process.

Now, expectations are important, no doubt, for they guide our actions. But once you've decided on the action, you MUST relinquish the expectation. Not easy, it's only human to expect things to be successful after you've planned for them expectantly. Yes, I know. But I've experienced, things work out for me only when I'm not seeking those results. When I'm just happy doing. Before this sounds impractical - I hasten to add - planning your actions is important. And plans, are derived from first principles of expectations. So, expectations are the foundation. I DO expect some success that my efforts/action will lead me to. The point here is about being too focussed on the results. When expectations start to grip your mind, they cloud your focus.

It's important to see that fine line, that glass wall.

I'm narrowly treading that line now. I need to let go. Life's got enough to teach me.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


There are times, when I'm not typecasting, when all colours seem different. The uniqueness of each one is a thrill to watch. And yet, each is but a variation of the mix of only 3 colours that make a million colours. Sounds - each one is unique because of the specific combination of overtones. There are many similar examples. Human beings are one more. Ayurveda says that it's the specific combination of the tridosha and triguna that give you a unique nature. But in this one case, there are many more variables involved. But still, as a friend recently told me, Zen says that you come from nature and you go back to nature.

In between, we spend time learning about our own nature. By accident, or by purpose.

Right now, there're some aspects of my nature that I can't bravely explore, without getting a bad feeling in the gut.

I can't let go of myself on these domains.

To run freely , where there's no sentry guarding every heartbeat.

I just can't.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Contrasts, and The golden middle

Balance. The one-word substitute for what life tries to teach us all the time. In the last year, if I had to boil down my experiences into one word, it would be - contrast. It felt like it was ordained - that wherever I look, extremities of experience come my way, and I continously realize the golden-ness of the middle.

Of jingle bells and wedding bells

Back after more than a year. Update. From last jingle bells '06 to jingle bells '07, and of the future wedding bells. Have fairly had my hands full and it's been a great experience. It's had its share of highs and lows - where I had to study 17 hours a day sometimes just to stay afloat, but the grind was worth it. The steeper the climb, the more you go out of breath, but the view surely becomes more expansive.

In december of last year, I met friends who lead their lives far away from the influences of logic. It's been a great change from the friends I've had till now, who spend most of their time in intellectual pursuits. I see both extremes now, and realize that because there are so many elements that go into making a good life, it is important to stay in touch with all aspects of it. Every now and then we must stop and experience this totality. In focussing on getting the next thing to be done, we tend to grow more along certain dimensions and less on the more abstract aspects of our character.

We feel the presence of these abstract aspects only when they're not around us. Last jingle bells, I suddenly missed the love at home, the open hearts, the quiet, loving wisdom of my parents , and the sheer colours and noise , the sights and sounds and smells of the busy yet laidback life in bangalore.

I've also met people who have no excess baggage. Their hearts, mind, and bodies are light, they are happy souls travelling in this world, soaking up the here and now like children, breathing the moment alone. I can't remember when was the last time I felt so light. I have a long way to go before I can shed so many unused boxes in my head. One of such friends from UK is actually travelling around the world for a year. It's been such a big change seeing the world through his eyes. As I've said before in one of my blog posts earlier, without the filters our intellect puts up, real life colours are much brighter. It has cleared some fog in my head about what we humans have been given, what we want, and what we really need.

I've been unbelievably lucky in many aspects in UK and in life this far, and I've often felt nothing but ashamed at having done little to earn such divine love. But in the end, I had no desire left to further experience UK. I was yearning for the constant sounds and sights one gets to see in bangalore. And packed my backs and reached here. If things don't work out in a year, I can always re-apply for a year's work permit. I don't think I'll ever consider that option. It's there only as some silly cushion.

In bangalore, after the initial euphoria subsided, I woke up to certain uncomfortable influences outside my family, even as I soaked myself in the bliss of being at home. These are testing times, when only people who love me tend to have faith in me. Thankfully, there are a lot of them. They wouldn't hesitate to shake me by the shoulders if they think I'm wrong. And then there're people who'd be cold signposts - it's your headache to be able to see thru the smog around you and read and decrypt what they say, and try not to shiver in the coldness. With them, all's well at a level of fun and information. I now see the difference between friends who actually care, and aquaintances who've been around too long whom I mistook as being friends. No hard feelings here, but definitely some joy at coming out of the smog and seeing the light about this. I definitely feel cared for by the divine at having been able to see this truth.

