Being Human

A sad moment of helplessness, a moment of despair in this capitalist world and a thoughtful documentary recommended by a much more thoughtful friend. This was all I needed to unsettle myself for the coming month at least. While getting unsettled is often feared and I have always been bad at handling unsettling thoughts ending up running away from them, this time I embrace this sign of storm. Though I fear the consequences but it’s better than living in the world of lies.

How easy it is let life live itself! To make your mind numb and let the senses guide you. Grab the coffee even when the mind is already hyper and throw off the half empty plastic glass into the dustbin kicking the puppy off complaining how dirty they are and so on. No offense meant, I am not here to make anyone guilty conscious. All I wish to communicate is that it just takes an effort of certain milliseconds to contemplate over one’s action. One is neither completely responsible for poverty or the environment nor can one free the world of all of its problems but one can definitely be careful and hurt a little lesser this already chaotically screwed up world.

“The world is not as bad as you are depicting”

Definitely not, only if there were not millions of people dying of hunger every year, only if there were not millions of tonnes of waste which was being disposed off every day, only if my next generation were to breathe clean air and they wouldn’t need to travel miles to see what green means…..

Most of us who are able to read this have atleast their basic necessitates of life fulfilled, yes we all have problems but they can be overcome. But have you thought about the slum next to the MNC, the shirtless child with a speechless tongue. That’s whom I am talking about. Millions of them. Who see abundance but never see where it goes. The earth watches itself being stripped by the virus of WANT(not need) and she can just watch until the virus has ruined itself to regret.

The only point I wanted to communicate is that a very small thought preceding an action can reduce the damage. It could be as small as smiling at a stranger, watering a tree instead of texting in free time or simply wasting a little less food. It might just be a drop in the ocean but better people can turn a house into a home.

The question is can you make this world into family, a home with a little less hatred and more love?

‘I’, let go

‘I’, let go,

Devilish creature is

hiding in a hole,

Disguise and illusion

are tricks no new,

Faint voice of heart lost

screams ‘I’ can’t hear,

‘I’ wants the control

but ‘I’ is out of control,

Cruel eyes staring

darkness everywhere,

Moment of loss

moment of sorrow,

‘I’ introspects

‘I’ reflects

‘I’ is no more

‘I’, let go 

 

It was a special day. She had been waiting for this occasion since the past few weeks. Often in life we attach to ourselves strings hooked onto someone else’s hand. And before we had realized we would have already lost control. This is what was happening to Shabana. She met Hamiz an year ago on her visit to Mecca when she had lost her way. It was such a coincidence Hamiz was from the same town and she happened to ask him the way out. Her encounter with Hamiz was something she could never forget. His gentle voice and the shy nature had allured her already. Today, she was waiting for him to come and it was already three hours. Every passing second seemed like mountain to be conquered.

But it is not just the mountain of time that she needed to conquer. Though she had made her way back from Mecca to her town, her father died of  a heart attack few days after her family reached back. Hamiz used to meet her everyday since then. She wouldn’t speak a word to him, she seemed to be in a shock. Hamiz would spend hours sitting next to her, sometimes consoling her, sometimes quiet and other times praying for her. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Hamiz saw Shabana becoming weaker and weaker day by day. He felt helpless. Earlier she would atleast smile at his arrival but now life had become a burden robbing her of all joy.

After six months, one day all of a sudden Shabana started to speak but this time of a world unknown. No one understood what she said, she would keep mumbling to herself and not stop until she saw Hamiz. Surely Hamiz had become air she breathed. Her mother found it best that Hamiz should stay with Shabana as long as he can. It was the only way to infuse life into her mind which had gone numb and make her heart beat.

But you know what, Hamiz never came again after her condition stated to deteriorate. In fact Shabana waited for him every day only to end up getting psychotic episodes of schizophrenia. Since six months she has been in the mental institution, caged and tormented. Shabana’s mother could no more handle her unstable behavior and neighbors found her increasingly intolerable.

This world has become too busy to understand the suffering its fellow-men. Suffering for the fortunate ones can consciously be brought to an end but for that not the case for the not so fortunate ones for whom insanity is the reality. And for those who love, insanity is too small a reason to be part ways. Hamiz pleaded to his mother to let him see her but she gave him an ultimatum to choose between Shabana and herself. Hamiz had already sunk into the dark sea of guilt of not being able to help Shabana and now he was refrained from even attempting to help.

Shabana was in tears. It was the day she had met Hamiz. Even in her poor mental condition, she managed to remember him. Probably it was his presence that had given her strength to pull her self out of the blackhole of mental death into which she was dragged day after day.

