Tuesday, December 29

With Open Hands

I was driving through Trichur countryside. Suddenly I noticed these sights. 
Stopped the car. 
Took the camera. 
Started to “click”. 
There was absolute silence everywhere. The gentle light of the sun was filtering through the clouds and falling on the grain fields below. I was joyful. The stress driving have had on me was gone. 
The ugly roads where polluting cars and motorbikes chased each other like mad dogs were missing. The filthy traffic blocks of Kerala roads were a far cry from these golden grain fields. 
Prisoner in a car was free at last!…What a relief ! 
Wished I had my off-road bicycle with me to explore these fields.  Owner of these fields may not wish that from me. 

I spoke a bit to the Silence. While my car cooled , I too cooled in the tender breeze.
When there is no overtaking, no honks, no radio to listen , no person to talk, no books to read, no phone call to make… how does that make me feel? Is silence fearful?

I know it is not easy to enter into the silence and reach beyond the many boisterous and demanding voices of our world and to discover there the small intimate voice saying ,

“ You are my Beloved Child, on you my favor rest.” .... 

Still if I dare to embrace my solitude and befriend my silence, I will come to know that voice.

...I walked away , claiming my own silence and solitude. 

Sunday, November 15

A time to remember ...

 I remember ...

Once I remember 4 of us trapped in an elephant country, up 3000 ft. high... All through the day we were cycling at our own speed. Then, as the night came and we couldn't cross-over those hills infected with elephants...( 'infected' is a wrong word to use on those hills. After all we have infected their country, their nation, their feeding points...) 

And when one gets trapped and when the night falls and is chill allover, one of the best things to do is to enjoy a bottle of beer ...
We 4 of us will never forget that oneness of getting stuck out there. Locals told us that elephants were crossing over the roads and it was dangerous to cycle through.
Pitch dark, our cell phones were also getting feeble with less and less charge. We had sent a message to our friends and they were going to come to pick us up ... but then, we had to wait and wait with some beer and cycle talks.

That day was a fine day... a sunny day and a day we will never forget ...

... and at the end of every trouble, there is a morning with a fresh beam of joy and happiness;
... with sun's rays kissing us another day in life !!

Sometimes, I love to ask myself complicated questions : Searching for God is one of them... 

"Our search for God is only our response to God's search for us. God knocks at our door, but for many people their lives are too preoccupied for them to be able to hear.  Each of us needs an opportunity to be alone, and silent, to find space in the day or in the week, just to reflect and to listen to the voice of God that speaks deep within us." 
...Cardinal Basil Hume  

and then ... 

" More and more , 21st century people are finding it more difficult to dwell in a universe inhabited by unseen presence of God... Our world has been reduced to what is physical, what can be measured, seen, touched, tasted and smelled. That means we have become mystically tone-deaf, for all the goods that matter are in the shop window." 
... Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Have you always felt closer to God when life goes out of your control ? I have ... and I wonder why I cannot grow closer to God in good times! It is like food : all the tasty food has either sugar, salt or fat ! I cannot have a taste outside these three things. God comes only with a "Bang"!

Can I have God outside troubled times? 

            "See! The winter is past ;
                the rains are over and gone.
            Flowers appear on the earth;
                  the season of singing has come,
                  the cooing of doves 
                   is heard in our land.
            The fig tree forms its early fruit;
                  the blossoming vines 
                  spread their fragrance.
            Arise, come, my darling;
                 my beautiful one, 
                 come with me."

Good bye my thoughts ...good bye !

( Photos : All photographs are from cycling trip to Munnar hills and trek to Himalayas ) 

Sunday, October 18

... a steel bike !

"That is why it is so important to let certain things go.
To release them. To cut loose. Don't expect to get anything back, don't expect recognition for your efforts, don't expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are!”
Paulo Coelho

Becoming who I am will look a lot rubbish in the eyes of the world if I fail to make money and name… because that’s what define an individual in today’s social circle. 

 There are times when we got to build our dreams  all by our own hands,… by our own imagination and by our own strength… it will involve relocation, reformatting or a re-new-ing of our beliefs and value systems. We might have to do it simply because “it no longer fits” our days or our journey. All we have will be a little deep voice in us that constantly echo our passion and vision. 

