Internal dialogue, externalized

  • Search results for Reflections
  • The Bronze Talisman on the Brink

    The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
    ― Joseph Campbell

    Ten minutes into the conversation the smart articulate young man slides in the info, that he is from IIM Bangalore; ok! for heaven sake, ‘we were discussing movies!? it does not matter nor do I care from where you have passed out, we are not here for an interview and stop acting as if you are on a permanent job evaluation’ I thought, meandering through the purple haze of irritation/amusement;

    He is not the first, he just confirmed my hypothesis that most students who pass out of premier institute have this urge bordering on ‘itch’ to communicate to whoever, wherever, the celestial information that they are from ‘X institute’, their treasured talisman, however young or old they are; you are not spared even in the washrooms; at the washbasin lathering your palms while drifting to nothingness to escape from the suffocating hand wash scent and lo and behold, your Zen moment can be shattered, if you accidentally looked at the mirror and made an eye connect with a stranger from a premier institute; smile, and few words into the conversation, the talisman is flashed on your face;

    The compulsive obsession to share, the ‘Bronze Talisman’ on the faces of unsuspecting victims – where is it coming from? is it to prove a point, or beat the average crowd, the jantha to submission?! or validation? What is this obsession about?

    Probably a manifestation of constant need for a pat on the back; can also be a problem of assessing self-worth in relation to only the degree and institute, or an obsession to prove he or she is better than the jantha around?! Or the pressure of constantly having to live up to the reputation of the institute? Not sure what prompts them to divulge their credentials or flash their talisman on an unsuspecting onlooker, who is dazed or miffed, depending on where the person is in life at that point;

    Let the institute from its illustrious history give them the conviction to handpick their journey and destination; provide them an ability to choose to fight or not, astuteness to select their pit stops or overlaps; find strength to stand even when they fail or fall; and when they fall to reach into their core and discover that power to dust the embarrassment, tend to the wound, and slowly limp back; let them live life with mindfulness that ‘I am unique and I have choices’; the ability to melt into the crowd and be just another being without labels, badges, is a display of strength; it comes from one being settled and at ease with oneself, not wanting to constantly compete;

    When we accept and cherish self, we also comprehend the fact that everyone is on their own journey; one can be super intelligent and have achieved the best, never taking away the credit for being there, but the guy round the corner with little means to resources managing to float is also great, and the rest like distance, height, speed is incidental and very relative in the relentless world;

    It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
    – The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

  • Beyond action into Burgeoning stillness

    “Be still
    Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity”
    ― Lao Tzu

    So much hyperbole on stillness, ‘where the mind is still, it can see beyond obvious’; not familiar with stillness to recognize or realize the state; have experienced small pockets of quietness, so fleeting that by the time I could grasp, the moment vanishes; am left wandering did that instant exists ?!

    As I drift off to sleep after a long weary day searching inside, outside for stillness – notice my mind, as it wanders to the unanswered mails in the mail box, doctor’s appointment, parent teacher meeting, laundry…as I search for tranquility- million thoughts and zillion tasks run by my heavy mind; as I float into the blackness, confused and edgy, the search for ‘stillness’ goes on as the task list overflows like the old women’s woes or track two diplomacy!

    Should I have to go to Himalayas for stillness, no way, am not getting into planning that one! Need to look for it in the underbelly of my busy schedule, am sure under the old books between the daily tasks, around the toppling files, beneath the dirty linen, it is there, hidden – still and sane;

    As I surrender to my reality, a maze of tasks, deliverables, things gone right, tasks gone bad, and accept the reality and slowly breath, gently felt the weight off my shoulders, a small pause; the misty quietness traversed from the corner, shy, tentative with honey touch, engulf me; in that moment did I see the waft of peace, quietude!!

