Nothing is Static

Movement
Movement

Nothing is static…

Everything is changing constantly.

No one can be static even if they wanted to.

Each moment in time is perfect.

Being in the moment and appreciating it.

This moment won’t come back ever,

Nor will it ever be the same again.

One day we will be left with only memories.

Even at that moment,

We will have to be in that moment of time.

But when we have the privilege of looking back,

Let those moments be moments of sweet memories….

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The Dream

FROM “REFLECTIONS OF A PILGRIM”- MY OTHER BLOG –


One morning I found myself waking up from a dream. As dreams are, this was so real that I could continue feeling the dream even after I woke up. It was so incredibly real that it took me a while to realize that it was just a dream.

The moment I woke up, I remembered the story of Ashtavakra and King Janaka. This is the story of how once King Janaka had a dream. In his dream he was attacked by some neighboring kings and he lost his kingdom. He found himself being chased into the jungle and desperate for his life, he kept running.

Then King Janaka found himself hungry and tired. Looking around, he saw a hut in the distance and decided to go there to ask for some food. On reaching the hut, he found an elderly person who offered him some rice and dhall and he was left alone to prepare his own meal.

Hungry and exhausted, King Janaka walked to a nearby clearing in the forest and with much difficulty, prepared some kichadi (a soft mixture of rice and dhall )of some sort with the ingredients given and lay it on some grass to cool the hot food. Just as he was going to take his first mouth, he sees 2 wild boars running his way and they trample on his food which was on the ground. Giving up all hope, tired and hungry, his heart heavy and dejected King Janaka started to weep.

He weeps piteously, and tears roll down his cheeks. When the cool tears touches his cheeks he wakes up and finds himself in his palace, lying on his comfortable bed, being fanned by 2 beautiful girls standing near him.

The dream affects the King so much, that he calls all his ministers and advisors to explain the dream to him. Many come from far and near to give an explanation to his dream. Some say that, that was a dream and due to his good karma, he was saved from a life of poverty and it came only as a dream. Many came and gave various interpretations of their own to his dream. No answer was able to satisfy King Janaka and he offered the kingdom as a gift, if someone could interpret his dream. He also proclaimed that if the person could not give him a satisfactory answer, they will be put in jail.

No one was able to satisfy King Janaka . One day, Ashtavakra (a small boy) whose father was imprisoned by the King approaches him. He walks into the court of King Janaka and finds all those seated there laughing in jest of him. Ashtavakra – some one who’s body is deformed and crooked in eight places. Ashta meaning 8 and Vakra meaning twisted, walks towards the king with confidence.

He asks the king, “Why are you having shoe- makers in your court oh King ?” The King and all those in the court of the palace were shocked to hear a small and ugly looking boy uttering such arrogant words. All the ministers in the court become angry and start shouting at the boy. The king silencing the courtiers, looked at Ashtavakra and asked him the reason for his question. Ashtavakra without fear said, “Oh King! Only shoe makers judge a skin for its leather. They identify the leather from its quality and kind”.

“Here, I find your court filled with shoe-makers, who are only judging me by my skin and form. Hence I called them all shoe-makers” said the little boy. The court became silent and the King was taken aback by the wisdom of a child as such. Then the boy asks the King what he wanted to know. The king related his dream to Ashtavakra and asked his interpretation of the dream.

Ashtavakra, without any hesitation asked the King, “What were you having with you in your dream oh King?” The King recalled remembering holding a begging bowl. Ashtavakra asked where the bowl was now. The King said that he did not have it with him anymore. Ashtavakra then said to the King that, it was only a dream and hence he was not able to bring the bowl with him. This satisfied the King and then the little boy, looking around the huge palace sees the paintings of King Janaka’s ancestors.

He asks the King who they are and where they are now. King Janaka tells him that they were his ancestors, who lived before him and now they are no more. Then the boy asked the King, who this kingdom belonged to. The King said that the kingdom belonged to his fore-fathers and now that they are no more, it belonged to him now. Then Ashtavakra asked the king, “why did they not take the kingdom with them when they went?” King Janaka tells him that, now that they have died, they could not take anything with them from this world.

Then the boy asked the King who’s kingdom this was now. The King replied that it belonged to him. Ashtavakra asked the King whether he would take the kingdom with him when he dies. King Janaka said that he could not do so. Ashtavakra looking at the king said, “since you cannot take anything with you from here, Oh King! Then this too is a dream.!”

A Woman finding herself …..

