Saturday, July 31

... call me a brother.

I am so jealous to see some men with half a dozen coloured braids around their wrist. 

No one has tried to tie a simple woollen braid around my wrist and 
to glance at me as a protective brother and more. 
How can it be that I am so good and the world hasn't taken me in as her brother? 
If I am to believe that a simple woollen thread tied around my wrist is the symbol of everlasting friendship,    
I wonder how much I miss seeing my bare wrist everyday! 

Past and gone are all those wonderful moments when my friends could have intruded into my world and stolen me... when my friends could have tied a  thread on me...
when  Archie cards and 'I love you/s' would work effectively. 

No one lit my candle of romance ... 
and the candle still lay without a glow.     

I am so jealous to see some men with half a dozen coloured braids around their wrist. 

Friday, July 30

My paper boats...



It takes very little effort to make paper boats. All it takes is to pull out a paper from any of the notebooks, fold it hurriedly and launch the boat sailing in the rainwater. The boat sails... tossing through the torrent flow. It takes only a little time to wet herself. Soon, it is time to sink...and sinks away she is.

The child and his paper boat is a microcosm of life itself. A paper boat afloat reminds me of an important joy: that of an achiever. It is not a boat that he has really set a sail. It is the little dream of a child that has set a sail. Nevertheless, the little child also knows that his Paper boat dream will not last long. Doesn’t matter. Even the dream of a rocket scientist may not last longer than that of a paper boat sailor. So, it is ok. Another joy of the setting paper boat sail is to see how it will negotiate the monsoon water channels. Often, the child follows his paper boats along the torrent flow....The little sailor assists his boats to journey a little longer.

Sometimes, I used to colour the boats with wax crayons and watch the coloured boats float away. Often the boat doesn’t carry any name. Today, the little nameless paper boats that have passed away, remind me of many things in my life that has come and gone without names. Yes, many a things in life really doesn’t take any name in my heart. That too is a part of life.

Sometimes, the boat is loaded... loaded with paper balls or wild flowers. Guess what happens with that earthly load. Does all of it sinks away to nothingness?  Or, Is the child gifting the fairies his little dreams?  A poet will speak of the flowers and the fairies. Others will see the nothingness of the paper boat. Sometimes a poet, sometimes ‘others’, I see both.


Coming home, my mother discovers the missing pages in my notebooks. She scolds me... scolds me for playing in the rain and for all the missing pages. Then, like another rain in the monsoon, I listen to her scoldings and dream... dream of all the boats that I have set a sail. 
As the cool rainy night ends another paper boat day...
as I watch the starless cloudy sky calling me to slumber, I lay with my head on my pillow and dream of all the distant lands my paper boat would sail... 
all the mighty waters it would glide and one day, together with my mother, laugh at the paper boat dreams.

***



I dedicate ‘My Paper Boats’ for my school days’ friends, 
many of them with names, some without...
many of them with colours, some without... 
who have all set their own sails into the torrent waters called life.

***

Monday, July 26



"I am to love God enough to be contented. . . . 
When I lack proper contentment, I have forgotten that God is God. . . . 
A quiet disposition and a heart giving thanks is the real 
test of the extent to which we love and trust God."


--Francis Schaeffer in True Spirituality, Chapter 1

***
Photo: A path to an ancient graveyard. 

Friday, July 23

...to balance both.

My real dilemma is that I have found it very challenging to find time for reflection these days – too little mediation and quiet. As everything about our culture gets louder and louder, the quiet little still voice somewhere down there gets hushed up. What a pity!  

News today is that most of the EU banks have won the ‘stress test’. World must be happy about it. I am, for sure.  I wonder if these simulated ‘stress’ effects are good enough for real-life situations. The financial markets of this day are responding to this news positively. Yet, all these are but voices that are so loud in my heart...so loud as to steal that little quietness.  

“Your heart is where you money is” Lord Jesus said 2000 years ago.  The question is whether I can place my heart in the right perspective of life wherein I need not compromise earthily values and heavenly blessings.  The trick is to balance both. Am I a Libran? Ya... a true Libran!! 

Wednesday, July 21

fireflies...