But apart from this downside, which was actually long coming, everything else has been sheer bliss. I've enjoyed all my old music, on my fantastic speakers, spent quality time with granma while she was at my place, got excellent marks in my assignments, had great food - not in that order.

The only new thing happening in my life, post UK, is groom-hunt - a.k.a pre-wedding-bells. The less I speak about it the better. The good part is that your self-realization curve goes up STEEP... you learn more about yourself through the eyes of strangers. There are beautiful moments too - priceless mother-daughter conversations being the cause for some of them. And of course, you do meet some smart people, who, even if you can't spend a lifetime with them, end up being friends. The bad part: The fake concern shown, the fake excitement at making new 'friends - no matter which way we decide' - can't believe I didn't see through the politically correct bullshit. There's also the emotional pain of gently shaking off someone who's already wearing their emotions on their sleeve, and who won't take no for an answer. I know it's easier to just walk away from it, but if communications persist beyond an initial point, then my morals tell me that I owe someone a decent answer, no matter how difficult it is to break it to them. There're people who claim they're really really glad to have met you but when things don't work out, don't even bother to end things gracefully and disappear off the horizon, like you're some vegetable they were picking and found a better deal elsewhere. There're people who ask you to mail your pics across, but won't mail theirs despite your request, and will insist on directly meeting - not giving you the choice that they got a chance to make. After perhaps the first experience of emotionally opening up to a stranger, I'm now more guarded and quiet in my communication, and don't lay out my general affections for all to see. It's worse when I only know what I don't want. It'll be a lot better if I knew what I wanted. I'm getting sorely tempted to take some radical decisions, but I just have too many things to do on my academic front for now to think about this.

Apart from this, the bangalore euphoria's still on in every cell of my body - while I savour the food, I'm hugely tempted every day, to resume playing music, learn driving, finish trying some pencil sketches, check out the never ending series of concerts and plays, do yoga, meditate, walk, jog, stretch, breathe the weather, soak in the sun, drink fresh, authentic, filter coffee, relish eating fruits that are really really cheap (!), read books, loaf with cousins, go spend sometime at rayara mutt, attend weddings and catch up and EAT, travel happily ( kerala, mysore, bombay in one month! ) , resume carnatic music classes, teach my cousin math and sanskrit, read up on acoustics, catch up with friends, proof-read entrance essays, project reports, resumes of friends, thrill myself with some fantastic e-book sites that host loads of acoustics books, resume playing the keyboard, dream of buying a guitar, and oh.. shop. The last one wasn't something I cheerfully did all these years.... but now it's time I bother about being presentable and girl-like. The usual is good enough according to me, but I've recently been inspired by a dear friend to view all this womanly fussing as a celebration of life rather than a cumbersome task.

I manage to do many of the above-mentioned daily, and some of them at least once a week and two of them at least once a month.
Life's so good.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Think I finally found it. The answer to almost all of my questions at this point. Many of these questions have been persistent for years. But now the puzzle is finally starting to make sense. This one piece did the trick. So, now all that frantic pattern finding, trying to relate one piece with the other, putting them together, et al, has given way to an awareness of the "bigger picture" ( trite, i know, but couldn't come any closer than that! ) So it no longer matters which piece fits in where. THE POINT IS, they all do fit in. And the bigger point is the story that the picture starts telling.
The story about who runs this show.

The best part is, this missing link comes nicely encapsulated in a word and all. The capsule cover reads "Intention". Present inside this word, is a meaning that I think drives the world.

We all become what we desperately want.
Knowingly or unknowingly. Mostly the latter.

Our most desperate wants are those intentions, that most of us are probably not aware of. But this intention directs our efforts on conscious, subconscious levels. The only thing we need to be aware of is our intention. That's where the seed is. The rest is just a snowball effect.

The power of this intention is what directs the heart, the intellect, the will power, and on a larger level, it drives the larger scheme of things. No doubt there's complex forces at work, but I think they're really just a summation. Linear. The tough part to figure out is the weightage that each person's intention imparts. Or as my boss would say, the "value add".

I might be stretching it a bit, but I also think hereditary patterns that are passed to offsprings
are probably intent patterns. The details arrange themselves according to this larger pattern.
I read in a book, that human will power and faith can overpower all cosmic and karmic roadboacks that you one be destined to face. It's the sheer intent that drives the will power. Sheer intent that drives the faith. Faith is an experience that happens when you're in momentary contact with your intent. Your intent could be anything, dusting the room, mastering some skill. Whatever. You experience connectivity in a moment of strong

You only need to want it badly enough.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Still waters run deep. That's actually a nice thing.

