Thursday, 9 August 2018


Stop! Don’t let the world move on you and crush you in its speed.
Eckhart Tolle has said that when we lose touch with our self, obviously due to too much of external activities, we lose our self in the world. This overwhelming world outside, in which a large number of us want to be participating, has actually proved to be the cause of anxiety to many. This world is like a racing car which crashes on us when we lose control of it. The result is not only physical damage, but also emotional and sometimes worse still, a mental one.

This result oriented society seems to be driving many on us crazy. It has injected us with the drive to collect everything in large numbers and at a quick pace; even when it has really no value for us and we long to go slow. It’s simply probably the ‘more syndrome’ at work here. Some of us have got onto this bullet train of accumulation of degrees, success or power and strangely to a certain extent have realized that they don’t make sense; but now, we are unable to get off this speeding train. It sure would need courage to jump off this speedy and noisy worldly cacophonous machine and sit still and silent in nature.

Such accelerated lifestyle honestly gets us nowhere. We need to not only understand but also accept that our movement not necessarily gets us somewhere. In fact, our society has confused motion with stillness. As Alfred A. Montapert says, “A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” The question we now need to ponder over is, ‘what does progress mean to us individually?' If all activity is done with the intention of reaching a satisfactory goal, then a cushioned bed should help better in the comforts of rest than a plain mat. However, a stressed mind roughing up its mental peace to gain the rich couch may have troubled sleep, but a simple tranquil mind may have heavenly slumber on a coarse rug instead. It’s the vision and perspective of happiness here that makes all the difference.

A restless mind is often tossed on the rough sea of life while gathering its materials of comforts; but a silenced mind is like an anchor that saves one from self-destruction. The Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzu put this as, “When there is silence, one finds the anchor of the universe with oneself.”
Picture credit: Google

Sunday, 5 August 2018


This friendship day, let’s be friends with ourselves too. The ways of the world today have made many of us hate ourselves. Let us therefore become our best friend, an intelligent one who can tell us the difference between what we need and what we want and not just make us want what the world wants us to want; a friend who will always be there with us and never leave us with feelings of loneliness. How often have we heard people say, “I hate myself for what I am”? We have always been taught to forgive and forget but have continued to be harsh with ourselves. It’s great to have friends whom we love but it’s equally good and much needed to recognize our self worth and inculcate self respect.

Of course it takes time to build friendship with our self and work on intelligently towards respecting it. Many of us may have been insulted by many camouflaged incompetent people, who out of envy or simply their habit of putting others down caused us an almost irreparable damage. They probably did their job to perfection when planting seeds of lack of confidence in us. Well, we need to recycle that waste generated in us to get the best by unlearning self detestation and replacing it with self respect. We are not worthless, undeserving or not amiable just because we are too dark skinned or too thin or too fat or too tall or too short or just too different in all ways. We need to give time to ourselves and value ourselves.

Our intelligent inside has been neglected enough in the gathering of external friends, and we have almost forgotten that there is someone within who wants to talk to us and guide us. Many friends outside are like dots on an art paper which we keep connecting in the hope of getting a perfect picture. It often crumbles though.

This reminds me of a lovely story of a student who once went up to his Master and asked, “Teacher, tell me how many friends does a man need? Would one be enough or many are needed?” The Master smiled and pointed to an apple tree in the orchard and said, “I’ll give you the answer but before that bring me an apple from the highest branch of that tree there.”  This made the student sad because the fruit was too high for him to reach. So the Master told him to take help from his friends. The student then called a friend who came readily to lend his shoulders. Standing on the shoulders of his willing friend, the student attempted to reach the target but was unsuccessful. The addition of friends began. One after another they made a pyramid to reach up to the highest branch. But the apple was yet too high to reach and the student had by now run out of friends. Also, due to exhaustion, the pyramid too crumbled.

The Master looking at the failed experiment, smiled and asked the student if he had got the answer to his question. The student nodded and said, “Yes sir, I have understood that man needs as many friends as he can to solve all kinds of problems he may face in life” and with a smile he added, “such as in this case, to reach the apple.”
The Master shook his head in disappointment and said, “Oh no! You didn’t need so many friends to reach you to the top by sacrificing their shoulders and go through physical pain. You only needed one good and smart friend who would understand that you needed a ladder!”

May be we need to think about where we are heading with the pyramids of friendships we are building today and ignoring the one inside us who is waiting to help us when we are alone. The pyramid out there looks wonderful, but will it stand the test of time or will it crumble under the weight of trials life often offers? Probably like the Master said, we need an intelligent friend; the one who is within us always and waiting to be acknowledged to help us reach the top. Perhaps we need a friend who can help us by bringing a ladder of understanding to recognize our own worth. This friendship day let us then look forward to meeting a friend who will introduce us to the one waiting in the interior to help us be acquainted with him instead of leading us to drown in a tsunami of acquaintances?


Sunday, 15 July 2018


 There are stories that change the brain and yet there are brains that change stories. There are story tellers and there are story twisters. Stories can be used to enhance understanding of life. In fact they are the best teachers in the world. Sadly though, there are people who strive to make waste even out of the best. My last post on the sad situation of our present day education system which is stifling the natural growth of our children, led me to understand a group of people who promote suicide by romanticising it. An artistic depiction in my post of a child metaphorically described to be a free bird in heaven who desired to come to earth, took a wrong turn with a reader. The line was, ‘Rabindranath Tagore had perhaps envisaged the troubles of this little child long ago when she was probably a tiny free bird flapping her way through heaven wondering if our planet would be a good place to visit. Obviously her choice proved her wrong.’ An intelligent, angry and suffering reader brought it to my knowledge that there are people out there who are made to believe that angels come down to earth and get so dissatisfied down here that they commit suicide to shorten their visit. It may sound dreamy to some but it’s definitely not a pleasant romanticism.

My next thought was regarding the why and the how of the inception of an idea so romantically destructive to be born in the mind of individuals to convince weaker minds to embrace death. My search led me to an interesting story from the Hindu Mythology. In the story, there is Narada, a Vedic sage mentioned in the Puranas who is famous and known in the Hindu traditions as a travelling musician and storyteller. He is the one who is often heard carrying news as well as enlightening wisdom. The story is about a day when this sage happens to hear the gods and the angels in heaven expressing their desire to visit the earth because they feel that their life in heaven is quite boring when in contrast the people of the earth seem to have a lot many things to enjoy. Narada understands that unless they see the reality of the planet, they will not be convinced that their heaven is more peaceful and a better place to be in and so we see the picnic arranged. When the whole lot of foreigners come down to our settlement, they get a shock of their life when they see people conniving to get to one another. The deception, lusts, anger, frustrations, vengeance, hatred and sorrows of the earth people make them realise that we humans are like birds captured in golden cages of wealth and physical comforts and that we have as victims of the fashions of the world, trimmed our wings self-destructively and now are unable to enjoy the most simplistic joys of nature . Sorrowfully and disgustedly they then leave to return to their heaven. 
The gist of the story here is that though the earth has a lot of apparent joyful attractions on it, it also has a lot of self-inflicted as well as people-inflicted pain and sorrow on it. To twist this understanding and make people believe that those who find it difficult to live over here are probably angels or gods from heaven and need not continue to live over here and wouldn’t be wrong to desire to go back to their original home is a manipulative plot of the evil to destroy a lovely life. Life is a gift which must be cherished and worked hard upon to make better every day.