It was raining and she heard the door getting unlocked. She thought probably it was a hallucination. But few seconds later she could feel someone’s hand over her shoulder and she closed her eyes thanking God. Sweet song of the monsoon rain, magic of Allah’s grace and Hamiz’s one single gaze was enough to bring her back to the world once she loved and yes, she was back this time not insane atleast to herself.

All stories don’t have a sad ending after all!

Her beautiful voice

It happened about two months ago. She was weak and fragile. Sickness seemed to be too fond of her, for there were no signs of recovery. She wouldn’t take the medicines, she hated them. She said they were nothing but slow poison. ” Human body made of organic matter and continuously feeding it with inorganic chemicals with neither knowing their effects nor the credibility of ones who prescribe them, I can’t bring myself to trust something like that. For me illness is an alarm in our body we should respond by taking care of our body, eating proper food and taking proper rest. Its body’s mechanism to let you know, that dude I need help and something is not going right. Medicines undoubtedly turn off the alarm but in doing so they often end up aggravating the very cause of sickness. We got to remove the cause not only the symptoms”. She had quite a philosophy of her own or may be borrowed from someone whose ideas she admired fascinatingly. She was sick but too arrogant to take anyone’s help except upon insistence of her close friend (of whom she doesn’t reveal to me and I guess anyone). But it was with great enthusiasm she described this friend of hers. There are very few who can jump across the boundaries of her cold or may be arrogant behavior to be able to see the fountain of compassion she holds for those she love. I always wonder why people can’t open their hearts for everyone, had at least twenty percent of the population being doing so, the world would be much peaceful and better place to live. And when it comes to her, I don’t like her attitude. She says the world doesn’t understand her but I think that she is the one who doesn’t understand herself. We are a mirror to what lies beneath our skin and bone. I wish I could tell her but I can’t speak. I am only bestowed the power of listening and sincere observation.

Coming back to her illness, she didn’t tell this to her parents. She feared that they might get worried and it will only add to more problems at home. Nevertheless, her father always, yes always knew without her telling how she felt. It took just one little word from her mouth for him to know how she feels. He will ask once or twice and when she would lie to him, he would not force her and ask her mother to talk. Her mother, oh she loved her so dearly. Her voice was enough to make her feel well. She says it’s the most beautiful voice she has ever heard in her life.

But this time it was different. Her parents were apparently busy since a few days and she hadn’t a chat with them. Moreover, when sick she wont let people around her know unless inevitable but this close friend of hers figured out that something is off.

Lets name this close friend as ‘W’.

Now, W asked her to come along and have a walk in the evening. According to W, lying down on bed the whole day would make one feel even sicker. There was nothing that can beat the beauty of nature when it comes to healing.

Beauty is a word I can’t describe, for it means different to different people. But the most blissful moments of life are experienced when one gets this feeling of ‘infinity’ or ultimate appreciation to beauty. Beauty can only be appreciated when it is experienced and it can be experienced only when we become one with beauty or in other words when we become the expression of beauty. Sometimes I feel beauty and love are quite alike, for everything/one is beautiful in love and anything is loved when we see its beauty. Perhaps, it’s just a thought I don’t intend to gain approval or disapproval on.

She met W near the garden full of blooming flowers. It was the season of transformation, spring, birds chirping, squirrels chasing each other and the wind blowing past her face, lifting her curls as if the wind wanted to fly her along and take her to places unknown, places unseen. It was undoubtedly a beautiful evening.

They had just started to talk that W got a call, it was W’s mother. For a moment it struck her that it has been days since she talked to her mother. A sudden burst of anger she experienced as she felt bad, feeling dejected as her parents had not called her. The next moment she found herself guilt struck for having thought such a thing about her parents and realized that she should have talked to them, maybe something might have gone wrong at home. Before she could be blown away in these sudden bursts of sweet bitter emotions, she heard her speak “W’s mother”. The pain was gone, her heart was at peace and mind calm. W’s mother’s voice as she described was a voice she had never heard. ‘It felt like symphony from heaven, voice of an angel’. She was smiling to herself with her eyes closed till W finished the talk.

She says that some call it coincidence, some call it miracle but she belongs to those some who call it God, who is taking care of us in the most unexpected times. Her mother once told her that when a good soul walks the earth, God is seen when you look behind because he will always keep you ahead of himself no matter what, for you are doing his job he will take care of you no matter what. And in my opinion God is not only the one people pray to in temples, mosques or church but God is the very human being next to you. He is crying, she is laughing, he is watching, she is praying. Who is he? Who is she?
For me they are all God, expressing divinity in their own ways, some see it as beauty and others also see it but a little late or sometimes its takes a whole lifetime.