In this monsoon, fireflies are a common sight everywhere. 
They are difficult to be captured on my lens using my kind of equipments. But still, they are in my mind. 
They twinkle a lot and lose themselves into the emptiness of the monsoon nights. 
I do not know from where they come. I will not  know where they will fly away. 
For that matter, why do they twinkle at all? 
Is there a reason for that? Is it to attract someone like me? 
How long will they live... live to give me these twinkling spots of light?  
My fancies are fireflies...Specks of living lights, 
       twinkling in the dark. 

***


  

Monday, July 19

something about wish lists...

Often I make‘do-it-today’ lists. I will sort these lists on priority. I write them with pencil on a post-note pad. Then I’ll plan the total scope and the direction of these lists. “Should I start from north of the city and go to the east?”, “Should I do it in my car or on my cycle?”... and some trivial questions like these will keep                          my thinking going.

There are also the long-term wish lists. I dribble with it each day, accomplishing a bit of it day by day. That too requires stops and breaks...that too require planning directions. But then, there is always a small bit to be done, to be accomplished and to be fulfilled.

I think everyone in the world has wish lists. Like me, the mind of a mystic too isn’t really free from wishes. The only difference is that, while I think of the tangible and the worldly, the mystic will think of the intangible and the heavenly...while I wish for what can be seen and touched, the mystic will wish for the what cannot be seen and touched.

The Animal world has much simpler wish list. The other night I woke up to hear the sound of growling. Flashing a torch, I discovered what it was all about: it was my pet Jill working on an old bone she had hidden away from her day-time rivals. I had seen her working on that bone some days ago. May be, she has a wish list too: to do the bone bit by bit. Hence, she takes it at night and works on it bit by bit. When she is tired, she will hide it for working on it another day.

World  CAN be cruel without any wish lists, isn’t it? When I am done with all that is in my wish lists, how dull can life be!  No wonder some achievers put a bullet to their brains when they have accomplished all their wishes... What a crazy world!

***
 

Thursday, July 15

Unable to see with eyes...


You cannot see some things with your eyes. You have to see them with your heart, and that’s the hard part of it.


Tuesday, July 13

Half-fish


It so happened that my eyes fell upon an old book that I have read long ago: Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’. Dusting it up and re-reading it was a delight. This old book is special to me. It reminds me of the times when I had read it as a teenager. Today, the pages have gone brown, but the scent on it remains... the youth of life has a little faded but the fun endure. Like a vintage vine, 'the Old Man and the Sea' seizes me.   

One of the most difficult parts of any fight is to go back and review the whole of the fight later. History has stories of emperors and worriers repenting after great wars they have won or lost. ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ is a tragedy of a life well fought... it is also the celebration of an effort well done. The beauty of the story is that it leaves no one a victor or a looser. Still, as the skiff slowly pulls into the Havana shoreline, the vibrant angler suddenly looses all his feelings and is very sterile.

Hemingway writes thus: He knew he was beaten now finally and without remedy and he went back to the stern and found the jagged end of the tiller would fit in the slot of the rudder well enough for him to steer....He sailed low now and he had no thoughts nor any feeling of any kind. He was past everything now, he sailed the skiff to make his homeport as well, and as intelligently as he could.

The most remarkable portion of the story is when Hemingway describes the old man felling sorry for leaving a fish half-dead. The old man refuses to call the fish ‘half-dead’. Instead, he calls him ‘half-fish’.

The story goes like this: He could not talk to the fish anymore because the fish had been ruined too badly. Then something came into his head. ‘Half-fish,’ he said. ‘Fish you were. I am sorry that I went too far out. I ruined us both. But we have killed many sharks, you and I, and ruined many others. How many did you ever kill, old fish? You do not have that spear on your head for nothing’

Like the old man asking the fish, today I ask myself, ‘How many ‘half-fishes’ have I left on the high seas of daily life, to drift dead later?’

Life is bad when we think of all the killings we have made. Like the old man, I too repent a little while!

Monday, July 12

the Cross Politics...

I have often understood that politics in any form is nasty. Irrespective of region or religion, politics always comes with a dose of hatred, lies and backstabs. The public face of politics is often under a mask of smiles and, political handshakes always go with a cause.

The ruthless manner in which politics is conducted in the name of religion is far from the values that any religion teaches or believes. Many people seem to have understood this long ago.

