Sunday, June 26

... half-understood mountains.

AFTER FIVE LONG YEARS in a boarding school, I remember my last school day. Together with some outgoing friends, we tossed books and lose-papers into air.  Some of us splashed our inkbottles empty and others crushed the blackboard chalks. " The school is all over" we shouted. Then we danced together in the study hall and screamed. Then we made a wish that we will all be together ... together as friends forever. The last day at the engineering college too was similar: the emotions were high and we exchanged our calculators (a prized possession during those days!). We created an address book and promised that we would keep in touch and continue to be friends. Looking back, I am shy about all those lost promises (Isn’t it bad to make promises too quickly and break them so soon?). True, emails and computer-based social networks have saved some of our promises and pride. Nevertheless, most of it was lost for a good while.

After every trek, there is always a deep wish that our trekking team remain together forever.  I know it is a dream to wish that way. Trek is the only common element that unites every member in that team. And to wish that the same team came together once again for a similar attempt elsewhere on a strange mountain is a dream! I do not know if 15 or 20 members of a trek team can ever rejoin elsewhere in totality. Fate has it that some will never be able to make it. Hence, the team will never be complete with everyone.  
In my life, it is the memories of the past and the thoughts about the future that make me a captive of my mind. If I can disassociate from my past and make no promises to my future, then life can be boundless. ‘Today’ is more relevant than the past or the future... and in life, it is almost impossible to recreate a long lost team. Whether it was my school team, college team, football team or a trek team... they all dissipate once the mission is accomplished. Larger the team, more widely is the dissipation.

Of course, I enjoy this life here and now! It’s wonderful! Yet there is a secret to it: My long lost teams can never come together. Like I keep glimpsing at the great mountains on the trek routes again and again, I keep glimpsing at this secret again and again: the secret of a lost team!

In life, I will never fully understand everything. Half-understood mountains and the long lost teams are some of them! They are ephemeral and fleeting.

Let me keep moving for there is always a ‘now’ and a ‘present’ .... and there is no other choice! 

Thursday, June 9

the cry and the life ..

One of the important tricks that I enjoy is to simply be awakened to the presence of God in the daily moments that I live. Simple things like the peeling of the oranges or the fruity fragrance of the ripe mangoes are a time to think about the mercies of God.

Every life that utters the first cry at birth tells me that life is a struggle. I wonder how many staffs in the maternity wards of hospitals think of this! For the rich and the poor alike, life is a struggle.  In all this, it is a great metaphor to see life as a small pilgrimage and me as a pilgrim on earth. The changing times that we live... the globalisation and the wars, the tsunamis and the uncertainness that we pass by everyday makes us know how transient life is! Taking it all as a pilgrim alleviates the pain and the joy of being a man I am.

Buddhism teaches that every attachment brings pain and every desire is the root of all miseries. How correct it is to contemplate on those teachings! Nevertheless, the world would have at once come to a dead stop, if these teaching were obeyed! So why are these teachings important? They are important for me to see and understand the ephemeral nature of our pilgrimage. “Seek first the kingdom of God, and the rest will follow”, Jesus taught.

With Tagore, I must ask, “Who knows when the chains will be off, and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset, vanish into the night?”

"EARLY IN THE day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat,
only thou and I , and never a soul in the world would know of this our pilgrimage
to no country and to no end" ... Tagore

Photos :  From personal file. 

Monday, June 6

Murmurings on a rainy day...

With the inauguration of a monsoon, new lives begins to awake 
and the dead will rot to dust...

The rains have come for the year. That marks the end of heat. That also closes much of my cycling days and the outdoor activities. The rains have reached burgeoning with heavy water drops. I love the rains and the sound of water falling. The smell of the dry earth has given way to the wet sticky mud all around. The termites and the white ants have emerged from their lower lairs. The breeze is cool. The twilight is rich with dark heavy clouds. The office commuters look dull in their raincoats. Most of them aren’t really dressed to meet the on slaughter of the heavy monsoon. By the time commuters  reach their offices, they will be wet. Yet I enjoy the presence of water and the rain all around. In rain, the streets become rapidly empty. With a large umbrella, I often get dressed up to survey rain and the empty street.      

Last week I bought home my new cycle – a Cannondale Quick 5. Rains have put a brake to all my cycling. Yet I wait for the occasional sunshine for taking her out.  I found a little time to ‘click’ and glue all her photos together on Photoshop.    
I found a little time to ‘click’ and glue all her photos together on Photoshop. 


Thursday, June 2

... a few words on my thoughts

Farmers always have something to do on their fields.  But, today, I saw empty fields after the harvest. The beautiful sun kissing the empty earth was a gorgeous sight that forced me to stop and take a ‘click’. Though it was morning, the fields seem to be telling me that it is asleep... asleep after a yearlong period of fertility and fruitfulness. The farmers too cannot be seen. They too have left for rest and take a deep sleep only to awake late in the morning. That may be the reason why their fields are empty at this time of the day.      

Today, I am a little shy about the farms and the fields. I was never a farmer ... I am never a farmer... I will never be a farmer.  So I am little shy about the fields.

Empty fields are waiting for the rains across the hills. As I rode across, I saw the fast approaching rainclouds. The rolling rainclouds seem to be in a hurry to come down upon the dry earth. The clouds forced me to brake and exit from the car. The rolling dark clouds are rich with water and soon they will empty them over all these vacant fields.

The advent of the rainclouds is most welcome after a period of heat and dust. As rainclouds inaugurate monsoon with unceasing downpour, I know that my garden will not ask me for water. Come first rains, air will smell the wet earth and wind will chill the minds. Soon, dry brooks will babble all across these hills.

I am in a bamboo forest. And the last winds of the summer is making distinct notes of sound. The large bamboo trees are swinging in the wind...they are singing in the wind... they are howling and whistling. I have only read in books and heard songs about the ‘whistle’ in a bamboo forest. For the first time, I spent some time listening to the bamboos’ whistle.    

While driving though, I saw some confused birds flittering back and forth. Are they in a hurry to collect food before a big rain?             

My bamboo forest had a love story too to tell me

As I was leaving the forest, there was one reminder that caught my attention.
Photos from personal file. 
Location: Western Gharts (Kerala-Karnataka)