If we are made to believe that suicide will put a stop to any chances of our life getting worse, then we need to also know that while considering suicide, we are shutting all possibilities of our life from getting better.

There is a thin line between truth and fiction. Truth is bare and naked and fiction wears a transparent cloth. The reader of the story therefore has to look deep to see truth through the translucence beauty of the narrative. Creative writings often have psychological symbolism. The descriptions are to be read, not literally but metaphorically. My tiny free bird’s realisation that the earth was not what she had figured out in her mind, was an attempt to understand  it as a place of troubles on it and not just some weekend resort full of fun and frolic. Existence is a full course meal; the presence of bitter gourd on our plate can never however affect the taste of chocolate in our mouth.

Life is beautiful, never think of destroying it. Work on it to make it better each day instead of tearing it down. Live to tell your story and help others. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018


When the 14 year old sat on the 8th floor of her residential building in Kandivali, I wonder what thoughts must have run through her mind just before she took the plunge from that height to end a beautiful life. What problems could a ninth grade student studying in a good private school have faced to take such a drastic step? Was the burden of her bag of text books too much on her frail shoulders? Had she fallen in love at that early an age and then experienced a heart-break just like they show in films? Did she face an unpleasant environment at home where expectations were mounting at a speed she couldn’t keep up with? Thoughts kept scratching at the door of my heart and my mind hoped to get some reasonable answer at least, but to no avail.

Rabindranath Tagore had perhaps envisaged the troubles of this little child long ago when she was probably a tiny free bird flapping her way through heaven wondering if our planet would be a good place to visit. Obviously her choice proved her wrong.

In his story, ‘The Tale of a Parrot’, Tagore had long ago visualized kings who would find all birds simply pecking away at the fruits in the forests as useless. The free bird in Tagore’s story needed to be trained. It was believed that a simple nest made of straw and grass would not be able to hold education and therefore a golden cage appeared like an epitome of learning. Even if there was not much learning, the cage looked remarkable and the bird was considered fortunate to have got an opportunity to study in it. Texts then were shoved down his beak till there was no space for a scream or even a single song to escape his throat. If he ever gathered courage to peck at the bars of the cage, his wings were clipped as a punishment for his ungratefulness. Grieved the poor bird finally died and the erudite declared his education complete. There would be no more flying or singing. When then, “The King poked at the bird. It didn’t open its mouth or make a single sound. But the dreary pages of textbooks rustled noisily in its tummy. Outside, the fresh green leaves whispered a sigh into the southern breeze of spring – and breathed a soulful note into the skies.”

The little girl today is no more. Her family and friends today continue to grieve her death. Her teachers look sadly at the empty seat in the class. People keep wondering about the why of it all and probably the skies felt the load of the death of innocence to an extent to pour out their tears and drown the city in a deluge.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018


Recently, while researching a bit on ancient Greek temples, I came across an interesting story of the ‘big blow up’ which developed in Ephesus in 57 A.D. and it made me realise that nothing really changes completely. This story is interestingly also recorded in the Bible in the book of Acts. In this story we learn of the temple of goddess Artemis (also known by some as goddess Diana) which was a Grecian magnificence and was known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
There was at that time a silversmith who employed craftsmen to manufacture silver shrines of the Greek goddess Diana. His name was Demetrius and his ground was shaken when one of the first few disciples of Jesus, St. Paul gave him a hard time when he visited the city of Ephesus in 57 A.D. With this  disciple of Jesus going about telling all about real worship in spirit, Demetrius felt shaken regarding his business which brought him and many other business proprietors like him a lot of income. When the people there got to learn from Paul that handmade gods were not gods at all, the volume of the sales of these businessmen came crashing down. They were worried that, “There is the danger, then, that this business of ours will get a bad name. Not only that, but there is also the danger that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will come to mean nothing and that her greatness will be destroyed – the goddess worshipped by everyone in Asia and in all the world!” Acts 19:27
The city was soon filled with uncertainty. To think of it, confusion prevailed in the old world as it is at its most potent menace today. In our modern space we certainly have many flyovers around us but hardly any courage to wear wings to overcome stubborn beliefs. Our world today like that of the old is a business centre. This business does not only go on in big conglomerate houses but also in human relations. Some call it the ‘Way of the World’; and if we are bold enough to step out of such business deals then the human race very characteristically label us a loser in the deal of human affairs. The businessmen of the world, with their crafty ways lift up mundane images of clay and place them on the altar of our hearts for worship and if we refuse such reverence in products or relations they begin to chatter; chattering being their usual habit and pastime activity. In fact most of them are lost themselves, unable to understand what is happening around them or why they are present where they are. “Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another – everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there.”Acts 19:32.
So many people can be seen crowding fashion, human company and places where they really don’t want to be; mainly because they are worried of ‘What will the world say?’ And life continues to offer us many such gatherings of worldly glittery hubs. The choice is always open: to stay with the world and join the confused crowds or be the daredevil to step out of conventions. As Paul told the Greeks that they needed to be careful with all that they had understood and not succumb to the pressures of the ignorant and cunning world. “I know full well that after I leave you, false teachers, like vicious wolves, will appear among you, not sparing the flock.” Acts 20: 29
If we do not hold on to the right word inside of us, the wrong word of the superficial, like a wolf, will not hesitate to convince us that the way of the world is right. At this juncture, a modern day story comes to my mind. Actually it’s a story for children with a lesson for adults. The story urges the reader to beware of hypocrites. It has a very interesting character of a fox who while searching for food gets trapped and in his struggle to set himself free, losses his tail. Now he is worried about everybody laughing at him and feels so very sad that he even contemplates suicide. But then he soon thinks of another plan to survive. He goes about persuading all the foxes to part with their tails telling them that the tails are a nuisance, heavy and tiresome. Soon however, to his bad luck, one cleaver fox catches his trickery and asks, “Sir, would you have said the same about our tails if you had had one of yours?
The worldly wise can very easily distort the truth and capture a following. And so we need to be on guard to not get fooled into the way of the world. “Some of you yourselves will distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out.” Acts 20:30.  
So like then or now, we either live in the prison of hypocrisy and fear, or collect guts to get out of it and face public ridicule. We either choose between public opinion or the opinion of the Silent Whisper.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018


Theodore Rubin, an American psychiatrist has said, “The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”

There is a much ignored viral threat in our world today, which seems to be getting the least attention. It is the bite of depression which is leading many a seemingly happy people to self destruction.