Recently there's this one thought that has changed how I deal with every second of my life. It is something that I knew theoretically long back, had read about it, discussed about it, and even lived it for some moments. But the thought perished a theoretical death, like all concepts do. If there isn't the breath of practice being sent in every now and then, the theory soon dies an obscure death. The sheer energy that 'practice' brings with it, is marvelous. I can only but marvel, at how realization is a thousand times more powerful and eloquent than my words. It's almost like realization breathes life into every cell in my body, in every aspect of my being. My words only reach the cranium and are then trapped inside.

So, sometimes, when words I read or hear strike strange connections, some quirky circuits come to life, and the resulting physiological state is what happens because of those little quirky circuits in my head. These are times when the words silently send a wordless message to my being. And the message is recieved. My conscious head of course, realizes all this only after it notices the physiological changes. So, as I have always observed, my conscious mind, my intellect, can only dissect the synaptic moment in hindsight.

The missing link, between input ( book, conversation) and output ( physiological state) is this whole ball game of realization. It is that lovely wordless state, when some truth seems closer. Or even as a part of me. Or me as a part of it.

MANY times, there are sources other than books are conversations. In fact, these days, increasingly, my awareness seems to be springing all kinds of nice surprises on my conscious mind. It could be anything, a plane flying noisily above my head, a pleasant evening, a dusty road, potholes, anything. I seem to be enjoying the company of my awareness. The more my conscious mind tries to relate the past and the present and the future, the more I realize that there is very little left to look back at, or to look forward to.

I have this feeling of being swept off my feet by a river that's actually standing still. A few years back, I would've laughed at this. The stronger the current, the more the awareness of its stillness. Almost like the river is trying to take me somewhere, but somewhere is HERE.

Of late, my work has kept me so busy, I've done little else. And Murphy's ghost seemed to be sharing my cubicle with me. Starting with my mother fracturing her hand, and me having to cook, clean, wash, iron, help her eat, pack lunch, .................. to shouldering the work of 2 people in office, other than my own work. Really important stuff landing on my rather inexperienced shoulders. The sheer donkeywork of it all... I HAD no choice but to be in the present moment.

The good thing that happened, was that I was no longer hopping from one present moment to another. Instead, each moment came, spread itself out under me, cushioned me from some potential thorn ( that my inexperienced feet would've certainly tread on) ............ and gracefully made way for the next moment.

I've been tested to the maximum, and this was a much needed prelude that my ears were waiting to hear. A similar life awaits me, somewhere later this year. And every fear in my head was banished into bright sunlight, at the end of 3 hectic months.

There's only placid waters outside. Any turbulence is self-created. We're just not aware that it's sometimes our own hand that's creating those frantic splashes, while our eyes look only at the surface and worry about what might be lurking beneath.

That's why I need a sense of belonging, a sense of owning all that happens to me. I need to be aware of the fact that I own whatever is causing the turbulence. Then, almost as an automatic reaction, we love whatever we own. The minute I am drenched in the awareness that this moment is the way it is because on some level I created it that way, I can almost see my frayed nerves loosen up and relax. It's amazing how just 'knowing' this fact ( that I was meant to go thru this) can make the problem facing me look like my own creation. We all love our creations, don't we? Till we see better. No matter how bad my first poem was, I keep trying to attach some kind of quality to it. Till I saw better. We all love our near and dear ones, no matter what their faults are. I doubt a lot of us feel the same love and tolerance for our bosses. It's all about 'owning', 'namma'.

This is the thought that helped me thru the last few months. This whole thing of 'owning', 'mine'. The same story works now, when I face an ugly situation at work, or if some rash guy cuts me off on the road and makes me screech to a halt, with my heart in my mouth.

I find, to my lovely surprise, that I don't have it in me to curse them anymore. Just a desire to set the situation right. By helping whoever I can, myself included. Just an awareness that I was meant to go through this because it was so ordained.

Not that I'm above irritation. Or hurt. Just that each of those is just one more of the many reactions I have. I don't see the irritation as anything else other than a pre-programmed reaction popping up. I own that irritation as much as I own my reaction to it.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Birds of a feather

Are there other ways to learn
these lessons that seem familiar
Ones that we've been handed
and taught to look out for?