Someone said, “It takes courage to answer a call”. 
True, it takes lots to courage to make up our journey… 
a very our own journey and pedal with it all the while.

If we can live a life not to convince anyone and not to be in an ego-trap, …. if we can fail to fall victim of a social belief or to a world that looks to overtake us… then we can pedal our wheels of freedom to the golden sunset of our journey called life. 
... a steel bike called Pacer 


Sunday, August 9

“The diamond soul”

Little have changed from the basic triangle formation
in the structure of the bicycle frame all across 120 years!
-  a 1886 ad of  a bicycle

“The diamond soul” of the bicycle is something I have grappled a lot in my thoughts … why cannot we find a breakthrough change in its geometry? The triangulated, tubular, diamond shaped frame has dominated the geometry of cycle frames over a 100 years and continue to do it. 

“The diamond soul” first appeared in the market in 1885, discovered by a British industrialist John Kemp Starley. Compared to the efficiency and the strength the diamond geometry offer, this structure stands the best. Desperately, bicycle designers have tried to replace this simple structure of straight tubes with all sorts of shapes and sizes… with all sorts of nothingness and “simplicity”.  1000s of attempts were made to replace this diamond soul. But they haven’t been able to create a geometry that uses less and gives more than the diamond soul of a bicycle. Today, tube diameters may have increased and tubes that were once round may now be oval or tapered… tubes must have gone from steel to plastic to composite.  But the frame (the soul) is  a diamond. 

Over the years, tremendous contributions have been made in the material science and manufacturing technology towards improving the dynamics of a bicycle, but no breakthrough has happened on the “diamond soul”.

Curtis Inglis is brazing a Cielo frame at 
Chris King works
(from "Cielo Steps Up"... blog at Chris King)

The question I ask is, “Should we change what is best and what is going sturdy?” Should we do something unique and something afresh to keep civilization on the move? 

Ya...someone said , 
"There is NO NEW BLACK" 
I am not saying we shouldn't invent new ways of doing things...True, we must force ourselves to discover and invent a new concept. We should replace a living modal, when there is a necessity for it … not otherwise. Just because there is an annual expo of trends should not force a designer to birth a “disadvantage” which is funny looking, uneconomical, energy consuming or non-green. 

Friday, June 5

... year that is gone.

The rainmakers of Malabar have to wait. Monsoon doesn’t come so soon. 

I took out myself for a short spin. Meteorological department of the government has it wrong. Today was the day the rains were to arrive. Sky looked blue and placid… and the traditional anglers were busy with their nets and boats. 
Thank God, another year is through. The period from one monsoon to the adjacent summer makes one year of my life. People count it differently: some go with Malayalam Calendar and others with Georgian calendar… some with religious almanacs and other with seasons of the earth. I belong to the last group: seasons make up my life on earth. I love seasons. Manmade calendars are no good but for counting my age and knowing when to pay tax! 

This year was terrific : I was really on the road spinning ultra-long distances. That was great and I found lots of courage to do it. People may ask why I have to push myself for Randonneuring (brevetting, as some calls it). As Divya Tate puts it: I want to be my own hero. There is a little hero hidden in each of us… I just wanted to discover where it was at this period in my life. I am a little hero in a nation of hero worshippers. Ya… me have never had a hero in my life and will never have one, but me and only me is the hero in me! This year offered some of the best personal results in brevetting…. And that was the discovery I call “terrific”. And there is no going back on it! 

If the rainmakers of Malabar have to wait, then some of the children of the sunshine can walk, jog and stretch a bit more into the season reserved for the rain, dark clouds and monsoon. I have found the beaches of Malabar astonishingly polluted with solid waste: everything from plastic water bottles to rotting vegetable filth. Why is it that society which so much harp on about cleanliness fails on the roads and beaches? As I spin slowly across the once clean beach-roads, my heart  aches seeing the filth littered around pedestrian walkways. I am silent about it. I wasn’t born at that time… still, fifty years ago, life must have been simple off plastic and the multitude of advertisements spoiling the calm beachfront sky. All that is gone: Too many sounds steal away my silence. Nevertheless, can anyone disturb my darkness? 

Goodbye summer … the heat and sulking humidity is giving way to the cooler air and the rains. 

I have a long way to go … and “Lord, just give me that courage to take one day at a time and spin my way to that eternal destiny You have in me”