Recently there have been two Page 3 personality suicides in news; that of the Madhya Pradesh spiritual leader Bhaiyyu Maharaj and the renowned television personality and chef, Anthony Bourdain. Both these limelight personalities in spite of having all that a common man would love to possess had gloom hanging over their heads which the glitter of their lives hid from all who saw and admired their popularity. May be death was an easy release for them from the burden of some guilt; the fault of having it all and yet missing out on something crucial. If life is a journey, then they chose a simpler way to cross it; due to the erroneous belief that it would be easier to die than to live. Of course, this is the teaching of the world; which reiterates that life is very complicated to live, and death brings freedom from strife. What better understanding can one expect from a world that thrives on wars? This is a world that promotes isolation and partition rather than closeness and unity. This is a world that follows the law of chastisement and not of improvement. Unless this world changes, quick deaths will continue to be the norm; there are however less chances of the world changing and so the next option is to change oneself; but the question looms, ‘How?’

The answer can be found in the book of wisdom - The Bible; with the stories of two sinners namely Judas who betrayed Jesus for just a few coins and Peter who denied Jesus three times out of fear of condemnation. Yes Peter sinned out of fright and denied his master but after his third denial of having anything to do with him, he felt regret and looked towards his master for help and it says, “the Lord turned and looked upon Peter.” It was that look of forgiveness and tender pity in spite of all its sadness that helped Peter to survive unlike Judas. It was a glance not of anger but of sorrow for the mistake committed. This story is recorded in every Gospel because Peter never shrunk from letting everybody know of his guilt and cowardly conduct; but instead wanted the world to read in his life, proof of mercy and pity.

The story of Judas however, speaks more about the world in which Judas lived than about Judas. “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘What is that to us? You see to it!’” Matthew 27:3-4

There isn’t much difference in denial and betrayal. Both are terrible and both Peter and Judas repented and were sorry but Judas received the preaching of the world which said ‘Save yourself’. There was no comfort in this saving; only neglect. The preachers of that world like ours were not bothered about the death of an innocent man; the only botheration they faced was in whose bank account would the money be deposited in.

A world that is fake to the core can get to a man sometime or the other like it did with Judas then and now with Bhaiyyu Maharaj and Anthony Bourdain. May be, like Judas who had invested in the glory of the world and sought relief from it, they too with all their enrichment of the world, searched for help from it. But a world that itself is helpless could of course be of no assistance to them.
No gift of God needs money or any kind of earthly investment. To love someone, to emotionally care for someone, to pray for someone, to admire nature all around, all come free; but the gifts bought with intelligence, pride and money fade away leaving behind emptiness; a deep hollow and a feeling of sinking and uselessness in spite of everything. No going to temples made by human hands gives relief till it all culminates into a desperate moment of get it all or lose it all. The turning point comes only at the moment of decision. The direction of advice one turns to makes or mars life. There are two roads: one of the world and the other of the Superhuman. The way of the world says, “You messed it up, now face it!” The face of the Superhuman says, “I love you”.
So at the end it is where you looked for help that makes all the difference.

Thursday, 14 June 2018


The results are out and yet a lot of learning remains. Most important of all is the knowledge that though we may set unreachable standards for ourselves and try to achieve them, we remain human and humans may be perfectly imperfect.  

There is a beautiful story in the Bible with the help of which we can reflect on our failures and dwell on the saying which encourages us to do our best and leave the rest to God.  It was at Lake Gennesaret that the disciples had let down their nets but failed to catch any fish. They had worked all night but the results were nil. Later we learn that Jesus after speaking to the crowds turned to Simon and told him to go deeper and lay down the nets assuring him that he would catch a lot of fish. It was obviously human for Simon to reply that he had already done that the previous night and caught nothing. But Simon didn’t stop there. What he did was to ‘not give up’ on the words of the Lord. What he said is what we need to focus on: “But if you say so, we’ll try again.” As author Stephen Richards says, “The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.” It is this trying again and not giving up, that does the trick. The choice is always ours; whether we wish to dive deep in depressive thoughts of failure or we wish to fly high in the joy of hope is for us to decide.
While those who have achieved what they aspired to or more than that, there are quite a few who have been left behind wondering what went wrong. Well, it’s absolutely normal to not get what you want and in fact that leaves space to try again because it’s not the end of the world of learning. Even though one may practically be done with academic learning, life is an institution which has exams at every stage where the scores on paper don’t matter. What matters is our willingness to try again like Simon who said, ‘if you say so, we’ll try again’. The fun lies in what happened next.  “And this time their nets were so full that they began to tear!”

A lot of our present day learning is limited to classrooms and question papers. But the world is a creation made out of great imaginative powers and if our system of education does not have any creative ability to admire and adjust to this creation, then our unimaginative super scores are of no guarantee to fetch us happiness; may be success in its dry sense, but without any flavour of joy in it. For in this creation, things change and every season has its own beauty. Nothing is permanent except our relationship with our creator. The Buddhists believe that everything in life is impermanent; even failure. When a disciple, after a year of listening to the Master’s lectures expressed his inability to understand and asked if all the teaching could be put in a nutshell, the Master simply said, “Everything changes” and asked for another question.

So now, what happens to all those thousands of students who have not done well? Must they give up on throwing their nets again into the water or must they without any distraction of disappointment go ahead and try all over again? The earth has a lot of trials and sorrows in it; but it is good to know that there is someone who has overcome the world.
Image credits: Google

Saturday, 9 June 2018


Sometimes in life we come across thick problematic situations leaving us with no choice to a solution but just the delete option. To make it more plain I’ll reflect on an amusing piece. ‘A teacher wrote down a complicate problem for the class to solve.  It read: 36x +yx, 2/3yx + 3x (66y +12x/.b = 0.  He then asked them to find the solution. One smart fellow picked up the duster and simply cleaned the board and declared the problem solved. This may appear jocular but believe me it’s the only option left at times in real time.

Coming back to reality, what happens when someone out of the blue comes at us with daggers for no fault of ours? How do we react? Do we get defensive, explanatory or get stabbed? Sometimes people can come at us with a sword, a gun, a pistol and a dagger because they have been unhappy even before we entered their zone. Damn it! It could be a first time interaction and yet there could be venom spilling out of a hissing tongue into our ears.

Let me first brief you with the ‘floating emotions’ concept in psychology. If one were to shred a book into bits and then throw all of it out of the window, the bits of paper would fly out in all directions and settle down on anything that came in their way. Similarly, an angry human torn apart by various moments of triggered anger may come at anyone to settle on with his load of grief. You could then become a victim of such an infuriated bloke whose angry emotions could be floating out from his eyes, nose and mouth. To try to put sense in such aggressive behaviour would be senseless. If we want approval and admiration from such an ......., then we certainly would be looking in a wrong direction. The individual is so very caught up in his own fretfulness that he is really not looking out for a solution but only a venting. If we then don’t let this outpouring empty itself, it will drown us in its force of evacuation. So the next best thing to do is not to fret over something we have no control over. It’s best to allow such individuals to enjoy their anger alone and move out.