Are there other birds in the sky?
who venture far and wide
thrilled, in awe of the vastness
in this nothingness.

Or did they stray from the flock
and are now lost, circling the skies
swooping down at all that glitters
yet, searching for their lost self?

For in this maze lies the key
The key to finding the way out
For the joy we dream of
was always just around the corner.

Till the day, the earth gets too heavy
Wings get too tired
and yet, in a supreme effort to rise
suddenly all is light

There are no more corners
just a straight path.

The maze is really a straight path.
No matter how it twists and turns.
The key is here. Right now.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Breeze

I look out of my window,
and see less than what it shows me.
Can I pull the curtains across,
to shut out the noise,
and still let the light in?
Is that possible?
Or sitting inside,
do I find a lost key
in the waxing and waning light
that finds its way to me
when the curtains move apart,
with the gentle breeze.

Happy that I found the key.
Happy that I was a part of
that invigorating breeze.
Happy that I could see more.
In that light.
Which I had blocked.
Just to shut out the sound.

Found many such keys
Unlocked many old trunks
Found some treasures.
And sunk sometimes,
with their weight.
Cleaned out others
And felt lighter.
All because of such gentle breeze.
That moves apart those curtains
At least for sometime.

And much before that,
We all looked out of our windows
In awe.
Eager to lap up every detail out there.
Glad just to be looking out.
No, not glad, gleeful!
Now we've been taught
to look outside.
Taught to see.
To watch sights and sounds.
That others want to see.

Till one day, walls are knocked down
and you're homeless.
Then you see the stars smiling down
From so far off.
And then B R E A T H E.
When the wind blows against you.
And L I S T E N
to the sounds, chirps, squeaks.
And S E E seven colours and lose count.

But for now,
That gentle breeze.
Reminds me of the world outside
Of the beauty waiting to be seen
Of visions that are waiting to dawn
In my mind.
That I've once had a glimpse of.
When the walls were broken down
And I was right below the vast sky
That the window now shows.
Right in the middle of those flowers
Whose beauty comforts me now.
Through the window.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Smug in change.

It's alright, whatever it is.
Whatever it may appear to be.
It's magic. Real while it lasts.
The green, the chirp, the silence.
The noise, the jarring, the pain.

It's all okay. None the worse.
It's just there. For this time.
But it's not okay to cling to it.
Even after it's gone.
Even that clinging, is just there.
For that moment.

Why look for comfort
in familiarity.
Why look for comfort in
the unknown.
These are not questions.
These are answers.
These times that I'm not lonely
Just alone.

What is there to hold on to?
Why hold at all?
The fog vanishes , the sun glows.
The night blots out the light.
Do they all release each other,
or do they hold each other tight.

In a sequence that leaves
comfort in its wake.
The comfort that it'll pass.
The comfort that it'll come back.

Just like the
The sun, the chill, the clouds.
The breeze, the rain, the bad roads.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Blogger Anonymous

Why the anonymity? I've been asked this question a million times , and have never found satisfying answers for it. It just feels like the right thing to do. I could try to reason my way out and come up with some supporting reasons, but the whole idea of blogging , for me, is to keep reasoning and a few other things in their rightful places. I blog to forget my physical existence for sometime. To connect with a larger reservoir of energy as I type on.
The concept of anonymity was not even under question. It was THE only way to go for me. I started questioning it only recently.

Most of the times, it's a certain thought I would scribble about, and that, to me , is a universal entity. Any body can have a thought. ( Alright, we knew that..). But to tag these very thoughts with identities and to post them as belonging to this physical entity reiterates facts that I am only too aware of. Seeing my name right below the post, would take me right back to the world I am trying to look out of. That sense of oneness I get, is lost. At least diminished. When I see something as vague as white_carnation after posting, I'm okay, because some seemingly distant entity just unleashed one more thought out there on the web. It isn't escapism, though I was highly inclined to believe that. It's just about following free will and per chance avoiding something that tends to diminish my awareness of the larger picture.

It doesn't matter WHAT kind of topic I post about. It also doesn't count that I don't keep up to blogging statistics that people 'expect'. What matters is whether I was able to look at a peacock and at least paint out a crow. Nevermind that part about visual appeasement. I'm only speaking of nearness and approximation.

