Monday, October 31, 2011

B O D H I S A T T V A - Part VI : Final Secret of Life

Next day Sushant found the crocodile still under the banyan tree. There was something churning in his mind, a complete metamorphosis had taken place. Crocodile appeared to have reached a realm of neutrality. Happiness and sorrow seemed fake to him and the world, play of Maya. He no longer had that irresistible desire to know more, like the ascetics he wished to waste away …

Sushant said, ‘Chief I see that you are no longer interested in knowing anything more in life. But trust me there is something you must know. But, for that we must climb the hill first.’ So they began slowly going up the hill. Half way up they reached a flat space where a perilously hung rock jutted out of the hill its one end wedged and locked to hill while bulk of it suspended in free air. Sushant jumped over the rock, croc followed him over as if in trance. Once atop the rock; looking down they could see below Trishta flowing in rapids. A fall from there was certain death. Sushant said,

‘Chief, I see that base fear for preservation of life has left you else you would have hesitated to climb on to this rock. Death is finality of life. You asked me, how did I know that you will die in exact three days? I am no oracle, nobody is. I carved your future therefore I knew you will die in three days. You see, Chief, I planned to kill you here. But be happy dying isn’t such a bad thing, being born is. We live therefore we suffer. Die in peace friend.’

Sushant jumped from the hung rock and kicked hard at the piece of boulder holding the hung rock locked in a wedge like grip. The boulder moved causing the giant rock hurtling down the hill……….

Sunday, October 30, 2011

B O D H I S A T T V A - Part III : Second Secret of Life

Next day Sushant found crocodile right under that withered Jamun tree still mulling over the revealed secret of life. When he saw Sushant, said in appreciative voice,

‘Sushant, you are right. Ever since I diverted focus from preserving to living life there has been a defining change in my perspective. For the first time I observed songs of birds flying past this tree, I saw the twinkling stars in dark night, fascinating view of briefly frozen trail of shooting stars across the dark canvas. My thought horizon has expanded many fold, grossly alert predatory reflex subdued allowing for calm observation. I seem to have plenty of time to observe things, kind of living in slow motion. A sense of transcendental serenity pervading my being. The past night seems to have lasted over a life time. I am now fully primed to receive second secret of life ……’

“Chief we need to walk further up the river, to the base of that rocky hill before I can reveal second secret of life.’

So they began arduous walk up the river under the bright sun, eventually reached the base of a rocky hill; barren, dusty, filled with boulders not a blade of grass growing there save for a lone Banyan tree at the base. In the sea of wilderness, Banyan tree was the lone representative of life. Under its shadow Sushant revealed the second secret of life,

‘Chief, life must be preserved’

Crocodile looked at him incredulously, ‘But you said life must be lived not preserved.’

‘No Chief, I did not say life should not be preserved, I said the entire focus was on preservation of life but life cannot be lived unless it is preserved. Of course individual life is to be preserved but I mean life in the sense of life of species, races and the creatures occupying the land. Unless there are fellow creatures, life cannot be lived.  Look at this Banyan tree; it is flourishing in wilderness giving moisture to earth, supporting a variety of life forms. Its roots shooting down from branches creating a miasmic world under its shade. Colonies of ants and other life forms feeding from sap excreted from its limbs; thriving and becoming food for higher insects, recycling and eventually creating a self sustained eco-system. It is a world of give and take balancing leading to peaceful harmony and coexistence. Take only what you need and give back what you can without demur.'