I recently experienced a similar plight of a man caught in the tight grip of the spirit of destructive anger raging out of his grief of denial to get a good bargain as per his view point. I moved away a safe distance to protect myself from such a clawing personality. However, I probably was subconsciously affected by his harsh words and angry face.

Later that night, a strange thing happened. I had a dream which was very weird and strange. In my dream, I was sitting at a computer and though I hadn’t fed anything into it, the printer was dishing out paper after printed paper into my face. I just couldn’t understand what was happening and felt helpless with the waste falling onto my workplace when suddenly I heard a voice loud and clear, telling me to take it all and throw it away because it didn’t belong to me.

I suddenly woke up realizing how one man’s anger could bring in tons of waste into our life; but remembering the dream I decided to throw it all away because it didn’t belong to me. I had no reason to collect it, file it or save it.

The voice saved me from getting drenched in the stormy rain of misdirected annoyance and soaked me instead in the shower of grace.

Image credits: Google

Thursday, 31 May 2018


 “I have come into the world to give sight to those who are spiritually blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” John 9: 39

Frequently we come across people who are annoyed with situations around them. They scream angry at various moments. “I loath to see such horrifying traffic jams.” “I simply can’t understand why these people can’t use public transport and make our lives easy on the movement.” “Look at our streets! There is so much litter everywhere. Haven’t these people any civic sense?’ ‘The monsoons are beautiful but our government transforms them into disappointment making us panic even at the first showers which cause water logging. I dread floods! God save me!’ ‘This government is useless. There is no end to dishonesty in it.’

Such ranting goes on endlessly. These are the able people who throw all responsibility for correction to others. They are blind to the ‘My Step Contribution’ method. Their eyes, have as if got conditioned to observe confusion, and their hearts have no courage to change situations. They continue to grovel in the muck of disgust but won’t dare to get up and clean even a little bit of it themselves.

In contrast, there are some others who are not as able as those angry long legged birds. I remember meeting a young blind girl who always seemed to wear a smile on her face. It was strange to see this consistency of pleasure being expressed in the midst of grumpy faces; and so I one day went up to her and asked whether like the others, she too hated something. 

Her smile widened at first and then suddenly it vanished giving her a sad look and she said, “I hate my eyes. I hate that they can’t see the raindrops falling on the ground every monsoon. I hate that I can’t see the wind kissing the branches of the trees. I hate that I can’t see the branches shying away at the touch of the wind. I sense that I’m missing out on the original romantic film running daily shows in this world. I hate that I can’t see people loving their pets and cuddling up to their children.”

Her hate speech brought an awakening in me and a sudden thought flashed across my mind. Her spiritual eyes were so bright and throbbing with vision to appreciate her creator’s creation as compared to the others who had in their guilt of their surroundings gone internally blind and failed to appreciate beauty all around them.

“If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But your guilt remains because you claim to know what you are doing.” John 9:41

Image credits: Google

Monday, 21 May 2018


"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

It’s most likely that in life we have sometime or the other been disappointed with someone or something. It could be the behaviour of someone we know or do not know personally, that has disenchanted us. What matters however, is what we do with our feelings. Though we wish for change, we very rarely exercise our powers of reformation.
The moment of anger and dissatisfaction could be at a personal level which may have led to a heartbreaking moment or it could have been at a societal platform. It could be that we had gone through moments where nothing seemed to budge in the direction of change. 
At times like that we could be everyday waking up with our eyes sparkling with stars of hope and yet at night having to go to sleep with unsatisfactory pillows of world-weariness. But then, such are the times we need to hold on to our strength of belief in ourselves, because every sunset has the hope of something beautiful coming up the next day. If we are just and composed, we need to have faith that the one in us is far stronger than the one outside.

If at all we let go of this hope in the authority in ourselves, it is because we make assumptions about ourselves; not truly knowing our own capabilities. Such false beliefs then become a load we have to bear along our walks in life and they being heavy, make our journey nothing less than an affliction. Such assumptions therefore need to be scrubbed off to allow the light of our capacities to enter and brighten up the window of understanding, opening it to the fresh breeze of hope in our inner strength. We need not let people or situations or circumstances rule our calm judgement but instead awaken ourselves from the dream of failure and open our eyes to the reality of success;  our birthright.

A classic example of such sense of strength was seen in the present day’s beautiful Royal Bride, Meghan Markle’s feminist activism at the tender age of eleven. This young lady then felt something terribly wrong with an advertisement of a dish soap manufactured by Procter &Gamble and voiced her concern by writing letters to the company expressing her feelings when she heard the words, ‘Women are fighting greasy pots and pans with Ivory Dish Soap’.  The young Markle was so very annoyed regarding the compartmentalizing of women into the kitchen job, that she corresponded to anyone who would listen to her, including Hillary Clinton. She could have thought, ‘whoever is going to listen to my expressions, it’s all so silly and useless’ and let it be just that, resting as a grumbletonian. Then of course, nothing would have changed; but her action in spite of little scope of hope for change did wonders. The commercial was changed and the word ‘women’ was replaced by the word ‘people’.
Markle was alone in that campaign and many of us are today alone in our campaigns; but we can fight for our beliefs and hope to succeed. For what else would life be but a long scrap of experiences falling our way if we had no corrective reactions towards them!
This reminds me of the story, ‘The Starfish’, where  a young boy throwing stranded starfish from the sandy beach back into the ocean, caught the eye of an old traveller, who asked him the reason for such activity. The lad answered that if he were not to help those echinoderms, they would die when the heat of the sun would dry up all the water. The traveller felt the boy was ridiculous because there were millions of starfish on the beach which stretched for thousands of miles. He shrugged his shoulders completely unconvinced by the answer and voiced his pessimistic opinion, ‘It doesn’t matter how many you throw in; you can’t make a difference’. But the boy simply smiled, picked up another starfish and threw it into the water and said, ‘But it makes to this one’.
Change doesn’t always need to begin with a big number. Even a little can make a big difference for someone.
Image Credits: Google

Friday, 18 May 2018


“They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.”
Psalm 71:9

On the 9th of this month as I sat in a taxi in Kuala Lumpur, the driver had lots to share with me. It was the Election Day there and the man was angry with his government and the corruption his country had been going through for years and yet was hopefully happy that the polls held that day would bring a clean change with the new Prime Minister. He proudly showed me his coloured finger to state that he had voted for transformation.

Mahathir Mohamad, who had once ruled Malaysia with an iron fist from 1981 to 2003 had now got a comeback by a commanding majority to the opposition. His second innings today, is no ordinary success story because he is the oldest elected leader in the world at the age of 92.