It also doesn't matter WHO made that post. The author doesn't matter to anybody, not even to me. What matters is whether you related with any aspect of the crow or the peacock or with the concept of flying or dancing in the rain. Even that, matters only to one who reads. You.

Not to me, really. It does feel good or bad, but it doesn't really MATTER.
To quote Kansas Brothers, " All we are is dust in the wind". So are our thoughts.

Sure, blogging is a good way to network and all . But for contact to be useful, it should be established only with mutual consent. And I've met quite a few fantastic people through the net.
There isn't any anonymity beyond a point. The truth is out there. And this is what I see of it. There's plenty of good out there. But as a brief snapshot of what's in my head at some instant, I don't think a digital or a physical signature does much. I myself probably won't stand up for these thoughts since they keep changing. But I don't feel the need to legally sign below. It's just too much of a stamp for me. Ownership is never the issue.

Analysis, feelings, thoughts....
these are little bridges one builds. Why name some of them after myself.... Does it matter if it is the Howrah or a nameless yet beautiful hanging bridge near Parapady? Such fleeting entities, I wonder why I would weigh them down with my physical existence.

After all this, I'm still anon only because it feels okay. Logic notwithstanding. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2005


There was a time not too long ago, when I used to tell ( ok... pester..) a few people to blog more often, since they write good, insightful posts. It never made sense that people stop writing, specially when they're gifted with clarity of thought and an articulate mind. I would wonder how people can go on for so long without expressing themselves.

Now I know better.

One just reaches a stage where some other form of expression takes precedence over discrete, quantized units of expression like words. It seems almost criminal to try and trap those birds of thought in gilded cages like words.

Other than that, one sometimes also faces an impossible situation, where "writing" seems to be as impossible as trying to clutch a moonbeam in your hand, or trap it in gilded cages. You're able to write only if thoughts present themselves to you in discrete forms. If the very source is analog, the task is quite impossible. You'd probably be deluding yourself, as you write on.

Of course, this too, is a passing phase like all the others. As fleeting as the bouts of verbosity I suffered from when I first started blogging. But that's only the initial deluge when the floodgates are opened. After a while, the flow subsides. On that gate.

In my case, music took precedence over words for a while. Hence the hiatus. Just like how certain phrases in Kannada that would keep you in splits, lose their humour when you translate them in English. And no amount of prodding would get me to blog when words don't come close to what I want to say.

There is such a thing as Intuitive Understanding, which isn't a flash in the pan, unlike the rest of these forms of expression. Most often, that is what we try to express through our attempts to string together words, brush strokes, colours, and notes. Life isn't all about words, gestures, deeds, caresses, punches, brush-strokes, colours, clear notes, chords, progressions and harmonizing notes. It's about WHAT we express through those. And I'll be blessed if I could put a finger on that. But coming back to expression and its forms,

Are there forms of expression that don't involve quantization?

We sure do have things to express that aren't bound by space, time, definitions, opinions, et al. But is there a non-discrete way to express them? Can continuity/purity of such elements be maintained even as we try to expess those through " percievable " methods?

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Prelude to a song that plays
without a stop
Where words and music are one
When my eyes and ears can only feel.
This is but, a prelude.

To a song that sings itself
Where I do not exist to compose or to listen.
Where harmony brings with it
all the work it takes to keep it going.
And in this confluence
Where all that china crashes and breaks
and yet sounds like a soulful smite on strings.

Do I hear that smite, or does it find me.
Am I the soul in it, or is it the soul in me.
The crashing and crumbling of walls and china
in perfect harmony with soothing strains
at this pitch and scale.
In this time and space.
In this intricate rhythm
and this dance. Where it doesn't take two.

To tango, to listen, to play, to sing, to feel.
This perfect song.
Where I don't exist to define its perfection.
Where I'm not trying to take a peek
Into the glass jar that contains this harmony.
Where I'm not trying to find out
where this music comes from.
Where I do not forget to feel the music,
in my vain efforts to find me.
Or the source.
Because I don't know if I was the source, or if I still am.
and because I don't care to find that out anymore.
and because it doesn't matter if someone else is hearing the same music.
I only have these words, this music, for this moment.

