Monday, August 30

Someone thought of it so...

Of all the ‘stands’ that I have in my life, 
there is nothing as brilliant as this. 
You may mistake it as a replica of the famous 
Polynesian stone statues of Easter islands. 
Don’t worry! It isn't. 
See what my favourite stand holds!!

Friday, August 27

... scribbling the dead.

Merriam-Webster describes epitaphs as ‘an inscription on a tomb or a grave in memory of the one buried there’. I think epitaphs go beyond that. Sometimes it even describes the love-hate relationship that is prevalent in the contemporary life of the family of the person described in the epitaph.

Given a pen to write one last (one lasting) sentence about a person who has left me, what will those scribblings be?  Proposing epitaphs has put me in difficult situations. How about you? If not in ink and paper, we all might have thought of an epitaph deep in our heart for the many that has walked away from our life: our friends, our neighbours and the many faces that have left us for eternity.

Whenever I   visit a cemetery, I always like to discover unique wordings that fully embody the life of the dead and the feelings of the living. Today, with a huge limitation in space for the dead (!), beautiful epitaphs are hard to discover. So, the ancient epitaphs holds good. 

One of the most beautiful epitaphs that always come to my heart is that of the much-admired Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. It speaks every breath of his life: Free, Free... I am Free at last!

Take a good look at all these epitaphs on the head-stones of the dead. When a friend of mine forwarded me these epitaphs last week, I understand that the art of scribbling the dead isn’t really dead!

Sunday, August 22

If only...

If only I could drop a flower every day, all my way...
Shedding all my greed and fear away.
Surely, world would be a better place...
If I start to do it right away!

 I wish all my friends and flocks 
a great and blessed Onam....

'just as i am' 

Thursday, August 19

...a talk to my best friend.

Discouragement is one great of a problem that I see here and there.... and sometimes in me.  The world ‘discourage’ when dissected becomes ‘dis’ and ‘courage’.  But the profundity of the problem runs much deeper than a lack of courage. Beyond affecting the ‘courage’ side of our personality, it runs deeper: Like a cancer, it just sucks away the vary ability to survive. I know that discouragement will just shutoff people from their world: they will not wish to face people and will stop all communications. They even put themselves off the world....they commit suicide!  

Recently I came across a brilliant manner in which one can contain discouragement. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, at one time the greatest heart surgeon in England, says about this in his excellent work, Spiritual Depression, It's Cause and Cure:
 "Most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself  rather than talking to yourself."
 Think about it: When I  am discouraged, I wake up in the morning and right away, there are streams of thought coming into my mind. I never invited them; I didn't even ask for them; I am not consciously doing anything to produce them...still they just come and start talking to me. That is bad!  I know that most of these discouraging thoughts that come to me are not dialogues... they are monologues. Hence, I got to beak it. Dr. Martin Lloyd’s teaching to talk to oneself is of paramount importance to tackle discouragement. Talk back to your heart positive words, talk back happiness, talk back about the good things in life, talk back about the blessings God has showered , and talk back about a great step that will be taken today... then the negative monologues that pop out of our heart will soon stop and there will be streams in the  wilderness. 

Isn't my heart the best friend that I can talk with? 


Sunday, August 15

... a mere affair of weather ?

The air was full of sun and birds,
The fresh air sparkled clearly.
Remembrance wakened in my heart
And I knew I loved her dearly.

The fallows and the leafless trees
  And all my spirit tingled.
My earliest thought of love,
  and Spring’s First puff of perfume mingled.

In my still heart the thoughts awoke
  Came lone by lone together –
Say, birds and Sun and Spring,
   is Love, a mere affair of weather? 

( Poem titled 'Spring Song' by R. L. Stevenson / 
   Photo: Himalayan Meadows from personal file )

Saturday, August 14

...not altogether lost

I KNOW THAT this life, missing its ripeness in love, is not  altogether lost.
I know that the flowers that fade in the dawn, the
     streams that strayed in the desert, are not
     altogether lost .
I know that whatever lags behind in this life laden with
     slowness is not altogether lost.
I know that my dreams that are still unfulfilled, and my
melodies still unstruck, are clinging to some lute-
strings of thine, and they and they are not
altogether lost.

.... (from Tagore's Crossing) 

Thursday, August 12

... a very special August!

A friend of mine told me that this August is very special. The month has been gifted with 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays and 5 Tuesdays. Well, he also pointed out that such a phenomenon would recur only once in 823 years!  ‘You wouldn’t be around when this phenomenon recur in the universe’, he reminded me! 

What does it matter me to have lived through this special month of August? How does it matter me, if this month is studded with an extra day or a week? There is only one important thought : Have I lived another day in the direction of my vocation?  Getting that answer right is all-important. Hence, any amount of days or weeks that are added or subtracted from my calendar called life is of trivial importance to me.  


Tuesday, August 10

Meaningful living...

Our life , as individual persons and as members of a perplexed and struggling race, proves us with the evidence that it must have meaning. Part of the meaning still escapes us. Yet our purpose in life is to discover this meaning, and live according to it. We have, therefore, sometimes to life for. The process of living, of growing up, and becoming a person, is precisely the gradually increasing awareness of what that something is. This is a difficult task, for many reasons’..... Thomas Merton, (‘No Man is an Island’). 

 One of the trickiest actions that I face in my life is to examine if I am having a meaningful living. My life is mine. It should give me meaning. My conscience, my attire, my words and my actions and my prayers all must point to what I am. My life cannot be a game under a mask.  The basic need of living is that, it must have a meaning... a simple meaning. Nevertheless, tell me, what is this ‘meaning’ all about?  It is so cruel that in the process of discovering the meaning of life, many cheat themselves. Drug addiction or suicide, tramping or over indulgence in materialism, immorality or lose of self-respect is all a part of meaning that escapes us.

But, can I discover myself ? Can I individually find a way to my own self-realisation? Am I particular that my loved members in this world-family find true meaning for their own existence? Or, can I let them go to themselves.  

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Monday, August 9

The traveller

"There are no foreign lands. 

It is the traveller only who is foreign" 

...Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, August 6

the sacredness of solitude...

The tranquillity of empty spaces surprises me. They tell me more about inward solitude that one seeks.

Solitude gives anyone a platform to look beyond himself. It helps us to  see our inner world as it is. It helps us to look out to the outer world deep from our inner resources.  In that aspect, empty churches, empty mountains or empty streets... all of them attract me most.
Last week, I was in an empty chapel by a seaside. Rejected and broken down, this old place of worship and her premises were feared by the local people. Adding to their fear was an ancient Christian cemetery adjacent to this ruin. Totally abandoned over a century, this place was shunned by anyone with a little breath! Then suddenly, all of this fell into the hands of a group of restorers.  Today, having gained her former glory and kissed by the sea wind, the chapel stands facing the sea.  Absolutely tranquil, it speaks no words...and is all filled with the sacredness of solitude. The gothic arches in complex propositions and Celtic crosses all around tell me from afar that it is of pure occidental origin. 

For solitude, there is no design. The empty space speaks of no direction. It only reinforces our efforts to spend little moments of our life in recollection and self-searching. This is the sacredness of solitude all about.