This just proves that age is only a number, which we need not keep concentrating on. In fact as we grow older we must be happier that we have the capability to give up silly distractions which would otherwise eat up a lot of our precious time in all their immaturity. We must be proud that our grey streaks can help us to focus on things valuable to us and others.

I happen to be acquainted with an octogenarian who is battling his way through cancer with a smile. Unlike an otherwise youthful man he does not spend time worrying about his future though he is all by himself. He is a ripe bachelor and has no family to love him back or miss him. But that does not deter him from being happy. He believes in dealing with what has happened rather than being stressed about it. He is an educator in real life, who has taught me that I can choose to adapt to any situation; seen or unforeseen. He has taught me that I have a choice to be knocked down by things happening to me or to stand strong and face them boldly. This is a lesson in adulthood; it’s not about what I can achieve when I grow old but what I can accomplish because I choose to reach it in spite of my age. It’s a different vision of the whole dilemma which makes it into a possibility of overcoming the hurdle and collecting pleasant cookies of a new understanding.

Mr. Maathir Mohamad’s success today teaches us that we need not bury our passions as we age; but instead, we can reinvent ourselves in a better light of newness. He has taught us that our life is a product of what we make of it and that we can add pages of new brands into it.

Ageing therefore, can be made beautiful with new moments of opportunity and vigour and less of dwelling in regrets. It’s good to remember your birthday but as Satchel Paige would ask, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” In 1959, this baseball player’s mother announced to a reporter that her son was 55 rather than 53, and that she was certain about it because she had written it down in her Bible. Paige wrote in his autobiography, "Seems like Mom's Bible would know, but she ain't ever shown me the Bible. Anyway, she was in her nineties when she told the reporter that, and sometimes she tended to forget things."

Wouldn’t you call that the spirit of youthfulness?
Picture Credits: Google

Monday, 14 May 2018


Picture a little chubby baby girl of may be four or five years of innocence in all, sitting on the ground in her skin and coloured in mango juice. Yes, that was me years ago living in the age of purity, innocence and incorruptibility. The king of the fruits was my favourite!  As soon as the fruit would flood the market, my mother would bring dozens to be enjoyed by all at home. There were no shakes or deserts or ice-creams or faloodas or as a matter of fact any other extensions of it. It was left to be consumed in all its basic rawness - just as it came.
The most vivid picture of me set in my mind, as my mother had often described it later to me when I was all grown up and filled with etiquettes of refined living was deliciously sweet though quite embarrassing. As told by her to me and not that I remember any of it honestly, she would place me most comfortably dressed only in my frilly panties in the middle of the room so that my body would not touch any furniture in the house. I would be made to sit longingly on the spread of old newspapers while she wiped the yummy fruit in front of my eyes, lifting it up from a vessel of cool water it had been soaked into for a few hours. Like Pavlov's dog, my mouth would begin to water and then as soon as the plate would be kept in front of me the indulgence would begin. The fruit as usual was so appetizing that I would instantly begin pumping it with my tiny fingers and pull at its flavours into my hungry mouth, generously feeding it to my whole body as if transforming myself into a satiated mango baby. I must have been a sight to see!
On the side, my mum would keep water for heating so that the moment my indulgence would be over, she would lift me up and put me into a nice warm bucket of water to cleanse myself of the flavour of the season and smell like a baby and not a mango till the next day.
Honestly, I don't see children eating that way anymore. Probably no one anymore has that faith in the purity of the fruit. With the kind of stories of pesticides and what not floating around, I wouldn't blame them for cutting the fruit and testing its insides before giving it to their children. The laborious and exciting manner of eating is no more the delight of the kids. In fact, some children, I have heard do not even bite into pieces of the fruit. Their mothers remove its pulp and they eat that from bowls, its pristine essence all lost with the touch of the spoon.
This season, I ordered a mango chocolate cake for my kids thinking that they would delight in it but I was proved wrong. What I heard from them took me back to the good of days with of the frilly panties and newspapers under them. 'Mum, you can't mix a king with anything lower than his status. He is complete in himself.' Truly my mother had known this truth in the days gone by and probably had whispered her grass root understanding to my kids.
Pic.courtesy: Google

Friday, 4 May 2018


The first Sunday of May every year, is celebrated as World Laughter Day and it was Dr. Madan Kataria from India, (also addressed as the ‘Guru of Giggling’ by London Times) who founded this Yoga movement for self healing. The world today appears to be filled with hate ideologies, loneliness syndrome and an epidemic of sadness, and if there needs to be a change to be brought into this scenario, laughter is definitely a positive and powerful emotion which has all that an individual needs for self transformation; internal as well as external. What is most amazing in this treatment is that it is the most peaceful and positive way to bring about a modification. Research has proved that a person’s facial expressions have an effect on his emotions and therefore even if one is deeply destroyed from within, an artificially laughing face is likely to gradually bring about a change. No harm therefore in trying out this most inexpensive method to move towards global consciousness of brotherhood and harmony.
All experiences in life come with a package of lessons to be learnt from. It’s a pleasure when we come across gentle and loving people who make life like a holiday sailing on smooth waters; but if we come across storms of strange happenings or tsunamis of relationships then we feel hurt, betrayed and broken but then the sail of forgiveness helps us cross the ocean to safer lands.
 An eye for an eye will make the world blind; however not everyone can abide by this generous philosophy of forgiveness. But what if we do encounter someone who wishes to follow this principle of peace? Do we have any right to barge into their private world of emotions and stop their personal course of healing?
Forgiveness doesn’t come easy especially if someone has wronged you in an unimaginable way. And yet life gives us numerous examples of people who use this devise to overcome the most awful situations which have damaged them irreparably. Their stories seem unbelievable and make us wonder if they are supernatural beings to have forgiven the most horrendous things which had happened to them. Further probing gets us to the core of the reason of such behaviour. Hate, anger and revenge had gone so deep into their gut that they were going through constipation of emotions which needed a laxative to let go.
A very recent case creating uproar in the news is Sabrina Lall’s letter to the Tihar Jail, mentioning no objection from her side for the release of her sister’s murderer. Many people have since then begun pouncing on her, objecting to her decision as if law and order would alter its judgement on her emotional base.
It was way back in 1999 at midnight that Manu Sharma, the son of a powerful congress politician from Haryana walked into a bar and shot a girl for refusing him a drink. This had happened in the presence of all the other elegant and refined crowd present there at the time. It was a sudden and shocking death of a beautiful life. Obviously now being a VVIP case, it was not going to be an easy battle in the midst of a horrible system of legality which presumably supported the rich, the famous and the influential.
This was one of the rarest of rare cases which brought out crowds of citizens on the streets; angry at the audaciousness of the act. There were candlelight vigils and protest rallies; people everywhere wanted justice against a system that supported the powerful. Jessica, overnight became a symbol of the common man’s fight against power. The effect of such gross injustice of mankind and fate had its deep effect on her parents too, whose life soon got shattered and immobilised with grief.
Jessica’s sister Sabrina was no more her only relative fighting the legal battle against Sharma. The nation became her relatives and the case began its long tryst until 2006 when the culprit was put behind bars in the Tihar Jail and sentenced to life imprisonment as found guilty of murder. It was at last a successful journey of anger, hate, revenge and justice.
Now after almost two decades since her sister’s murder, one would think that Sabrina would be feeling victorious; till suddenly she wakes up one day and writes a letter of forgiveness to the Tihar Jail regarding Sharma. Fifteen years have passed by with Sharma behind bars and ............. ‘What the hell is she doing? It had not been her lone fight. Such criminals must never be forgiven. Life imprisonment is the only option for Sharma. Forgiveness for him should be a dream’, scream the people of the nation. No one realises today, that while they had fought for humanity, Sabrina had fought for her blood sister. With justice handed over, they had gone home victorious but Sabrina had returned to a house without her sibling and which soon even got vacant of her parents. No one seems to understand that forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness. It only means to let go of the anger and release of oneself from the clutches of odium to grab peace. Sabrina probably felt the need to heal her body and soothe her mind in spite of the worst that had happened to her. She probably reached a summit from where she realised that sorrows of the past could be undone. Probably she heard whispers from future, calling her to move on.
Mahatma Gandhi had said that, ‘The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong’, and I wonder if all those people who today are angry with regards to her letter to the Tihar Jail, have even the slightest understanding of her emotional drain since so many years. Of course she knows for sure that Sharma's brutish actions deserve no mercy, but she also is smart enough to want her share of calm. If she once had the strength to have fought tooth and nail for justice, today, we as a nation must respect the intensity of her need for peace. Her letter is not telling the government or law and order to move on; it is only communicating that she as a family member desires to progress in freedom from strife. Forgiveness today for Sabrina may be like a pair of scissors with which she wants to cut all soul bondage with her culprit Sharma and set free her Spirit in independence from slavery to hate and instead enjoy its original state of happiness and laugh out loud after decades of pain and tears in spite of being jubilant in law.