B O D H I S A T T V A - Part II : First Secret of Life

There was something in Sushant’s voice, a strand of compelling truth, a sense of finality. The Crocodile now looked bewildered, waited for a while then let go of his leg, said

‘I know Sushant, you are wise and very able but how can you be so sure that I will die in three days? You may as well know your own fate then. Did it occur to you that your own end could come in just a few moments! When do you think you will die?’  
‘Chief, I cannot know my own fate, it will set the nature’s equilibrium off balance, unleash uncontrollable resonance resulting in destruction of human kind. Can you imagine where the knowledge of their invincibility will lead humans?’
‘But you just said I will die in exact three days!’
‘Yes you will!
‘So what is the deal?’
‘What deal, Chief?’
‘Surely you must have something in offer. After all consuming you may not be such a huge reward to me if I have only three day left to live but letting you off is a huge reward for you?’
‘Yes, indeed. Wise Chief, I have something in return for your kind act. I will reveal three secrets of life to you one on each of your remaining days so that when time comes to depart there will be no regret. Today I will reveal the first secret. But before that we will have to walk over to the tree yonder.’

So they walked about hundred meters upstream of the river where on the bank was a lone Jamun tree, withered, lifeless.  Once under its shadow Sushant said,
‘Chief, first secret of life is that we have to live it’
‘But this is no secret Sushant, we all live life?’ said the incredulous crocodile.
‘Really, Chief? Do we live life or we simply preserve it? All through the drift of life our actions are focused on preserving life while many windows pass by, we don’t even look through them. You see this Jamun tree withered and apparently lifeless yet attached to its dry and juiceless trunk there is a thriving evergreen Peepul living life to the fullest. Think about it, tomorrow I will let you into another secret of life.’

Saturday, October 29, 2011

B O D H I S A T T V A - Part I

When nature conspires, it picks a pleasant day.

Sushant, as Bodhisattva, was the chief of his herd. Contrary to general belief deer prefer open vistas, stretch of grasslands and not the dense forest as it deters predators waiting in ambush. Sushant and his herd had easy life at banks of river Trishta. The herd was growing, clear sign of natural equilibrium on the drift as a testimony to Sushant’s skilled and able leadership. Although there was relative peace on the land yet danger lurked on the river infested with ferocious crocodiles. They all had to go to river to quenching their thirst therefore had to deal with the crocodiles and occasionally become their meal.

 It was a pleasant day, Sushant, despite his skill, vast knowledge and clever ways lost focus due to all pervading sense lethargy. He was caught by the mightiest of the crocodiles perhaps their leader. Before the crocodile could begin his ferocious spin to rip his limbs apart, Sushant quickly regained his composer, said in a profoundly calm and persuasive voice…

‘Crocodile Chief, this catch is pointless, a wastage!’
The curiosity causing words had desired impact. Crocodile halted but did not loosen hold of jaws on Sushant’s leg, but waited in curious anticipation. Noticing the impact of his word on the crocodile, Sushant continued…

‘I will make a very big meal for you, Chief.  Perhaps you will not need to eat for another twenty days. Imagine the wastage when you are sure to die in exact here days from now!’


Monday, October 24, 2011

Aarasii IV

The park I frequent is not big. In fact it is about the size of two large traffic islands you see in New Delhi; like the one at Janpath and Akbar road crossing or one near Udhyog Bhavan.  Its shape is like a loose rubber band, uneven oblong. It mostly has fragile Rain trees along the periphery. Their grip of earth is very weak therefore often uproot in stormy rains. Rain trees normally form nice round dome like canopy but here they are in competition with tall buildings for sunlight therefore take vertical route for growth. The result is; the park looks like bottom of an irregular shaped high walled vessel. There is a raised walking track along the perimeter just enough for three people to walk abreast. A circular pagoda like shed at one end of the park is used mostly by smug but stern looking wise women/men imparting wisdom to lesser mortals. Inside of walking track on the lush green are concrete benches for people to relax.