For me, I too am a part of  church politics...a victor of church politics... a victim of church politics. Sometime ago, I was much surprised to read a poem of Tagore in this direction. It is indeed intriguing to understand that Tagore seems to have gone miles into Christians’ life and the Christ they uphold.  Reading it, I was humbled to understand that things haven’t much changed in the Church and the politics church has imbibed. Tagore’s poem titled ‘The Son of Man’ is worthy of every word it uses to describe nature of today’s system of Church and her followers.  It makes an excellent reading of church politics.

****
From HIS eternal seat Christ comes down to this earth,
 Where, ages ago, in the bitter cup of death
 He poured his deathless life for those who came to
the call and those who remained away.

He looks about Him, and sees the weapons of evil that
wounded His own age.

The arrogant spikes and spears, the slim, sly knives,
the scimitar in diplomatic sheath, crooked and cruel,
are hissing and raining sparks as they are
sharpened on monster wheels.

But they most fearful of them all, at the hands of the slaughters,
are those on which has been engraved His own name,
that are fashioned from the texts of His own words
fused in the fire of hatred and hammed in hypocritical greed.

He presses His had upon His heart; He feels that the
age-long moment of His death has not yet ended,
that new nails, turned out in countless numbers by
those who are learned in cunning craftsmanship,
pierce Him in every joint.

They had hurt Him once, standing at the shadows of
their temple; they are born anew in crowds.

From before their sacred altar they shout to the
soldiers, ‘Strike!’

And the Son of Man in agony cries, ‘My God, My God,
     why hast Thou forsaken  Me?”

****

Saturday, July 10

the Bible...

 "It's not the parts of the Bible I don't understand that bother me; 
it's the parts I do." 
... Mark Twain 

Friday, July 9

geraniums...

From my bed or desk I can gaze at my geranium and have pleasant thoughts. Is that meditation? Or is it contemplation?...
But meditation is in fashion....people give and take courses in it!...whereas I am yet to meet someone taking a course in contemplation. I suspect that meditation is something that you do deliberately and contemplation is simply what comes naturally.
When we meditate, we look within, and hopefully that is something to find there. When I look at a flower, I am looking without contemplating at the miracle of creation. I suppose we should do a little of both, just to get the right balance.

(Quoted from ‘Notes from a small room’....Ruskin Bond)

Wednesday, July 7

Life corrodes...




Life corrodes in different ways.  
Sometimes, as the sun sets in the sea, the waves looks as if  life has turned rusty.  




Life can be also turn rusty up on my roof, when the old night light dies away showing all its skeletons to the sun. 




Life is indeed a decay when I see people dying away in drugs and alcohol and as the world around keeps walking. 


Life corrodes in different ways: as a natural process and as an intentional process. 
Is it all in our control? 


Monday, July 5

Stone Bench and the Esplanade...



There is a little stone bench on this esplanade.  And I sit on my bench to watch people walk their way. There might be different reasons for people to walk: some for recreation, some for livelihood, some  for shedding that extra weight and some for keeping their hearts young. Sitting on the bench by the esplanade, I love to watch them walk... walk their daily dose of destiny.
Today it is all different. The esplanade is all-empty. The sun has just risen and she does not seem to take notice of the empty walk-way....She cannot wait to see if people would walk, talk, laugh or cry before giving light and heat to everyone alike.  She has been shedding light for a million years and has seen many walk their own way. So, today too is just another day.
A stone bench and an empty esplanade has more to tell me as I sit and wait to see people walk. I see some stride, others pace while many tramp. What difference does it makes if all reach the same place by this esplanade at their own very style and pace? Life would be too uninspiring if all of us walk this esplanade in the same style and for the same reason! Life means one thing to some and some things to others. It cannot mean one thing to all.
The little stone bench and the esplanade will tell me more as I sit to watch people walk...I must listen, I must learn, I must write and I too must keep walking my esplanade and more. 


***

Thursday, July 1

a thorny affair...




This is a ‘lazy picture’ shot on an humdrum day... and there can be thorns here and there. The trick is to discover the beauty among the thorns... fecundity among parched grounds... a little of radiance in darkness... and to keep moving on.

In a famous English Classic, ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ (an allegory written by John Bunyan), the beauty of the story is in seeing the main character moving on in all circumstances of his earthly journey. Though he gets pitched with dirt and mud, he keeps on moving. That is the thorny affair of life and that is the beauty of it! 

   

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