Sabrina must have cried over and over again for years and has now decided to use her power of today to laugh in forgiveness. Of course, everybody knows that forgiveness heals; but Sabrina knows that doing is better than knowing. I support Sabrina in her free will to exercise her preference of emotion. What about you?
Image credits: Google

Friday, 27 April 2018


She was dejected with life and said that they didn’t understand nor respect her anymore. It seemed strange that people could be so harsh, that friends could get so judgemental and family so angry. Why, what had happened to this 17 year old to feel so horrible? The answer was flimsy. She had cleared her biology paper in the second attempt. People around her had failed to participate in her joy of clearing something that was initially difficult for her and had instead with all their sadism held on to her past failure.
Such stories today are not uncommon around us. Dejections, frustrations, disappointments, discouragements, despair, melancholy have set as if a blanket of gloom over people of all ages. Some are unable to clear exams, some are unable to clear relationships and some are unable to have a clear picture of life. They seem to always find fingers pointing towards them and these are sharp pokes. They hurt and therefore seek help. Not necessarily professional help because the problem may not be too deep though too painful. All they need is ears which have time to listen to tears - the expressions of words.
Of course we all know too well that we are living in an electronically connected world which has got us so entangled in the hands free mode that we have almost forgotten to make use of our limbs to lift up the ones bent in sorrow or even hold their palms and lead them out of a hurting mind. They are the others whom some others like us make little attempt to understand. Our world today has got disjointed. Many families here have failed to understand that their members are different people with different adequacies. Our world today needs coaching lessons to be non-judgemental about differences. What may be absolutely facile for one member of the family, may be a herculean task for another.
A perfect way to demonstrate this is to watch the Marathi film Kaasav – A Turtle. The turtle in the film is a metaphor for conservation. We need to have the spirit to conserve our people who seem to have a different mindset and vision to view happenings around them. Maanav, the youth in the film is a typical youngster battling his way through life. A smart young student, he feels a misfit at home as well as in society and steps out so completely dejected with life that he feels no reason why he must continue to allow it to exist in him and cuts his wrist and sits to bleed. What is to be noticed here is that before he does this, he throws away his mobile charger probably indicating the need for a humane touch and not just a touch screen. Miraculously though he gets saved and is picked up by a good soul; Janaki, who has suffered loneliness and has travelled from America to her hometown in search of silent existence. Since she has a caring heart, she gets offered to work on a project to save turtles on a beach in Goa. In the silence of this place where the only sounds one can hear are of birds and waves lashing on the beach, she takes care of Maanav allowing him to open up at his own pace. There is communication that happens in the silence of words. The tragedy of our times is that we are so lost in the cacophony of words that we fail to give silence its due credit as a healer. In our impatience we rush to give healing and fail to understand that time heals best. There are some turtle people in our world and we need to preserve them. In this rushing fast coach world, there are some slow coaches who would do perfectly well if they were allowed to move at a turtle’s pace. There would be times when they would come out and open up and there would be times when they would wish to hide under their thick shells; safe and away from the predators of scorns and ridicule.
As a society, we need to become like Janaki working towards conserving them because they are also a part of the future of our world. The problem does not lie in them, but in our understanding of their different capabilities. The turtles, though not capable of putting a few miles per hour, can swim as fast as 22 mph. They just need the right space to move. Another peculiarity of the turtles is that the mother turtle lays eggs and then moves away back into the sea. The babies hatch and begin their journey independently towards the waters. These turtles are seen to have tears in their eyes. Scientifically speaking they need to run the tear glands continuously to maintain the correct balance of salt in their bodies and these tears also help flush sand from their eyes. Some people however imagine that these tears are because they have to leave their children behind and they cry consistently even in the sea because whenever they see baby turtles they wonder if these are their own babies. A stranger thing beyond these tears is that there are butterflies which have been spotted who actually drink these tears. What a startling behaviour one can say! It is because they gather minerals through these tears. To stretch the metaphor further one could say that we need butterflies like Janaki who can drink the tears of such turtles and build up on their worth of empathy.
Probably, if we cannot listen to the sound of tears, we are truly a handicap world.
pic. credit: Google