I generally take a few rounds of brisk walking then settle down on one of the empty benches to catch my breath, spend time observing people. To each his idiosyncrasies! Like any other day the stretch of grass was dotted with islands of human clusters. Groups of ladies were gossiping while attached children having fun around them. Occasionally someone from them would yell out some instruction to children ‘don’t  do …….’  The group near me had a south Indian woman, young absentminded, striking for her detached demeanor. Dark complexioned she had that fatal appeal, not the sexy kind but of feminine vulnerability that spurs men to reach out and protect them. Suddenly she became violently animate…..
I could see a dark malevolent man standing behind the fence on the edge of park. Just the torso visible making deep guttural threatening sounds the kind hardly audible in lower range but very disturbing. The woman got up began speaking animatedly with in her native language with exaggerated gestures. She stayed rooted to her spot, staccato outburst quickly changed tone, now indignant, now cajoling and now issuing threats.  The man at the fence kept steady supply of provocation lest the woman relax.
Everyone of the group had now risen looked at her in stultified horror some totally flummoxed. I was surprised that none bothered to confront the offending man. The old man sitting next me on the bench whispered, ‘She is schizophrenic!’
‘What nonsense! Can’t you see the man on the fence threatening her?’
‘What man?’ he looked at me bewildered.

I saw what she saw because I also had the same mirror to see......

Friday, October 21, 2011


Mist lets you see partially therefore word automatically acquires a sense of mystery. It also has the ability to place a layer of shroud over things therefore removes ugliness of a scene. Mist is like nostalgia, it purges unpleasantness of past, presents a hazy romanticized picture of past with blunt edges fudged out a le fantasy in slow motion. When I reminisce past, I see an innocent kid running with a kite or on a swing in wet monsoon or climbing Jamun, Ber trees; not the brutal schools, difficult parents or general deprivations. Hard truth is, I don’t want to live out the past all over again. I suppose nostalgia evolved in the context of evolutionary scheme of things to purge unpleasantness from our mind else collective garbage from past wouldn’t let us move on unbiased.

This amazing picture shows in a metaphorical way conclave of serious individuals busy in a hushed conversation.  . . …..

Beautifully captures essence of Mist!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The hillock was mostly bald with patches of green but largely ugly brown. At the summit were two skinny trees with little leaves and not too many branches. The larger of them had Y shape; appeared like a woman mulling with one arm, elbow bent, resting on her hips. The other looked like her child with a basket on head. The visual was disturbing.
Beyond the hillock was a forlorn railway Station. It was mostly empty of people; a single train went up in the morning, the same returned in the evening. The platform was not raised but its vague boundary was marked by red bricks dug into the ground upright. It was at the same level as the railway line. A small three room building in very bad shape served for the office of station master, ticket window etc. Signal towers at each end of the platform and a steel structure at one end of the platform holding a small water tank completed the station complex.
It was twilight time. A lone man with crisp white shirt and dark firmly ironed trouser with a brief case in hand was restlessly strolling up and down the platform. He looked very odd in that milieu, apparently an agriculture implements salesman. He had already enquired with the station master several times about the arrival train. The place appeared to him stuck in some kind of time warp. There was nothing he could do to accelerate passing of time. Then he saw some hope. At distance he saw movement over the railway line, a train was arriving. His hopes were dashed when a goods train came to a halt with nasty shrieks of breaks moving down the train decaying in a wave like surge. The trade mark guard’s cabin was in the middle of the train. He saw a funny character jumping from that cabin, immediately began running towards the engine. He began attempting to climb to the roof of that engine. Strangely it was a diesel engine so the effort made no sense to the man at the platform. In fact he felt fearful for the guard as a high tension wire ran over the track. He hesitated briefly then briskly walked over to station master’s room to report this bizarre happening. He expected a minor eruption of temper but the station master looked at him sympathetically through the thick glasses, which made his eyes look grotesque, said ‘Sorry fellow, a goods train will pass first before your train arrives.’
‘Goods train will pass! It has already arrived and halted. I have come to report the same. A crazy fellow is trying something incomprehensible. Please stop this crazy man.” 
‘What are you talking? The train hasn’t moved from the last station!’
‘I was about to tell you about that crazy guard in that goods train. The fellow will get electrocuted? You must stop him.”
The station master looked at him curiously and got up. When they came out, the sales fellow was shocked to see an empty station. There was no sign of the goods train.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011