To grow up in a country like India and talk about the condition of women brings a mix of emotions from happiness, pride and privilege to sorrow and shame. To be born as a woman is not a matter of choice but chance just like caste and race. One can’t discuss about caste or race without shame. As Benedict Anderson says even nationalism can’t be discussed without shame, for our sense of belonging to a community makes us feel bad of the wrongs done by it, though we were never the ones who did it.

In a way, I see shame as something good saying, ” Hey! Look at yourself, what the hell have you done?”. It is only the realization that can give birth to transcendence. Shabana Basij-Rasikh of Afghanistan, who started School of leadership(SOLA) exclusively for education of girls in a country where not only it is illegal to educate girls but also where terrorists can knock you down anytime for slightest suspicion. I think there can’t be a better example of courage and encouragement for women empowerment. Not only are the girls who risk their lives for the sake of education brave but also their parents who are ready to take the bullets for the sake of their daughters. It is easy to criticize our own country for having an unsafe environment for women but my perspective took a one-eighty degree turn when I read about Shabana. One can’t imagine the harsh conditions they live in, how difficult it is to study at a place where there is no certainty of life and future.

Shabana wanted to quit but her father reminded her that nothing but education will stay with her for life and they are ready to lay their lives for that. It was such a strong dedication that propelled her to not only graduate from college but also to run one in Afghanistan.

I see here not hopelessness but undaunted courage to create hope

I see not terror and fear but the unmatched struggle to transcend it

I see not hatred but the spirit to break free outdated ideas

I see not violence but efforts to restore peace

I see not a society where women are shunned but respected and supported for their cause

Its amazing and inspiring to see such women who choose to bring out courage and sense of self-dependence in their fellow beings.

We see India where women especially from rural areas, those who work as laborers and many unheard and heard of places are exploited, shunned and treated like objects, bearing in mind the recent happenings to support my claim. As I said we can’t talk about moving forward without encountering shame.

In this country of more than a billion people,  I seriously FAIL to believe that women should be oppressed and that a majority should think so. Our culture considers women as mother goddesses who are revered and mind you every woman is considered a ‘Devi’ or a human form of goddess.

So, how come in a world of goddesses does this gender bias and exploitation emerge? I guess its history traces along lines similar to caste. In India, ‘caste’ as people who misinterpreted say has it has roots from Vedas. I disagree and claim that Vedas classified people on the basis of knowledge and type of work done into four Varnas which no where was indicated to be dependent on birth into a particular family or to be passed down from parent to child. It was the powerful who abused and misinterpreted the sacred knowledge to fulfill their personal and political ambitions.

Coming back to women, it was again the crackheads from more the powerful gender who created the misconception in the society. Work division between men and women has changed from prehistoric times. But this gave rise to prejudices and stereotypes like women are not so intelligent, to quote among many. Violence is another form in which the so self claimed manly people misuse their power and abuse. I had a very bad perspective of men of India before I came to college. I still agree that there are particular places like Haryana, Rajasthan,UP etc where one can feel the gender bias in the air and there are places like Gujarat where you feel you are at par with men. But in general people I see are trying to come out of stereotypes and long-held beliefs. Women are understanding their rights, their power and realizing their capacity of being self-dependent. My parents who had never made me feel the gender difference couldn’t prevent me from feeling it when I stepped out in the real world for the first time(when I started my coaching in Kota to get into college). Also, as I told my belief changed coming to college when I saw many of my colleagues who have such a great sense of equality, respect for diversity and cooperation(be it in terms of caste, race or gender). I have also encountered some who are complete male chauvinist but don’t express it due to their small number.

In my country too

I can’t ignore the crimes against women, for I want to stand against them

I can’t wait for someone to change, because I want to be the change

I can’t feel hopeless, because I see people already awakening and standing up for themselves and their fellow women

I can’t give up, because I have just started to blossom

I can’t feel sorry for my society anymore, because I have transcended and I want others to do the same with me.

‘I’ am not me here anymore, for this is the Voice of the Goddesses hailing from the World of Goddesses.

 

There is nothing that hurts more than being ignored. Is it not obvious why silence is called the best weapon? When the curtain of ominous silence drops, human mind gets puzzled in a maze with no beginning and no end. It becomes impossible to guess what is going on in the person’s mind. This silence radiating coldness implants seeds of hatred and misunderstanding. So subtly these feelings take ground in our hearts and souls that our vision blurs to see the truth, the very desire to understand the truth behind the confusion dies as bitterness gradually builds. Even, unintentional mistakes get magnified as landmarks for the walls that shut every possibility of dissolution of differences. Ego grows and dominates compassion, instead of turning inward we turn outward to anger, rage and violence.