This is only a prelude.
The song's only started.
But the silence is not yet over.
I no longer care if it is the prelude.
Or the end.
Or the song itself.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I have a feeling that consciously increasing this resolution in our minds is one of the better ways to go about life. Before you wonder what undying promise I'm speaking of, lemme clarify, resolution is not a promise. It is your sensitivity to information. The higher your resolution, the more the amount of information you see in a frame ( time-frame, thought-frame, any frame). Likewise, if your resolution is low, you tend to notice only the glaring facts.

The importance of this, is in the fact that we all act according to what we see. What we see, depends on this very resolution. There are ways to directly tweak this. Yoga, Meditation, food to some extent; these inputs are well within our reach. So what happens when our resolution is high?

It means we are in a state, where we see every second as vast expanse, tiny details which we'd otherwise not notice, start to fit in somewhere. We're aware of the tiniest of details, as well as a bigger picture. Object associativity becomes enhanced, and we notice details no matter where the roving eye wanders.

But it is an act of will and sensibility, not to lose oneself in the details.

And when the resolution is low, you get one without the other. Either the bigger picture and no clue about how to fill in the gaps, or the tiny bits in the gaps, and not a clue about how to connect it to anything else. Either way, ( details or the big picture), something is missing, and the result of it shows in the decisions we take.

For me, the easiest way to notice, is through music. Certain songs seem to stretch endlessly. The same song gets over in a flash despite my best attempts to try absorbing it.

There is one other aspect to this. One tends to think, is there a way to maintain a high resolution focus all the time, and why shouldn't we?
I'd say two things.
1. 'Swat distinguishes accomplished people from those who're not ( in WHATEVER is their chosen playground).
2. Life would lose its charm if we could see it all. There would be nothing to get out of bed and find out about. If we didn't discover a new perspective somewhere, or a left-out little detail somewhere else, what WOULD we do if we could see it all?

No rules here, just that the general flow of one's life seems to be so governed by this very resolution, every moment, that it seems like a good idea to watch it. At least.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Microscope is Not a Telescope.

Ok, I knew that. Then why was I trying to figure out the big picture, by fitting in microscopic details? There's no end to it!!

There comes a time, when you do something in excess, and feel that you've reached your limit on that front. Then you recede slowly, cross the border, and tilt on the other side, where that very thing you did, is now missing from your life. Then you see the truth and learn the correct proportion, strike a balance henceforth. Kinda like a wave, that gathers strength as it reaches the shore and gleefully throws itself out of the sea, onto the sand, but realizes it doesn't quite belong there, and gracefully recedes back and merges with the ocean, perhaps only to throw itself on another shore, somewhere else in this world. Somewhere between the two shores, inside the vast ocean, some reshuffling happens, but there's still countless waves exploring the limits of their existence at any time. There are others that are in transition, undergoing changes, before they surface elsewhere. The wave must not forget the silent ocean current that drives it.

I can see my whole life as a series of such excesses and abstinence. It wasn't a conscious effort to study the importance of each such element in my life. It just turned out that way. The conscious effort was to understand at each instant, what is the best thing that could be done. But somewhere between all this finding out, building beliefs, drawing inferences, understanding facts and emotions and other forces playing, and finding out where my free will comes in........... I think I forgot to live the moment. I became the puppet show I'm in. Started trying to pull my own strings, instead of absorbing each moment and living it. Started trying to decide how the story should go, started trying to write my own script.

Slowly tend to lose sight of the bigger picture, once you become engrossed in trying to write scripts that cannot be enacted, plays you cannot direct. Doing things that are not a part of the grand script that actually runs the whole play. I guess my intellect became too big for its shoes. The sense of existence, that I call my Ego ( not the typical meaning of ego that one generally gets to hear about...I'm only speaking of an awareness of my unique existence)... kinda bloated a bit. I started thinking I ALONE decide what happens in my life.

When that happens, you lose yourself thinking of the many paths you can take. You fail to notice the direction of the wind, and which way the birds fly home. You pride yourself on having ruled out 10 out of a million roads that await you. And burn the midnight oil doing research to rule out other paths that are gaping. Shoot out emails, collect facts, get feedback from people who've trodden that path before. Contact people, to contact people, to contact people who've been on those paths. Keep checking balance and see which way the scales tip. All this hardwork makes you feel proud and happy that you're doing so much of groundwork.

And then you realize, it's easier to hear voices that guide you. It's easier to feel, at this point, than to think. And that thinking can sometimes be an addiction. One that clouds you from reality. That even gives you withdrawal symptoms as you try to gain your footing on other grounds that you stopped walking on sometime back. Thinking too much prevented me from experiencing the moment. All those moments I lost in the last coupla months, are just a haze in my head, and my mind's full of facts it gathered, and no closer to making a decision that vibes well with other forgotten parts of me.