by Kali Hawa

The sea was calm and the wind a steady drift. That lone bloke standing on the deck was thinking, the ocean looked so refreshing and endearing in the middle of the day has morphed into a sinister maelstrom in the darkness of night. The lit cigarette held between his fingers was making fascinating crisscrossing patterns in the dark canvass. Occasionally some spark would detach from the glowing head, for a moment swing around, abruptly die. In the loneliness of night he could see ruins of a towering structure not far away. A light-house perhaps!  Like the kalaiwala*, ruii-dhunnewala, and pager, it’s time to fade away has come leaving space for more glitzy and efficient contraptions. Who knows how many flotillas, barges or even pirate ships corrected course taking cue from its simmering beacon; now this grand relic is having tough time asserting its usefulness. Surging waves would fill up its shaft and when receding, fountains would burst out of the crevices on wall, declaring audaciously its struggle for existence. 

Suddenly he felt a large blob of light hung in the air some distance from him. He then heard someone whispering to him…

rukaa kuch bhi nahiin hai
sirf rukne ka ehsaas hai 
zindagi ka markaz aik equilibrium  hai
uske ird-gird pendulum ki maanind ghumati hai 
raftaar ka ehsaas jiine ki shakl hai............'

[Nothing is still; what seems still is only our perception.  Life swings around an equilibrium and the feel of motion is our sense of living]

‘Who are you?’
 I am your God!’
My God? Does every individual have his own God?
Yes indeed. I am merely projection of your thought.
What is with the sphere shape?
It looks the same from every side!

Abruptly the blob of light went blank; everything sank in an abyss of darkness. Then he realized the light from the tower that was focused on him had gone off instead a dull dying white glow occupied that spot.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Aarasii III (Mirror)

The man entering the room was a psychic. The room was about twice as long as its width, looked largely bare with minimal furniture, a couple of pictures hung on the side walls. It was brightly lit, walls painted in matte white finish. He could see a high mirror neatly embedded into the side wall on his left in the middle of the room. It had varnished wood frame delicately worked with flowery patterns as if it was a celebrated painting.  As he entered the room, the door swung back slowly, closed with a mild thud.

Nothing to do, he walked up and down the room scrutinizing the little furniture and looked at the paintings on the wall critically. Eventually when he looked at the mirror he felt a surge of fear running down his spine. All was normal except the mirror didn’t reflect his own image! In reflex he looked at his hands, bent his head to look at his torso for reassurance and then looked back at the mirror, nothing; his image still wasn’t there. He was a psychic, he knew it was just a trick, mostly sleight of hand to fool people, sometimes strong persuasive suggestions to warp consciousness and fool the mind but brazen disappearance of image was not explainable. In auto reflex his hands moved up to mirror to feel it. He was surprised that there was no mirror at all. It was open space, a pane less window. In fact an identical room in the style of mirror image of the one he was in; complete with reversed pictures and furniture existed on the other side.    

The above was merely a writer’s way of creating allegory, a powerful allusion or metaphor to make a point. There is nothing in the world we can say with finality. If I say am agnostic, it is only at conscious level I reject super-normal and irrational but I have no control over my subconscious. It is still ruled by occult, paradigms of superstitions and belief that my destiny is enshrined in wriggly lines on my palm. Is death then cessation of existence? Indeed it is at rational level but life is a lot more complex, there are mindboggling thoughts that prevent us from acknowledging this possibility. When I think of life after the death it seems to me that secrets of the world will be revealed to me after the body’s expiry date.  It doesn’t quite gel. If the secrets are revealed, our reason to exist in any form will also evaporate. Paradoxical, isn’t it. We must live to know that we will never know why Universe exists!  There really is no mirror on the wall to show us what we are, why we are.