This continues until the saturation limit is reached as we decay in our hearts but after that there is conflict for even soul yearns to stop the suffocation caused by the smoke of negativity. But the reason of conflict that earlier was the cold silence shifts to the landmarks and as the war of words advances, an observer finds herself experiencing the extreme cruelties human mind can conceive as expressed by the sufferer. Ironically, the very problem that the sufferer faced becomes the one he creates.

Often in life we end up becoming what we fought against all our life.

One must hear what is said not one wishes to hear. Only if we tried to understand, only if we kept our ego aside, only if we observed not judged, could we have had an idea of the suffering of that very person who inflicts the suffering upon us and understood that why the person is behaving the way she is. As Gandhi ji said “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” I believe that with a little compassion in our hearts, faith that goodness will only be rewarded by goodness though not fast and that as children of god we all have divinity , just that some express it and other oppress it. There is enough hatred in this world already, your job is to spread love.

The Angel and The Demon.

I quite often think of soldiers on the border who are glorified, for they give their lives for the nation. But wait a second, what about those who die in this process, though few are innocent civilians as majority is the army on the other side of the single line which is capable of creating separatism in spite of never knowing who and what lies the other side.

I don’t know if these brave soldiers have ever given a thought about the question of morality when it comes to killing people. I wonder how strong a feeling is that of nationalism, so strong to suppress the personal conflict. I believe though nationalism is very broad to be defined in words but surely it is a history forced upon us by our previous generation. We believe every single fact without questioning on the name of the nation, it can be as strong as religious footholds and sometimes we are the ones who are manipulated in the name of nation by politicians who see it as nothing but a means to fulfill their political agenda.

Maybe I can talk about this later because right now I am concerned about her.

Today was an eventful day. She picked on fight with a group of college hypocrites who were convincing her friend to let them copy her assignments which she eventually gave without  resistance. I always admire her extreme sense of justice. Nor can she tolerate being treated unjustly nor allow others to be unjust. Justice is a less thought upon by the people of three categories, the ones who really don’t care about themselves, the ones who only care about themselves and the ones who are completely lost. Often, morality is a consequence of being accountable for justice you do to others but not necessarily yourself! Let me clear myself before philosophers start objecting me. I am talking about the practical morality people talk of now-a-days. One may go on with junk food for days and still be moral, after all abusing your own body is not immoral but abusing someone else is. Every human being has his/her own definition of Justice, in a way helping get rid of the guilt that might have followed if they were to follow an absolute law.

In her case she seemed to follow an absolute law. So, firmly was she held by her principles that there was no scope of compromise for herself as well as others. I do know what made her that way. I know the feeling of living a life with no restrictions, so much do we want to have it and now you look at her, so boring so pathetic as you might be thinking. But as Paulo Coelho says in his book ‘Zahir’, freedom is not the lack of responsibilities but being able to choose what you want to be responsible for. I know she has taken the burden(as it looks to me!) of being responsible for justice, be it for a cow, a goat, an ant, grass or her poor classmates.

Now, her classmates were remotely interested in arguing with her. Though their sense of justice which happens to stand nowhere near her absolute law , it was hard to understand what she wanted to say after all she was sharp at her words, often sarcastic and to the point. The conversation ended in bitterness as she moved away saying, ” It’s because of people like you, there is no hope in this world” and getting back even more painful answer, “What an anti-social orthodox *****? Why don’t you go and preach in the nearby temple?”

She walked down the road with her hands clenched tightly and anguish on her face. I know she is now going to curse herself for not being able to convince them, then God for not helping her in spite of her intentions of doing good and finally waste her day thinking about a stupid incident until it is just more than enough to bear. I wonder that she has such a maturity to know what is just but doesn’t have the wisdom to understand that the path of righteousness is the path of pain, the path where one will be treated unjustly and the moment one gives up, the path is no more righteous, for righteousness is also, to do just to oneself and one’s path, accept what comes along the way, resist the wrong until it is hurt by the very pain it inflicts on the just and to believe that always The Angel  will win The Demon, be it the demon in our hearts of anger,lust and greed or the demons of outside hidden and unseen.

 

 

A peek into her world…

Many a times she looked at herself in the mirror and said ‘What’s wrong?’. Now, wrong is a very strong word to say. Often sounds offensive and hurts the ego. I define wrong as something just out-of-place. Conflict arises because of the very intrinsic difference in human nature as what one perceives as right might be wrong to someone else and visa versa.

