Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Three Idiots

This post starts a work of Fiction that I intend (actually hope) to complete over many posts that will come over due course. All characters that appear or may appear here are purely fictional and imaginary.
Som Vihar is a quaint little park in the posh locality of RamkrishnaPuram in New Delhi. A prestigious school is also in the vicinity of the park. Students from the school sometimes stray inside the park in the afternoons specially. This afternoon for example, three boys in uniform were seen strolling around, none too happy or too sad, simply lazing, like airport cabs with no passengers or hurries to reach somewhere. From the looks, all three appear to be in the age-group of 14-15. They are Rahul, Satish and John and they are close friends, in fact very close friends. Though they live in different neighbourhood, they actually travel in the same school bus. They not only study in the same class, they always go around together when they are in school and needless to mention, go to same coaching classes. Their teachers and classmates call them '3-idiots' and they actually take it as compliment! Thanks to Mr. Amir Khan, being called an idiot is now respectable in Indian metros among teenagers and kids; in fact it is considered cool. And having fullhouse of 3 idiots? Loooot 'cooler'! In fact lot more cooler that being called '3-musketeers'!
So the 3-idiots were lolling around in the park in the afternoon because their class got over a little early today. The teachers had some important meeting to attend. These boys also decided to have a meeting, the meeting room incidentally is a bench in the park. They call it Open House session, not only the House is open, the meeting also is Open, not constrained by agenda or time limit.
"Man, what this Obama dude is doing, man? He is taking US into another recession! Did you see the news in WSJ, US for the first time in the history got downgraded!"
The other boy corrected, "First time in last 70 years."
"It is still first time in the history of our life-time", the first boy insisted.
"Actually it is not Mr. Obama's fault, US has been living with borrowed money for many years. It had to get out of hand some day", the second boy added his share of wisdom.
"How is US living with borrowed money, dude? They are the richest nation in the world!, Do you know that Mr. Kaushik Basu, the Economic Advisor to the Govt. of India said that, impact on US economy is an impact on world economy. Global economy is bound to be affected by this downgrade?", the 3rd boy who was eagerly looking for an opportunity to interject, was happy now. Some of his lost ground is recaptured, or so it appeared to him.
The 2nd boy was not offended at all. In fact he was happy that he was given an opportunity to demonstrate the power of resources that he has at his disposal. He took out his touch-phone from his pocket. He opened the google page and quickly searched through few pages and gave the phone to the 3rd boy, helpfully, "read those pages."
"Dude, you got an iPhone!", the 3rd Boy almost shouted.
"Dad's phone, man! He flew to Boston this morning. He told me that I could use it till he returns but I must not use his SIM card. So I inserted my SIM"
"He is travelling without mobile?"
"No, man! he is carrying his blackberry. This was his personal phone."
"Your dad is travelling to US now? What is he going to do?", 1st boy tried to show surprise.
"Make some stupid presentation and blabber about his company and his team, what else! That's what they have been doing all the time." His dad is a Vice President with an Indian software company, that they euphemistically call Indian MNC.
"Woh tera Dad hain, Dude!", some reminder of morality from the 1st boy.
"So what, man! Truth is Truth. And I myself heard him telling that to mom one evening".
"what did your mom say?"
"Mom just smiled. Dad tells that his job is to entertain his clients with his little songs and dances so that clients become happy and agree to add few more bodies in his company at the Clients' expense. Mom once asked him why he hadn't left the company when he is so unhappy with his job. Dad said whichever company he would join his job would remain same. Dad said it is not the company per se, it is the industry where the problem lies. He said that he in fact felt pity on his clients since it is them who are in more ridiculous situation. He said his client, unlike him, would have to listen to many other presentations, like his, from executives representing other companies and at the end have to decide who to give him business to when there is practically no difference between any of the presentations and the business discourses that the client went through. Dad said that he could on any day walk into his rival company and make the presentation on their behalf to their clients without looking at the slides and still be applauded for that!"
John said, "Your Dad is so brilliant, man!" John cannot help showing his innocence time to time, probably because he has not suffered affluence and its associated dialectics like the other two boys.
Satish said, "That he might as well be, given that he is a graduate from IIT, but in this case it is rather the lack of brilliance of the industry that he was ranting about."
John's face told that he was hanging between words.
Satish became the history book's noble man again, "Look at this iPhone, dude. It is an awesome product, slick, beautiful. It has so many cool apps, amazing games. You feel terribly happy when you hold it in your hand, don't you? Hold it, man and say it!"