Funny, it is only in times when the mind is overflowing with facts, that it feels extremely powerless. And then it turns to other planes of existence, to see if there're any flowers blooming there on lands that it had forgotten to water; to see if those flowers can point to the direction of spring. At times when the intellect has exhausted itself, does the attention of the Self return to itself, when I seek other forms of help. When my identity melts before my very eyes, looking at the sheer helplessness of all my carefully formed beliefs and judgements to make a decision that resounds well on all levels. That's when the fact sinks in that my identity is NOT just my beliefs and understandings and judgements and experience.

Even that, I knew theoretically all along. This is one of those moments when I am actually experiencing that fact, instead of just being intellectually aware of it. Surprisingly, my life's been a series of moments of great connectivity and moments of craving for that feeling of belonging. I never consciously chose to push my limits on THAT front. It's just that some small thing like intellect ( or whatever else) starts becoming larger and larger and soon clouds my "vision".

Then I realise that the dust is actually on the microscope. And that without the filters my intellect puts up, real-life colours are much brighter.

Sure thing, you gotta dig in your heels, find solid ground and start galloping, but let not the blinders blind you to signposts on the way that you probably need to feel the presence of , before you can look out for them. Before you know it, you'll be gone in a cloud of dust, towards whatever you think/feel your destination is. Just make sure the dust doesn't settle on the microscope.

It's just another lens that distorts all light that passes outside of its optical center.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Of cloudy mornings and sunny days.

The last two months have been filled with too many things, and none of them done to the level of perfection that I keep in mind before starting out on them. Why? That’s self-explanatory. Too Many Things.

Those words have been the ‘bane’ of my existence so far. Not that I’m an 85 year old granny looking back at life (or what I might remember of it at that age...). I still have a long way to go. But it’s the same situation repeating itself in my life. I wonder if I’ve missed the right lesson each time. I’ve learnt, but for such situations to repeat themselves in my life, it can only mean that I still have more to learn from them.

I have cousins who’re wonderful people, highly intellectual, well focused, and extremely helpful by nature. Those people pretty much knew where they were going in life. At least it looks like that to me. They either didn’t have this jumble of voices in their head, or they had one voice shouting louder than the rest.

Or, beyond a point, they chose ignore the whole din inside their head, look outside instead and do what looks appropriate in that specific circumstance. Doing what the ‘immediate’ situation demands of me seems to be the easiest option now. That would surely keep everyone around me happy, even in the long run. Only thing, where does that leave MY long term plans? (Which, for the record, are dangling precariously right now). The working out of those long term plans needed some initial donkey work, one that does not show visible, heroic results, and I have had the conviction to give my precious time towards it at the risk of being underestimated (by those who don’t have faith in my sense of judgment) on grounds of practicality. And despite all the time and effort I’ve dedicated so far, the results are still subject to too many variables falling in place. It’ll be another month before the picture becomes clear. If it all works out, I know that it’ll be quite a pretty picture. If it doesn’t, we’re talking about 6 months wasted. To me, 6 months doesn’t seem much when I look at the pretty picture. It might seem like a long time to some people only if things don’t work themselves out at the end of this month.

Nevermind what it seems like, the fact is, 6 months flat, have been spent on a certain plan that is on tenterhooks right now. Now, two things can happen. Either the MS happens , or it doesn’t happen at all. If it happens, then the rest of the path is laid out for me, and I will gladly run till the end with all glee. On the other hand, if things don’t work out, then I take the decision NOT to do the MS, in which case, there’re enough plan B’s that I can fall back on. Perhaps, not with as much glee.

That’s what I need to work on. I need to reach a state where either way, it wouldn’t matter. Lately I haven’t been in sync with my energies, and that’s probably why the direction my life’s going to take, started to matter so much. I think once I get back in tune with myself, my focus would shift to the present moment, instead of the umpteen things that may or may not happen. After all, life, is what happens while we’re busy making other plans. So as it turns out now, shifting my attention to the present moment would be the way to get my energies in sync again. You reach stability by concentrating on your foothold at each instant, not by looking at the mountain peak (and the umpteen other surrounding peaks! Sigh! ).