Monday, 16 April 2018

Something really ugly happened once again in my country.  Religion, the barb of the devil once more hit hard. Eight kilometres away from the kathua’s Rasana village, there now  lies a five-foot long grave of an eight year olds raped and damaged body. Reports say that the Rasana Hindus did not allow the burial pit to be dug in their village saying that the property belonged to them. So in spite of the winter cold of January, the girl’s father had to carry her body uphill to Kanah village to find place for its burial.
As my nation once again grieves such an inhuman act which often arises out of illogical and senseless beliefs and of course colossal greed, I sit and stare at several messages circulating on social media. Some are expressing their solidarity with anger by keeping their display picture black and some are keeping it purple as a memory of the film ‘Color Purple’ which accordingly represented women abused by men. Some are writing poems of grief and some are expressing anger in hate words. It all ultimately hurts deep. A question that keeps coming to my mind is, why did that little innocent girl have to suffer so much?
In 2012, it was in a moving bus, at times it had been in homes and on lonely streets but this time it was the worst. It was in a temple! The victim was a Muslim and the rapists were Hindus. The charge sheet said that she was tortured and killed to scare the community away. It was a revenge story - a story that began in disputes of land and led to vengeance, one that began with disputes of religions and found solace in hate. Hate, that went so very inward that it ruined the capacity to think right. I often wonder at how much the hater must be hurting inside. The ‘Yours and the Ours’ virus corrodes humanity and transforms healthy men and women into animals bereft of the sense of the right and the wrong. The little farm girl who hadn’t been to school to learn numbers but could count her horses, took responsibility that her family’s cattle were brought back to their farmhouse by the time the sun set in the evenings. She was a bold girl who dared to run down rocky terrains through isolated jungles to bring back the lost animals. Little did she know that there were beasts lurking around to devour her innocence, because their minds were parched and they thirsted for blood, because their faith had crossed the line of common sense, because their learning had all gotten wrong since they had been taught that their god was different from her god. Little did she know that the temple where they took her had no god in it but clay fixtures with eyes and ears drawn on them; eyes which couldn’t see her pain and ears which couldn’t hear her screams.
Oh what a pity that the devil has chosen man as his target to destroy man! What a pity that he has made weapons the human eye can’t see; weapons of aversion, lust and greed. This gruesome act of hate reminded me of the famous short story of Leo Tolstoy, ‘How Much Land Does a Man Need?’ Tolstoy had written this piece in the year 1886, expressing futility of man’s greed; and yet after more than a hundred years the story continues to try to edify the ignorant. The Devil in the story hears the tussle of man groping for more than necessary and says, “All right...... We will have a tussle. I’ll give you land enough; and by means of that land I will get you into my power.”  An opportunity arises for the protagonist of purchasing a communal land but it does not find success because, “The Evil one sowed discord among them, and they could not agree.” So then the individuals buy land separately. The protagonist, finally after a lot of debt, manages to purchase land and becomes a land owner. Now, “The grass that grew and the flowers that bloomed there, seemed to him unlike any that grew elsewhere” because it was his land. But soon his peace was to be shattered because the neighbouring peasants began to trespass his fields.....the herdsmen would let the village cows stray into his meadows, then horses from the night pasture would get among his corn.” In spite of turning them out again and again they would not cease and so at last, “he lost his patience and complained to the District Court” although he knew that there was only basic need and no evil in the intent of the peasants. However, his pride and avarice made him think differently. “I cannot go on overlooking it, or they will destroy all I have. They must be taught a lesson.” Gradually scenes changed and his desires became bigger and he continued his new purchases till one day he met an owner who sold land saying, “As much as you can go round on your feet in a day is yours, and the price is one thousand roubles a day” but the condition was that, “If you don’t return on the same day to the spot whence you started, your money is lost.” While asleep with contentment about becoming a very big landowner, the protagonist dreamt of “the Devil...sitting there and chuckling, and before him lay a man barefoot, prostrate on the ground, with only trousers and a shirt on”, and when he looked better he saw that “the man was dead and it was himself!” He awoke horror-struck but brushed aside his dream, as “what things one does dream” and didn’t realize that perhaps it was the voice of his conscience trying to awaken him. Next morning he had to conquer as much land as he could on his feet. His materialism kept him going till he realized that “All my labour has gone in vain”. He lay dead on the ground with “blood flowing from his mouth”. Soon spades were picked up and a grave long enough for him to be buried was dug. “Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed”.
As the court trial goes on and the culprit’s faces flash in my face, I wonder how much land will they need when their time is done?
Pic. credits: Google

Sunday, 31 December 2017


Storms do exist. It’s not freedom from such storms but the peace within in spite of them that leaves man unruffled. In fact life moves on at peace; it’s man, who in his greed gives rise to storms.

Read a beautiful children’s story today. It was about a community of people who believed that if they gave long names to their children then the length of those names would fetch great fortune for the kids. To exemplify this belief, the writer introduces a family who has named their son, Yani Matadi Utama Karoli Olla Shaki Wondo Khare Lalikhuna.

There is another community which believes in humility and also that only the Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent Power can fetch fortunes and shower blessings for all the hard work that they are made fit enough to do for themselves. To exemplify this belief, we once again get introduced to a family who has named their son Charm because they believe that fortunes do not make life beautiful but a charming personality can do wonders to bring in favours.

Now the two kids often play together and are good friends. It so happens that one day while they are playing, Charm kicks the ball so hard that it rolls and falls into a well nearby. Charm runs to see if he can get it back and as he bends to look into the well, he slips and falls into it. Yani Matadi Utama Karoli Olla Shaki Wondo Khare Lalikhuna runs to Charm’s parents to inform them and seek help for his friend. ‘Uncle, aunty, Charm is in danger. He has fallen into the well. Please come to save him.’ A storm of bad news then suddenly blows out peace from their lives. They run for help to their neighbour and call out to him. ‘Sir, please come and help us to save our son Charm. He has fallen into the well.’ The neighbour rushes out and calls out to the gardener for help. ‘Mr. Gardener, please come to help. Our Charm has fallen into the well.’ The gardener runs along but calls the cleaner for assistance. ‘Oh Mr. Cleaner, please come along with us to save our Charm. He has fallen into the well.’ So we have many people running to save Charm. They reach the well and throw the rope Mr. Cleaner has taken along to pull out the lad and save Charm. They overcome the storm and go back home in peace with their child.

Soon the boys get back to their fun and games and after a few days a similar thing happens again. But this time it’s Yani Matadi Utama Karoli Olla Shaki Wondo Khare Lalikhuna who falls into the well. The same race of help follows and you can imagine the time it would take each character to call out such a long name. Of course, a lot time and energy gets wasted in calling out such a lengthy name and by the time they all can reach the well to save the lad, he is already drowned. The storm here has been successful in its vicious plan of destruction.

As I read this story, a whisper spoke to me. Medals and ambitious attachments of prefixes in honour of one’s deeds or degrees, most of the time, add a load of painful responsibility. They do not necessarily bring in great fortunes but rob one of being fortunate enough to enjoy a beautiful life with all its charming and wonderful gifts of serenity and peace. Instead of choosing the ways of their community, if Yani Maatadi Utam Karoli Olla Shaki Wondo Kahre Lalikhuna’s parents had chosen the way to freedom of choice, they would have not lost their son.

The world is a deep well of greed which robs all excitement of life. It uses the cat logic making us want to fit into the size it presents to us. It wants us to forget that we are made much larger and bigger than the boxes presented to us by the world. We have a choice to demand bigger boxes of existence to fit in a lot of blessings, ample amount of gratefulness, all our excitement of living, a heart full of thankfulness and millions of moments of happiness. 