John nervously took the phone in his hand but returned within a moment. He definitely felt that it was beyond his reach.
Satish continued his discourse, "An original product which is also created by a software company. Can you remember seeing a single original product that was from an Indian software company, okay forget original, do you remember any product at all?"
John tried to plug in, " an ad comes in the TV often , I remember. It projects a software engineer fixing an invetment banker's laptop, going to some village riding an elephant."
"Yes, and many more ludicrous stuff like showing a chartered plane waiting on the roadside to pick him up!", cued Satish. All three laughed, John was particularly amused with the way Satish presented. He also thought that the ad was stupidly funny.
"Now..what did you make out about the company he represented", Satish asked.
John lost his foothold. He tried to grope for some hold, "I think..I mean, I thought that ad was trying to tell that his company is helping many people and doing something very hightech".
"Your confusion tells that you aren't sure what they do which apparently is the actual case", Satish gestured as if to tell that he rested his case.
Rahul tried to balance himself between a defence lawyer and an ethical commentator, "High Tech Consulting, you meant, I think. Then again, the dilemma will be faced by any consulting business houses, the very business that they are in makes it difficult for them to define in a clear cut terms what they do. They can only describe in terms of the impact they make."
Rahul is from a very politically infleuntial business family. He hears such kind of arguments more often than most of the other boys in his age-group. With the advantage of being born in elite 0.01% faimily of India, he is far more secure about his future and very much aware of the role he is expected to play in the complex powergame of India's future plutocracy. He knows that he belongs to a very different India than what others think.
"In other words 'Keeping conveniently vague', so that one can use it in anywhich way as one pleases. Dad told once that Software consulting service firms are more about commodity human resources, definitely lot less about Consulting and he hoped that they were at least about software. He said that he hoped because from his position he could not see how much really it was about software. ", Satish was happy that he could remember and use the words of his Dad correctly.
"I also heard a friend, of my Dad, who incidentally is a very respected software entrepreneur in US saying that Indian software industry is still at its adolescence and it lacked the vision and appetite needed to create globally successful products." Rahul wanted to tell his friend that he was not contesting. Being from the family that juggled many hard-nosed politically sensitive issues everyday, he has learned quite early which fight not to pick. John nodded his head, completely missing the point about unspoken communication just happened between his two friends.
John's full name is John Kennedy. He is used to the effect of rising eyebrows that his name creates in the audience. As if to answer to those raised eyebrows he always adds, "John Kennedy without F." Satish, the noble man, does not forget to add his little illustration, John Kennedy without the F-word when he gets a chance. Actually John's family is from Kerala and unlike the way many understood, Kennedy is not his surname. In fact entire "John Kennedy" is his first name leaving the comparison completely out of context. His name is borne out of the deep regard that his grandfather had for the original Mr. Kennedy. John's father migrated to Delhi but not without a stop-over in Dubai. Fact is John's father, Mathew Rejoyce wanted to live in Dubai when he applied for an electrician in a Dubai based company. After landing there, he realised that he got duped. After living almost as a prisoner for six months, he, thanks to intervention from Indian consulate, managed to get a return ticket back to Delhi. He decided against returning to Kerala and adopted Delhi as his new hometown. He still works as electrician in a local company. Sometimes he wonders if his astrologer uncle actually meant Delhi when he said he would flourish in a foreign city.
To Flourish, the Oxford Dictionary defines it as to "grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly congenial environment". Mr. Mathew Rejoyce did Flourish in Delhi in the particular congenial environment of fast growing buildings and influential builders. Today he earns more than what he was promised for his Dubai job but he often gets confused on how much of that is white and how much is black. With passing years he has learned not to get confused between black and white since the world is not either black, nor it is white, it is grey. Remaining in grey is easy and benefitial and advisable too when you have particularly grey congenial environment.
So, grey is good! So did John Kennedy learn from his father. He is as comfortable in his Achan's small house as in the company of kids of some of the most influential and rich family in Delhi. Satish and Rahul find him a viable buffer that they use suitably to ensure that harsh edges of their rich, powerful ego do not hurt each other. Friendship, as it appears, only grows when there is clear and implicit understanding of every member's relative worth.