But that’s when you’re sure you’re climbing the right mountain. Each step you take has the strength of your conviction. If you’re looking at other mountains that can take you to the same heights, but maybe each one with a different viewpoint (read: perspective), then your present moment does not get all your attention. Your foot goes forward only by compulsion, not by conviction.

In my case, I know what I want, I know what I need, but I see many ways to get there. And I don’t know which one to take.

Nonetheless, I know that the forces are with me, even in moments of doubt like this one. (Which is why I’m putting it all in words ….. doubts are best listed out….then the discordant jumble of voices in my head sounds like a choir. All I need to do then is catch the lyrics…).For example, a recent acquaintance has been of great help in helping me get back in touch with myself. In his words, if you put the thought in your head at any instant in boxes labeled Past, or Future, all you’re left with is the sights and sounds of the present moment. That’s when the present moment seems expansive, full of potential. I can only thank God for sending such good people my way when I need such words. I wish there was something I could do to repay such timely help.

Anyway, in this present expansive moment, at least my options are clear. After a few decisions come my way, I get to take the rest of the decisions and proceed. It’s just a matter of two months. So after the fog clears, I can decide which path to take.

Till then, there's more life to live.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Impressions 2

Here we have, in our minds, a handful of images, which we spend our lives living upto. Something put an "impression" in my mind, and no matter what situation I face, I try to see if it matches any of those impressions. Mostly without even intending to compare thus. I guess we all do. We have this database of emotions ( some of which we've been "taught" to feel), impressions, circumstances, and personalities. And no matter what we face, we first do a quick check to see if what we're facing doesn't match with one of those.

And if the situation matches something we've seen before, or heard of, or have been taught to anticipate, then almost always, our reaction is also laid out for us to enact. The day we really THINK before we act, we're said to have grown up. It's a part of growing up , when you analyze your reaction and try to figure out what influenced it. But that cycle of growth is complete only when then next time you see encounter such a situation again, your reaction is more carefully weighed before it is handed out. There are as many such cycles of growth as there are situations we face.

But to think for even 2 seconds before you react, there has to be a gap somewhere in your head. This gap is almost non-existent in my head when I'm in a city, because there're 5 tasks waiting in the pipeline, and analyzing reactions isn't exactly on priority. But even when I go to a place like Udupi, the situation I faced was that of emptiness. I didnt even take time to figure out if the emptiness was within or without. It could've been either. To analyze something logically, you first have to move away from it , to get a complete picture. You can't be in the throes of it and expect a sound objective analysis to happen. Maybe coming out of Bangalore , into a place like Udupi, threw me out of a situation that I'd grown too used to, and maybe Udupi made me hear the emptiness in me which perhaps I couldn't hear in the ho-hum of Bangalore.

Alternately, the emptiness in Udupi which I encountered, need not have been a reflection of internal status :D

Eitherway, the point is that I never took the time to think over what I was facing at that instant. I was busy. I was busy caught in conditioned reflexes like Pavlov's pet, and my reflex reaction was to feel lousy that there's so much emptiness in this moment.

Finally, forget why I felt that emptiness. Let me see what happened after I felt it.

Two things here.

  • 1. I experienced the emptiness for a bit and “automatically” wanted to “go away” from it, by thinking about Bangalore or whatever else.
  • 2. What’s wrong with emptiness. What’s unpleasant about it that made me want to escape from the present moment? Have I associated emptiness with a negative feel?

I’m becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the unpleasant tinge associated with emptiness is NOT a Pavlovian association. It is NOT conditioned by an external source. It is the most heartfelt experience, albeit unpleasant ( as the mind may see it). Man's most primal instict is to abhor solitude when it comes unsolicited. It’s evident that living in groups (herds...) is a characteristic feature that our species wasn’t given a choice about.

And for good reason. Because communication is thus facilitated, and hence all the progress down the timeline. Communication makes people happy at least for the reason that it assures man he is not alone. Even a fight, or an argument, carries with it the assurance that it is only breaking silence that would be unbearable for the unprepared mind.

What we do have a choice over, is the associations we make with these impressions. Up till a certain stage, even the meaning of emotions ( like happy, sad, gloomy, excited) is taught to us. But beyond a point, we can really choose what we want to feel, at any point of time, under any circumstance. Forget the initial reflex action that the mind gives out. There’s more that can be controlled. That’s pretty much what the present moment is all about. A string of such moments is what life is about.