    “Being still does not mean don’t move. It means move in peace.”
    ― E’yen A. Gardner

  • I am the elite-the educated-the intellectual-the class

    I am the elite-the educated-the refined – the intellectual-the class

    Anything great has to have my approval, it needs to fit in, for, I defined the parameters of who, where , when-I know what is best

    I am the thinker-the innovator, the judge, and the panelist on TV-the jury on the talk show-the think tank and the king maker

    I sit on judgment and I am the jury, the prosecutor, the arbitrator; I send the Napoleons and the Lincolns And then Smriti Irani happened without my knowledge, approval or endorsement

    The lowland, the prairie- such insolence- the aunty, the cuddly mom, the black beads chain wielding next door ‘nari’ – where is the degree, where is the accent and where is the refined class – terrible mistake to have education in her hands –the ‘unpadh’ illiterate, the mob, the mass-all the great scholars till now scripted the nation’s glory-the woman, her cheek, the commoner with no degree – I was not this vociferous earlier, but she made me into one

    I forget everything, The finest in me got sucked out – fight for the dignity of women, I forget to decry the sly remarks on her in the parliament, I wasted the opportunity to fume when someone rode rough on her for she was a TV actor or insinuating remarks

    Coughed, sniffed, and twitted a nasty tweet, in the world of mindless black hole called web few splashes of purple snarl and predatory adaptations-I left for the rest to trolley- pale acidic spleen

    When I put her down, forgot to oppose the slander, rancor; or recognize that discrimination goes beyond color, cast into class, I got lost, bared and drained- wasted and spent

    When I learn to my infamy, education is beyond degrees, every human has potential, nothing to scoff – then there will be no elite-the educated-the refined – the intellectual-the class- but humanity and the million possibilities

    (Thanking Carl Sandburg, 1878-1967 with reverence and admiration for giving us the magic ‘I am the People, the Mob’ and the life lived)

  • Confused Identity and Counterfeit Notes

    Who knows truly? Who here will declare whence it arose, whence this creation? The gods are subsequent to the creation of this. Who, then, knows whence it has come into being?

    Whence this creation has come into being; whether it was made or not; he in the highest heaven is its surveyor. Surely he knows, or perhaps he knows not.

    Rig Veda

    Spirituality, religion, rituals are complex and intricate, so is man’s search for GOD the supreme power; ‘God is in you’, ‘God is outside’, ‘search deep and you will find him’, ‘live by the rule book , he will come to you’, ‘you need to remember me ten times in a week’, ‘remembering me on a particular day that will suffice’, ‘you are special because you feed me with delicacies’- countless myths, mysteries and mayhem surrounds religious beliefs or religion;

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  • Bottle to a glass and the broken lives in between

    What is an epidemic? Is it an outbreak of disease or condition? If so, can what I see in my neighborhood be called an epidemic or is it a manifestation of many lives gone haywire at the same time?

    In the past few years, have watched my entire support system at home slowly crumbling; a closer look and it goes back to the same story – drinking, violence and misery; one ‘quarter’ in colloquial language or one peg in the colonized English the substance gives the same results, despair, depression and despise.

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  • Burgundy streaks, platinum jewelry and equality arrived

    Was in a focus group discussion that was called by a premium association body in India; The forum was to discuss inclusive growth around disability, and for some strange reason there were more women than men around the old teak table; tea, biscuits and introductions flowed and crunched, layered deep inside our inhibition and fear of bringing the differently-abled into our workforce – how do I manage, will they deliver, am I doing the right thing for society and organization, where do I draw the line.

    As discussions were doing the rounds on polices and processes on inclusivity, the topic suddenly drifted to gender diversity; am not sure at what point disability morphed into gender discrimination, but my attention was caught by observations and comments from some around the table;

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  • Movers, Shakers and Country Bumpkins

    Tamasha that the movers and shakers of this country did, while we the people, the mass, the ordinary you and me staggered dumb-found like country bumpkins gaping at a software technology park!

    Are Arun Jaitley and Kapil Sibal best friends? why else would Jaitley, with his levels of intelligence, not rip apart Sibal’s take on 2G, Jan Lokpal? This Bermuda Triangle mystery of 2011 is not the all-consuming decay in congress but the cluelessness of opposition, needing Anna Hazare, Ram Dev, media and common man to remind and crusade about corruption, black money, price raise and governance.