As I share this story with you my reader, I also share what it taught me. It taught me that the universe has no obligation to make any sense to me. That it’s my duty to make sense of my life for myself because it’s ultimately all about the choices I make that matters. Whether I fix my bedside lamp or decide to bring light to a dark and pained heart somewhere far away unaware of my help, it's my choice. Whether I make my own new path and walk on it taking in all its freshness, or choose to walk the path worn out by thousands of feet ahead of me and feel exhausted and fatigued in its stench of familiarity, it's my choice. As John Ruskin has put it, ‘The common practice of keeping up appearances with society is a mere selfish struggle of the vain with the vain.’ 

A moment of cogitation makes me wonder if the Holy Spirit residing deep in our hearts must be laughing at our stupidity of faith in the words of the world, in stead of submitting to the word of sense ingrained in us as a birthright. ‘For my people have done two evil things: they have forsaken me, the Fountain of Life-giving Water; and they have built for themselves broken cisterns that can’t hold water!’ Jeremiah 2:13

Tuesday, 28 November 2017


Padmini came in my dream last night. She looked troubled. A part of her face had acid burn marks on it, the sleeve of her dress was torn and her clawed skin underneath was visible. She was not trying to cover it up with any kind of embarrassment like we see most molested women in films do. I felt that she was walking with great difficulty, and yet pride was written all over her face. Her eyes too were wet and red. Probably she had been crying a lot. ‘What did she want?’ I wondered. That pride in her look appeared to not want to bear the burden of the world on her shoulders. She had shirked that honour of sacrifice, because she no more believed that she was a beast of burden, carrying the pride of the men of her world and their so called chauvinist values on her strong shoulders. Her creator had gone all out in his dramatic making. There was tragedy and drama in her life according to him. He had shaped her into an embodiment of love and made her jump into a pit of self sacrifice, the ultimate of womanhood.

I was confused at this visit of hers. Long back somewhere in history I had read about her beauty and how Allauddin Khilji the Muslim invader had gotten attracted to her magnificence and invaded the kingdom of Chittor to take her as his wife. I looked deep into her to have a better look. Yes of course she did look beautiful. It was probably the scars that she wore that added a tinge of attraction to her visage.

Obviously she had something to tell me; why else would she have bothered to come to me in my dream? I looked intensely at her lips to see if they were moving but all I could see was a little tremble. Probably she wanted me to take the initiative. Hesitatingly I began, ‘Look, (I paused and fumbled for words and then as they came to me, I said), I know some bits and pieces of history but I have no authority to ascertain their correctness, because you see, I wasn’t born then. I hope you can understand. Some books say that Khilji defeated the Rana of Chittor in the early 14th century and died soon after. Actually you were not even born then. Am I right?’ Getting no response I continued, ‘weren’t you born somewhere in the mid 16th century in a poetry book of some Sufi, Jayasi who lived very far from Chittor? They say that he created you in his understandings of the longing of man’s soul for his beautiful creator. He made a historical fantasy where he took some factual events and characters and coloured them with his creative imagination. They say that Jayasi belonged to a tradition where love and longing were important parts of life. What were you? Were you really born in the 14th century or were you an imaginary character of a Muslim poet?’

I could see a smirk on her face, and so I continued my questions hoping for an answer. ‘Tell me oh Queen, were you real or just a character of a genre called premakhayam; the Sufi poetry of love? Were you and Ratansen a Sufi portrayal of the sacrifices endured in the name of love for the creator? Was Allauddin Khilji a representation of a world full of its lustful ways?’ I paused my questions waiting to hear an answer. ‘Please do tell me if you were a metaphorical creation, because you are now beginning to scare me’.

By now I could hear deep breaths. It certainly was getting scary. And then it all became human. ‘They burn me today, they kill me because I dare to love, and they rape me to show they are physically stronger! They have never paid attention to me for so many hundreds of years and now suddenly................. these hypocrites; haters of women, misogynists! ......In those days they shamed me. They tied me with ropes of honour, because they always had animal instincts and were scared that the animal in me could be more powerful than theirs. My bravery then, was in making a choice for my life or death. Situations demanded me to jump into the kund in those days. Even today, in many places they don’t allow me education or my choice of work. They leave me with no options. In those days they made my act into a metaphor for bravery and yet today I would never do that. Today I choose to live and fight. It was in fact Jayasi’s thought process that made me so beautifully real. Not that I was not real. My womanhood has always been charming and will continue to be eternal; but must I always be lead to climb to my death? Is killing myself always an answer to prove my worth and honour? My beauty has always attracted the beast in men and then, after all what do they do, they hypocritically immortalise me in books. It has taken them hundreds of years to glorify me after that Bhansali portrayed my character with his creative skills. My descendants suddenly woke up to create a circus of politics around my existence of ‘To be or not to be’. I am; and have always been the most beautiful work of art in creation. In fact, Jayasi in his Sufism created me as unachievable; the beloved God, whom man longs to be in love with. But how many Hindus or Muslims will today understand a Jayasi?  At times they made me kill myself to save my honour and at other times they kill me to save their honour. But today I want to live a life of worth, I want to glorify my spirit, even if they have destroyed me time and again, I want to decide my life, my feelings, my joys. Who are they to tell me whether I can dance or not? They talk of honour, but it’s just their excuse. They don’t want me educated or going out to work. Actually they are scared of my strengths. If I wish to be a pilot, some of them have objections, if I want to be a dancer, some of them again have objections. They want to represent my sacrifice as the pride of all women. Even their educated men believe that the Kund was filled with girls as young as three and women as old as eighty. They soak themselves in pride with such large scale examples of my immolation. Who are they to tell me what I must feel and do? Who are they to tell me what I must wear? How do they know whether I have desires to dance or not? Now after years, Bansali has given me the liberty to feel beautiful and not just be beautiful; and they are angry with him.’

I kept looking at her and listening to her angst. Yes, she was a creation of God and they destroyed her; today she is a creation of man and they want to destroy her again. They fail to give glory to her when she is alive and strive to award her fame in her death.

The poet Jayasi, in his longing for unison with God was believed to have achieved great spiritual powers. I wonder today whether his once upon a time words, of a lotus blooming in a pond being brushed past by a frog living in the same pond and instead a bee from far coming close to it, had prophesy hidden in them. The men of her nation had willingly forgotten her independence; the desires of her humanness, but a Bhansali from far, came and allowed her to express her thoughts as she swirled to soul stirring music. As I was deep in the whirlpool of my thoughts and thinking of how I could be of any help to her, she faded away from my dream and I could hear the birds chirping at my window to announce a new day; a new day, which would allow her to live and rejoice in the times to come. 

As the light of the morning sun filtered into my room through the curtains, I was lit up with hope for a new world; where the new world men would like Jayasi in their search for God, find him in a woman’s heart soaked in his presence. The new Padmini would need more than love for her survival. She would need freedom to live her ways and dance her tunes.
Pic credits: Google