Monday, June 29

The Woods

There is nothing to keep me here,
Only these mountains of silence
And the gentle reserve of shepherds and woodmen
Who know me as one who
Walks among trees.

Madman, misanthropist? They make
Their guesses, smile and pass slowly
Down the steep path near the cottage. There is nothing
To keep me here, walking
Among old trees.

.... Ruskin Bond

Friday, June 26

Never... never alone!

“My solitude is not my own, for I see now how much it belongs to them – and that I have a responsibility for it in their regard, not just in my own. It is because I am one with them that I owe it to them to be alone, and when I am alone they are not ‘they’ but my own self.
There are no strangers! ...”....
Rev. Fr. Thomas Merton ( Confessions of a Guilty Bystander)
A constant force that overtakes us in a great mountain range is solitude. At the foot of a mountain, words die instant death. As I stood still in front of the mighty Himalayas, I could not pen a single word gazing the grandeur and the magnificence of its strength. I stood still and only watched...watched and prayed. Then I quickly understood that all God’s creation is my heritage...that rich heritage which was prepared before generations stood on the earth!!
Solitude is the melancholy of the modern man. The rich, the famous, the poor and the forgotten have all come under the spell of it. But as I glanced across the huge panorama of the mountains, I thought of this issue between the hills and me.
“In a world so rich with life and when you stand against all the test of times, when history just pass by your side, where is ‘solitude’?”... I asked the mountains. “As I look down upon the world... look down across the ages, I am not alone... never, never alone”, says the mountains.


Thursday, June 25

The Climb...

It is always a different view in a ‘climb’. It is one thing to look up to matters in life and another to look down from a vantage point. In the longest climb in my life, I have understood that it is one thing to see a mountain on a post card and it very different to attempt a climb to it.

Before all that, I remember standing with a pack of young men, mostly IT boys, and telling them that I too want to clear the medical fitness for the climb. Any climb involves fitness. And, running in my early 40s, I was afraid of being sent home. Meeting the screening personal, I told him that I have a heart for it, a spirit for it. “Give me a chance and I will do it”, I told him. He took me into the team.

What happens on a climb? One important aspect of any climb is the sheer effort we give to it and the reward... the relaxation we get. But more than the physical exertion, more than the flexing of the muscular system, the climb is often a pilgrimage. For me, the climb is an escape into wilderness where I can forget everything for days... forget everything but the closeness of God...that God is just ‘around’. The climb is a touchstone experience that tells me that God is intimately involved with life and creation.

But how to transpose this ‘climb experience’ from wilderness to my city living? When my calling is to dwell in a city, I must bring down the ‘top of the world’ moments to the seashores of my heart.



One of the most interesting features on earth is the existence of life in tough environments. Scientists have observed life deep in ocean floors and very much in arid deserts. The ecosystem teaches us that life is a survivor in those rigid environments and that it has been shaped to meet the challenges their environment offer.
True, I may not love the weeds the same way I love the flowers... but I respect them, learn from them, admire them for their tenacity to flourish in the most unlikely and harsh places...
At Roopkund, 16,400 ft. above, in snow at subzero conditions and in the periodic hot blazing sun, I saw a special Himalayan weed that grows on rock and lives among snow. Sitting down, I took a shot of it. They are survivors for a million years. I took my hats off. Yes, they have learnt the art of cold warfare, hailstorms and dry winds. At death, they leave a progeny for the next generation. And, life goes on and on. Weeds at 16,400 ft. teach us that it is great to live and let live.
While I watched those weeds, they did leave me a message home, “We will live with you till the ends of the world. Come friend, walk with me in the snow”.

Monday, June 22

Prayer for the day...

May God support us all the day long,till the shadows lengthen and the evening comes.

Till the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done.

Then in God's mercy, may He give us a safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at last.

.... John Henry Newman