Friday, February 04, 2011

A new beginning!

Last few days, I am glued to BBC World. I have forgotten what was the last time when I was so eager to watch and track news coverage. Arab world is again showing the promise, promise of new beginning, surge of the great human spirit that is called freedom. Nobody thought the wildfire would sweep across the whole area when the Tunisian government fell. It almost missed to catch attention of most of us when the people's protest brought down one of the long standing dictator regime in Tunisia. Very few thought that there could be any ripple effect till small groups of protesters started gathering in different corners of Egypt, Yemen,.. Jordan,Syria. Once the gathering reached the Tahrir Square in Cairo, people started realizing across the world that something new is happening for the first time in the History. A grand change of wave is sweeping the conscience of people across the Arab world; a change that is spontaneous, that is led by young people in their early twenties. Last time people have seen similar things were during the 60-70s when Ho Chi Min, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara created the history in different parts of the world. It seems that we are witnessing an epoch again. Otherwise how could you explain this: the dictator of three decades who have managed such a good relation with international powers, agreeing to come down without any major bloodshed? How could you explain the Yemeni president apologizing in public and pledging that he will not appear for reelection. How could you explain million unarmed protesters showing amazing grits and determination of sticking to nonviolence with unwavering commitment to stay at the Tahrir Square in severe cold till their demand is not met? The wildfire is sweeping across the Middle Asia. And as I was I watching, reading the accounts of ordinary citizen braving the cold and stones thrown at them while picking up the wounded fellow protester, a strange emotion was welling up inside, choking my throat. I have never been to any of these countries, do not speak any of their languages but watching ordinary Yemenis, Egyptians, Jordonians on the road raising slogan against their respective authority, I was feeling the rush of angst, pain and all different emotions that were playing on the faces of them as if I am one among those countless people suffering through the ordeal of living in a politically strangled, economically deprived country for decades. Unbelievable, isn't it!
I discovered again that we all are connected in a mysterious way, called humanity. We suffer with others, cheer with others. We all share common emotions that get roused in the same way across continents irrespective of our language, culture or religion! I discovered again what it means to be human. I felt happy, happy that I am alive to witness this uprising of humanity.
I just wish that this great wildfire does not stop at Egypt. Countless ordinary people in countries like India, Pakistan, Myanmar are waiting,.. waiting for something equally grand, equally bright to sweep them of gluttony of getting stuck at poverty, manipulation by the political class, manipulation by self-ordained sentries of religion, manipulation by the economically priviledged class, not to mention the pervasive corruption that has engulfed every machinery of their livelihood.
Come, the great wildfire, sweep us, burn us, so that we can taste our humanity again!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Welcoming 2011

I was looking for words that would aptly articulate the feeling that the new year arouses and realized Dickens already have done that decades back when he crafted Tale of Two Cities. Who can match the expression of "It was the best of times, it was worst..."
Wishing and all are done umpteen times already, as have been done for years gone by. Let me rather read some texts and leave it as puzzle for inquisitive minds to figure out the source! Every mind by nature is a self-transforming entity unless it is stuck. Every time the mind is detached off the point it is stuck to, reality gets an opportunity to transform it. All we can ever wish, hope is keep our minds open to the extent of vulnerability, to be enriched by the experiences that keep knocking on our senses moments after moments, every day, every year and not use prejudiced intellect and judgments as sentries!
One must not judge good or bad. One must not label or have any kind of desire or goal in regard to what arises in consciousness. There must be no sense of avoidance, resistance, condemnation, justification, distortion or attachment in regard to what arises, but only a choice-less awareness, and a self-communion is established.
A choiceless awareness-- that is the ultimate key to open the innermost mystery of your being. Don't say it is good, don't say it is bad. When you say something is good, attachment arises, attraction arises. When you say something is bad, repulsion arises. Every emotion is pure by itself and an expression of yourself. Let it be without evaluation.
When you are there without condemnation and justification, then in that choiceless awareness, all psychological pain simply evaporates, as dewdrops in the early morning sun. And left behind is a pure space, left behind is a virgin space.
This is the One, the Tao, or you can call it godliness. This one that is left behind when all pain disappears, when you are not divided in any way, when the observer has become the observed, this is the experience of godliness, samadhi or whatever you will.
In this state there is no self as such because there is no observer, controller or judge. One is only that which arises and changes from moment to moment. Some moments it may be elation, other moments it may be sadness, tenderness, destructiveness, fear, loneliness...
The truth remains; it does not matter whether you reject it or accept it. It does not change the fact; it changes your psychological reality. And there are two possibilities: either pain or joy, either dis-ease or health. If you reject there will be pain, because you are cutting a chunk of your being away from you. It will leave wounds and scars on you. If you accept, there will be celebration, health and wholeness.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wishes for the new Year