Coming back to ‘What’s wrong?’ , I am sure she is not alone who feels it that way. Why? Read on…

Lets go to flash back and look at what made her ask this question at first place. Its morning 5 am and she is up, she wakes up with a big smile on her face and sitting up in lotus position, she closes her eyes and remains still until the next 20 minutes. After sometime scribbling on Vuo Riji, she goes on to study. Getting done with the daily chores before the college starts, I can’t fail to observe that she has not interacted with a single person in the past four hours, be it in the room with her roommate or her classmates in the mess. And as I guessed, it continued for the rest of the day. You would be lucky if you heard her voice which she hid like a precious possession. Her presence was like that of air, she is there but you will not observe. It is rather unusual for a college girl to behave that way.

Though at surface she is extremely calm,organized and disciplined but is it the same deep inside her heart? I really didn’t know, until she told me today.  Almost everyday in the mirror she had asked herself ‘What’s wrong?’. She said she always felt why was she so is different from others. She never boasts about herself but I can say she enjoyed the bliss of silence, the sound of the nature and the mental peace from satisfaction she derived from perfection of her work. Her  paintings said what her voice failed to do. Some abstract and some real life in colors, but however still these were, there was a story each of them told. All these paintings had two features in common. One, that they were painted in sober colors and second there was always something unfinished. The flower will be half blossomed, the face will be half hidden, the sky will be half illuminated…..

Surveys show that one-third of the human population consists of introverts. How often do we see shy children bullied in schools and quiet people mocked to be loud and outspoken? Pretty often. As Susan Cain in her Tedx video ‘The Power of Introverts’ indicates that introverts are have their own special strengths and there are cases where they outperform extroverts. In the changing world which boasts about the benefits of teamwork and interaction amongst people working together, introverts lag behind not because something is wrong with them as ‘she’ feels but because there is a conflict of ideas and lost is the need to accommodate introverts in this conflict.

I don’t want to predict the outcome or suggest what the outcome of this conflict should be but I just want her to realize the beauty of her nature and not be bothered by the chattering of the world outside. I want her to understand how she is right in her own way and how she is the sun, though the whole world sings of the silvery moon, it will never realize that the moon can never shimmer without the light of the sun. She needs to know that she has to find how to love herself as much as other love themselves, for being an introvert is just a love a little deeper, a love a little hidden.

I wish I could speak to her but the universe has not equipped everyone with the gift of life, I can only read what’s written on me, see what is shown to me and now I can speak to you of the one who has been the closest to me.

 

 

 

How can one be happy,

When our own fellow men are dying somewhere, 

When peace does not exist in rest of the world,

When not every stomach gets its share of food,

When men of valor exist in rarity,

When hearts of people are filled with bitterness,

When wars are fought on the name of God,

When one human imposes superiority over the other,

When one who stands for truth is shunned,

When children die before they are born, 

When women deny their motherhood,

When the shadow of illusion depletes the inner self,

When there is more smoke than clouds in the sky,

When mind is gross, body is weak and fear drives the machine,

When conscious is blinded in the fog of lust,

When power comes not from unity but autocracy,

When transparency is eluding

When success takes a toll on morals,

When materialism is the new world

When wise men are few and fewer are listeners

There is not a better time to be happier,

For if you are not, then you don’t see what I see

I see a world from a child’s eye,

Clear blue skies,

People with a  dream, a vision of the new world,

With the will of fire that runs in their blood,

Which ignites the minds and the soul of the fallen

The eternal fire of truth, the fire of honesty,

The fire of benevolence, the fire of compassion

The fire of brotherhood, the fire of non violence

The fire of respect for all forms of life,

The fire of protection of mother earth,

The fire of preserving the nature in its purest forms

The fire of bravery and courage to stand up for the right cause

The fire to fulfill our responsibilities as a children of humanity

The fire to give more than we are gifted

The fire to live with a head held high

With the strength of character,

With humility of being a harbinger of peace

The peace that our  ancestors stood for

The peace that our soldiers died for

The peace that we shall now live for

Someone great said practice what you preach!

Just peep a little deeper …

Three simple things that everyone wants from life

Peace, happiness and prosperity,

It comes not from the world you saw just now

Not from the world you and I want to see as

But from the world you hold inside

From the big mind,

Expand it then it’s the whole universe

The whole universe is within you

This is the truth not to be accepted, Not to be understood

But something which when will presents itself to you

Will Engulf your whole soul which will soak itself in the divine consciousness

Like a Zen single minded in your focus

The universe can materialize anything mind can conceive

Practice and perceive,

Practice and preach………..

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