She is a woman, finding her own space and place  in this  ever changing world.
One more human being, discovering herself,
 each day a new beginning – a new awakening .
~~
Loving, emotional, temperamental, moody, passionate ….
and trusting.  Desperately trying to be honest in the midst of  a world filled with greed and selfishness.
~~
Someone who gets  easily attached to people emotionally ….
One trait that she knows that she needs to change so as not to get hurt
But  then, she also knows that she has  her other side  too.
~~
Stubborn,  fiercely independent, wanting to break away from all the norms,
society has placed before her .
Sometimes she may even appear to be a little rebellious and arrogant  ….
Others may merely view her as a woman of respect and quiet in demeanor strictly adhering to the norms of society….
~~
But only she knows herself  to be this other  person ….
longing to  be released  from this capsule surrounding her  …
Someone who has been conditioned over the years by society with it’s usual code of conducts and morals.
~~
She can be shy and bold at the same time..
And  may suddenly come out of  her shell and reveal her innermost feelings,
or withdraw herself  within totally, unable to express what  she  truly feels.
~~
Someone  longing  to be released  from the chains tied around her .
She wants to taste the  liberty of freedom,
yet knows deep down, it’s limitations too.
~~
She is both black and white and all the hues in between,
 Finding herself strange and  complicated, sometimes she smiles to  herself .
People  may find her a little outrageous at times,
when she allows them a glimpse of her other rebellious side.
~~
Sometimes, surprising herself , she throws away all her fears and  inhibitions surrounding her.
Breaking away like a butterfly from it’s cocoon,
to spread her wings, she experiences little glimpses of paradise at times .
                                                                                 ~~
A woman who loves her  freedom, and wants to feel the flight…
She is  constantly evolving, changing, growing,
Learning, unlearning, releasing and holding .
~~
Just as a fluid  she flows …
Discovering the many splendors, life has to offer her !
A woman,  on her very own journey finding  herself….

Remembrance

I woke up this morning with the remembrance of my grandfather. For the first time in my life, I shed tears in his memory and symbolically touched his feet with my heart. I have not thought of him often, because I have only met him once. He fell ill and wanted to see us all, his son’s children. He was in India and we had to fly immediately to meet him.I was about twelve years old on my first flight with my brother who was ten then, traveling all by ourselves. The journey was unforgettable. All the air hostesses looked alike to us and we kept counting them again and again adding up to more than one hundred as they kept walking up and down the airplane. It was exciting for us kids to travel unchaperoned for the first time.
The village was slow moving. My memory of my grandfather is still quite vague. He was already of advanced age and his eye sight was failing. As children were, we were more interested in rushing out to see the place rather than staying to talk to him. I was fascinated with seeing the cows behind the house and the padi fields nearby. The mornings started with me running to the fields close by. The water from the dam was used to water the rice fields. It rushed out from the dam with such force that I could not wait to stand under the gush, for my morning bath. The green fields were a refreshing sight to the eyes too.

After the bath, I would come back to the house to see my grandmother ready with freshly made South Indian coffee, which is the best coffee you could find anywhere. I can still remember the aroma which is so tantalizing.
The fresh cow’s milk and filtered coffee’s combination is truly heavenly! After breakfast with Idlis , sambar and chutney, I would rush out to walk the streets of the idyllic Indian village with a girl who used to live close by.

I remember watching the children reciting the time tables, sitting on the verandah of the classrooms. These were the children from that village and surrounding villages, who had come to study there. This was one of the small villages surrounded by many other villages with no schools around.

Grandpa was inspired to start this school, to bring about education to the children of the village. Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to the education of children. He believed that, education was the only key to bring people out of poverty and ignorance. He pursed his dream till his last breath.

People at that time were so much into the caste system, and children of lower castes were not allowed to go to school then. But grandpa stood against those policies and stubbornly went about accepting any child, regardless of his or her caste or background. There was a time when the people from his community, started to alienate him too for allowing the children of other classes to study in his school. This kept him unperturbed and he carried on with his work religiously. He fought for equality and was a staunch Gandhi follower. He preached and lived a life of simplicity, not spending much on him but in the building of the school and later a college which is still being taken care by one of his other sons.

Some years later, I had gone to do my visa at the immigrations. I met the officer, who on finding out about who I was, wanted to speak to me. He told me that he was sitting on that chair because of grandpa. There were no schools in his village, so he walked to this school from his village nearby everyday, for his primary and secondary education. Now he holds a position as an immigration officer. He felt such gratitude and told me what a great man grandpa was. Though his words made me feel proud of him then, it did not register too long in my thoughts.

An incident took place recently, which ties it with the memories of grandfather. A woman related to me, her story of how she was treated as an untouchable by her employer, which was heart wrenching to listen to. I do not want to judge the employer, but it reminds me of how corrupt this whole class and caste system is. Since she came from such an upbringing, she brought with her the system which has become engrained in her.