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  • Children of a Lesser God

    With Diwali round the corner, wanted to do something worthwhile, so started on my pilgrimage; it had been a long time since I stepped into the school which I loved visiting when I was in Chennai;

    Two years back I moved to a new city and a new portfolio in the job; it felt like being caught in a whirlwind in an unknown territory and I was busy, confused and lost solving my little irrelevant problems and feeling extremely important; deep in a dark, dull corner of my soul was haunted by the thought that I did not do much to Siragu;

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  • Zen and the art of making a perfect cup of filter coffee

    If you are born to an intelligent father, life is difficult; it is more difficult if he knows every single detail in the world and to top it he is a mathematician.

    To my father who was a mathematician, everything was about space, time, pressure, density, direction and the likes; in my childhood, I grew up listening to formulae, directions, speed, distance, quantifying life:why did the cup fall off the table? Because I bumped into the table? No, it was because the cup was positioned at the edge of the table a distance which gave it maximum pull and did not take the pressure and the force of gravity acted on it. Are you there, did you get it? No?! Well, good, I dint understand, or bother to understand either. Why I was finding the square root of a number or trying to decode reflection or refraction of light was beyond my bean-sized brain; talking of bean, the one thing I owe to my father is the formula for a divine cup of coffee; and the story goes thus.

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  • Struggle for freedom after independence

    You may not believe it as a way of existence, but we did exist; before the day you landed in our land, mystified and probably terrified, we did live, leading a life adequate or otherwise, but free; you came in as a trader, and later stayed on to rule;

    They said it was your strategy of divide-and-rule that worked; invaders are not new to my land, we have been invaded, plundered, looted, ruled before; after years of being ruled by strangers in cyclic monotone, we the mass rose as one voice, one soul, to cry and defy; obediently in a line we protested, to express our disobedience and to let you and the world know that we want freedom; we want you to go and leave us to our destiny;

    Pure desi salt; yes, that simple salt was a symbol to express my pent-up aggression and your submission to my rage; 80 years back, for that pinch of salt from my nation’s abundant and beautiful coastline, I fought the might of British to walk those kilometers to tell and feel that I want to be free;

    When I sat to weave my khadi saree it was an urge to wear something that could absorb my dirt, sweat; coarse and rough, but hand spun with pride; pores allowing it to breath; I did not want to die a suffocated death in the ribbons of nylon or rayon, bundles thrown at me with scorn from the shores of the Queen’s yonder;

    Yes, I knew you could lay roads, build dams and railway lines, yet I wanted you to depart, to allow me to experience what I was and what I was capable of becoming on my own, without a patriarch from across the seas deciding my every thought and action; I wanted you to let me struggle to learn the science and art of doing it; I wanted to live and breathe on equal terms as You and Me; in your eyes I might have been the dark, muddy, uneducated, funny looking, emaciated Indian, but I had the right to live, and so I swelled spilled and marched to death and beyond to see my nation liberated;

    The day the flag was hoisted, I swelled with pride and happiness, the mass, the crowd, and the unworthy made it to the hall of power, to choose and run our government, the nation was free and ours only;

    Sixty and after years what do I see? With 1652 languages and dialects, new, old, ancient religions and religious beliefs, varied cultures, I was a sitting duck for the orchestra of politicians and bureaucracy to divide and rule effectively; lines were drawn, boundaries declared, the nation was divided not on distance, longitude and latitude, the lifeless, methodical line on geography but line was etched and seared on differences; and the million differences we had – cuisine, culture, cast, tribe, region, religion, language, dialect as varied as our billion thumbprints!

    Nation-makers realized that I feel safest in a clan – of a common caste, language or social standing; and they have learnt to insinuate and goad me on as I ostracize another man who is not a photocopy of me, who worships a strange god or who speaks an unknown language or worship an unknown God;

    Divide and rule is what the British in pre-independence preached; post-independence, we are divided and identified by religion, community, state, region, language; I am a faceless soul, with my religion, community, language that defines me; a puppet in the hands of the babus and netas;

    Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen the list grows, each with their tryst with freedom and democracy; can I reach out, tell them lessons learnt, to see that they are not again confined/cheated/ruptured by the netas and babus, as we are today?