Last few days of this year I was reading J. Krishnamurti's commentary. While many times it was a feeling of awe that overwhelmed me; at times, it was more of an exhilaration, a sense of déjà vu that would describe the feeling more appropriately. In a simple language, the way a master craftsman creates his art, almost effortlessly but without a single unnecessary move, he weaved his commentaries. No quotation from ancient text but pure knowledge from a knower for those who have not forgotten to listen. Let me quote few of them here.
"The 'me' exists only through identification with property, with a name, with the family, with failures and successes, with all things you have been and you want to be."
"The known is so small, so petty, so confining. The known is sorrow and yet you crave for its continuance? When all efforts to know ceases then there is something that the mind has not put together. The unknown is greater than the known; the known is but a burque on the ocean of unknown"
"Truth is a strange thing; the more you pursue it, the more it will elude you. You cannot capture it by any means, however subtle and cunning; you cannot hold it in the net of your thought. Do realize this and let everything go. On the journey of life and death, you must walk alone; on this journey there can be no taking comfort in knowledge, in experience, in memories. The mind must be purged of all the things it has gathered in its urge to be secure; its gods and virtues must be given back to the society that bred them. There must be complete, uncontaminated aloneness."
"Love is not mere pleasure, a thing of memory; it's a state of intense vulnerability and beauty, which is denied when the mind builds walls of self-centred activity. Love is life and so it is also death. To deny death and cling to life is to deny love."
"Austerity is the simplicity of inward aloneness, the simplicity of a mind that is purged of all conflicts, that is not caught in the fire of desire, even the desire for the highest. Without the austerity there can be no love and beauty is of love."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Osho on Creativity

Action is not Creativity, inaction also is not. It is action through inaction. It is not a doing; it is an allowing. It is becoming a passage so the Whole can flow through you. It is becoming a hollow banboo, just a hollow bamboo.
The more you think, the more you are. The ego is nothing but all the thoughts accumulated in the past. When you are not, the Whole is. That is creativity.
In creativity is surpassing, otherwise, at the most we can go on perpetuating ourselves. You create a child; it is not creativity. You will die and the child will be there to perpetuate life. But to perpetuate is not enough unless you start surpassing. And surpassing happens only when something of the beyond comes in contact with you. That is the point of transcendence-- surpassing. and in surpassing, the miracle happens--you are not, and yet for the first time you are.
The essence of wisdom is to act in harmony with Nature. That is the message of all the great mystics--Lao Tzu, Buddha, Bahauddin, Sosan, Sanai-- to act in harmony with Nature. Man has to act consciously in harmony with Nature because man has consciousness. Man can choose not to act in harmony, hence the great responsibility.
Yielding to power not of your own, surrendering to a power that is beyond you, is creativity. Meditation is creativity. And when the ego disappears, the wound in you disappears; you sre healed, you are whole. The ego is your dis-ease; when the ego dies you are no longer dormant, you start flowing. You start flowing with the immense flow of existence.
Then you are not an ego but a process of events. Then you are a process, not a thing. Consciousness is not a thing, it is a process; we have made it a 'thing'. The moment you call it 'I', it becomes a thing--defined, bounded, dormant, stagnant. And you start dying. The ego is your death. And the death of the ego is your real life. And real life is Creativity.
When you are creative, you are so tremendously fulfilled, so content with whatever you are doing that there is no question of desire. In your creativity, desires disappear. When you are creative, ambitions disappear. When you are creative, you are already that which you always wanted to be.