This is not about a particular individual. This is about the whole system. This system of class and caste can degrade a human being. Without giving an iota of consideration to the feelings of the affected person, the system eats away the self worth of a human being. The person looses all self-respect and feels utter humiliation and dejection.

The woman’s deepest pain and cry shook me to my core. She moved me to weep with her. At that moment her pain became mine too .

I have never really thought much about this system of class differentiation, which is still practiced in India widely though not so openly now. But remembering grandfather who was already opposing this system more than fifty years ago and fighting to eradicate it brought those tears to me.

What a noble hearted human being he was. I felt sad that I do not even remember his face clearly. But this morning, my heart prostrated at the feet of this wonderful gentle man, who lived with his principles of equality and died with them.  If given another opportunity,  I would definitely want to know this gentle and kind philanthropic soul more personally ….

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” –

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.

Untangle

Oh….

How I long to untangle  for a moment ….

~~~

To break loose of all the chains binding me,

shackles in my mind of years of conditioning.

And to fly over the mountain tops like a bird.

looking down reveling in the beauty of the  valleys….

~~~

To feel the wind play with my hair  wildly,

and the soft breeze kiss my cheeks ever so gently,

To chase pretty butterflies across the fields,

and lay down on the grass totally carefree….

~~~

To ride a bicycle right into a pool of water,

to fall down and laugh to my heart’s delight.

To watch the sunset  over the horizon,

Lying down at the edge of the sea ….

~~~

To chase little crabs on the  sands of the beaches,

while  avoiding getting wet by her waves.

Then to fall into the waves of  the sea ,

allowing  it to carry me into it’s embrace….

~~~

To relish to my hearts delight,

chocolates and ice creams without any guilt.

To listen to all the music my heart longs for,

and to dance to my very own rhythm ….

~~~

Then to look up into the dark skies at night,

at the silent moon smiling at me ,

To lay in the arms of  my   lover,

And be totally lost in love forever ….

~~~

To  go beyond my goods and bads,

beyond my perceptions of rights and wrongs.

To abandon my prim and proper self recklessly,

And to untangle  for a moment ….

~~~

I Could…If They Would ~ Mattie Stephanek

‎”We must always remember to play after every storm.”…. ~ Mattie Stepanek

I remembered one of his poem which I am sharing here.

 

To  you Mattie, wherever you are….

I pray that all your wishes and dreams come true.

 

You may not be here physically anymore.

You left this world in such a tender age!

But your life was filled with so much of love and hope and joy.

 

You, of all the people in this world,

was in a position to complain about so much.

 

But you were the most sweetest angel,

A beautiful child, come to teach each of us a beautiful lesson in life.

To only see the beauty and goodness around.

 

You not only taught, but also lived your life as such.

What wisdom what compassion in the few years you were here.

You will always remain an Angel in my heart! ❤

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Could…If They Would

If they would find a cure when I’m a kid…

I could ride a bike and sail on rollerblades,

and I could go on really long nature hikes.

 

If they would find a cure when I’m a teenager…

I could earn my license and drive a car,

and I could dance every dance at my senior prom.

 

If they would find a cure when I’m a young adult…

I could travel around the world and teach peace,

and I could marry and have children of my own.

 

If they would find a cure when I’m grown old…

I could visit exotic places and appreciate culture,

and I could proudly share pictures of my grandchildren.

 

If they would find a cure when I’m alive…

I could live each day without pain and machines,

and I could celebrate the biggest thank you of life ever.

 

If they would find a cure when I’m buried into Heaven…

I could still celebrate with my brothers and sister there,

and I could still be happy knowing that I was part of the effort.

Mattie J.T Stepanek (author)

Row, Row, Row your boat……..

“Row… Row… Row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream”

This is a nursery rhyme most of us would have sung when we were kids. I too continued to sing it to my children when they were young. I never paused even once to understand the meaning of this simple rhyme!

I guess I do take a while to comprehend certain things. Not certain, but most things. Isn’t this message amazing and profound? How many of us take things too seriously, that we forget to enjoy life itself. Everything around us becomes so pressing and demanding that we hardly stop to ask ourselves whether this is really important.

Should I give so much priority to things that could have been ignored or overlooked? Do I need to get so involved with all the actions I perform everyday, that I forget to feel that I am alive. It takes someone’s death to remind me how vulnerable I am. I am reminded of the dreamlike state of this life. That death is a certainty!

This simple poem reminds me once more, that I need to row my boat gently. Yes, gently down this stream of life. My boat is extremely fragile. I can’t allow it to rock too much lest I get drowned. At the same time it reminds me that this life is only a dream, so I need to row this boat of mine merrily too. At the end of the day, I too will become a dream. But before that to wake up and become aware that I am very much alive !