from Unio Mystica I

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A strange man

It was peak of rush hours in a busy day. Cars, autos, buses jostling with each other to get ahead in the traffic congested road. Blaring horns, impatient voices, angry shouts, silent curses..there wasn't anything there that was remotely 'relaxing'. Everyone was focused on moving ahead; losing precious moments in traffic jam is the worst thing in everyone's mind. "What a waste of time! Everyday the same scene! You spend the most important 30 minutes of morning waiting in this traffic jam! When will this country learn!", came out from a dejected voice.
Not far from this hullabaloo, a man was seen, sitting on the boundary wall, trying to blow a bamboo flute. He was wearing an unpressed Kurta and a pair of jeans. He had an old-fashioned black plastic-rimmed frame on his eyes. Nothing in his appearance showed any bother about all the noises or rushes below. He was amused by the queer sound that his instrument was making. Evidently he did not have much awareness of the instrument, leave alone training. He was so engrossed with his instrument that he did not notice the boy standing below. The boy probably was going to his school and got distracted by the queer sound of the instrument.
"What are you doing there?", the boy asked, his eyes still trying to figure out the anomaly with the man in front of him.
The man got slightly startled with the question. Noticing the boy below, he took the flute off his lips. His eyes narrowed on the boy's face for a fraction of a second and then got back to normal.
- You seem to have penchant for rhetorics, young man?
"rhetorics?", the boy was puzzled.
"Well, you see me sitting here blowing this instrument, you hear the sound from the instrument and you still ask me what I am doing! Don't you trust your ears and eyes?"
"Yes, I see you playing with that piece of bamboo and making funny sound but I don't understand why you are doing that!"
"So that is your real question! You want to know the Reason.
Hmmm..but I do not have any reason, young man. I just feel like blowing this piece of bamboo."
"Are you alright? During this hour of the day when everyone is going to offices, schools, you are playing flute! Don't you go to office? Don't you work?"
The man did not appear to mind the boy's questions. He jumped off the wall and sat next to the boy on the footpath.
" You see, kid, I am retired, so I don't need to go anywhere", He tried to explain the boy.
-What is retirement?
- Retirement is when your office, your work say 'bye-bye' to you. You are not needed in the 'busy world'. So you are free; you are free to do what you like even if it is blowing this strange piece of bamboo. You follow?
- In school, my teacher says if I don' t study my future will be doomed. If you do not work, what happens to your future?
- Nothing because I am a future-less person. When you retire, your future also goes away. So you become completely free, free from future and free from past.
"Do you see that leaf flying in the air?", the man pointed to a yellow leaf floating in the air.
" You become like that leaf, untied, without any tensions. When the leaf was attached to the branch, it was tied. It would feel the tension when strong wind blows. As soon as it fell off the branch, all its tensions have gone. It is free! Now it will go where the wind will take it. It does not have anything to stick to, it does not have any particular place to go. any place is good for it."
"So what is future then?"
"Future exists when you want to reach somewhere, when you want to be something, when you want to have something. You get rid of them, you become free of your future!"
"wow, that's fantastic!", the boy's eyes gleamed. But then he started thinking, "So if you have nothing to achieve, what will you pray to God?"
"God? why would you pray to God? why would you need a God?"
"Mom said if I do not pray to God, God will be angry and then bad things will happen to me."
"But if you want nothing, what is bad? Bad and Good is what your mind decides. If you do not ask for anything, you do not care for anything, then everything is good for you, isn't it?"
" So you are saying that we pray to God because we want something from him?"
"God exists because you have your fear to lose something or you have your desire to gain something. You drop both, your need for God also disappears."
"Wow, this is great! So ..in fact.. God is in our mind!", the boy said excitedly.
"Absolutely! rather than the God creating you, it is actually you who created the God!"
"But is that true? does the God really not exist?"
"Well, even if 'it' does exist, the question is: does it matter to you? If you do not expect anything from God, God is irrelevant to you. For all practical matters God is irrelevant. However much you pray, if you have not studied well, or answered the question paper correctly, you will not get good score, will you?". The man paused to see the reaction of the boy and the boy nodded.
"Then what purpose does it serve to believe in God? If you want something, you must find means and effort to get it. And you have done something, you own its result too, good or bad. Do you agree?"
"Right! But I must rush to school now or I will miss the classes!", the boy looked at his watch and hurriedly started walking. "Bye bye", the boy waved to the man.
" So long, young man!"
The man went back to his flute. He cannot say whether it is music or noise but he realized that he is enjoying the sound of the instrument and that is all that mattered to him.

Friday, May 07, 2010

“I am dying”, the words came out without any emotion. It sounded like a plain reflection of what is happening to him.
“How do you feel?”
“..Um..I feel.. light, ..very light..
I suddenly feel I have gotten rid of a heavy weight that was tied to me all these years..it feels so nice, I almost feel like weightless feather, floating on air purposelessly.”
“When you refer to yourself, what do you particularly refer to? I reckon that it is not your body, because your body still weighs 70 kg,as recorded by the scale this morning and it cannot feel as light as a feather, can it?”
“His eyes gazed back to the doctor’s face. First it had a puzzling look, then the hardness dissolved gradually with a gaze fixed at a point far off. His face had the peace of a sailor who has finally reached the shore. Just a hint of smile kept hanging on his lips as if he was telling a student, who just failed to solve a simple puzzle, not to worry!
Few minutes later, the doctor pronounced him dead.
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