Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Moment of Magic

(Written on 28 September, 2006)

Today happened to be the first time that my professor had a paper published in an international journal. He was on cloud nine. (publishing papers in renowned journals for post-doctoral professors is a big deal.) He is so much in love with the subject that his passion comes through in every lecture. I absolutely love his class.

Somewhere during a discussion, we drifted into Vedic culture and the way Indian society is today. And we touched on the subject of 'value for education'. Education is everything for the Indian parent. They will go through any amount of hardship to make sure their children get the best. So while discussing this, my professor slowly opened his heart out about his journey into Ancient Indian Culture, the difficulties his family faced when he decided to take up something that did not have "scope" (translated as 'potential to earn money') and about times of immense poverty.

He spoke of a time when he was 15 (about 20 years ago) and wanted a book that was quite expensive. A book on ancient Indian history by a well-known author for a princely sum of 500 rupees, which was a fair bit at the time. His father had called him to go to a book exhibition where it would be available. On reaching there, he told his father about his desire to buy the book, not sure whether he would be able to buy it for him. Before getting the book for him, his father only asked him if he would make the best use of it. On getting his assurance, my professor's dad told him to take the book. When my professor asked him how he would pay for it, he told him not to worry about it. While he walked away with the book, he looked back to see his father borrowing sums as small as 50 rupees (a little over $1 today) from colleagues to buy the book promising he would he would return the money to them the following month. And today, when he told his parents about his paper being published in the international journal, they told him the efforts were all worth it.

After telling us this, he simply broke down. It is, by far, one of the most magical moments of my life. I can't describe the atmosphere in the classroom. It was charged. One of those times, when you can hear a pin drop and yet there is so much being said, when you look up at the sky and shut your eyes for a few seconds to acknowledge that supreme Power who blesses all of us.

We ended class on that wonderful high.

I didn't feel like speaking to anyone for a while after that. I just wanted to stay with the moment for as long as I could. I walked around aimlessly for a bit, found my way to the bus stop and the bus ride home is a blur.

I'm sure this pathetic attempt at describing what happened in that classroom does not capture even 10% of the moment. But I hope you understand where it's coming from.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

In Awe

Haathi posted this amazing link on her blog a couple of days ago. So I checked it out and the thoughts from it have just captured my mind since then. I've forgotten how many times I've watched the video and I strongly recommend you see it for yourself.

Over and over, I am reminded of the power the human spirit. You see it everywhere. You read about it every other day in the newspapers, watch it on the news and hear about it on the Internet. But it's not just in them.

It's in my cook who goes always goes the extra mile to see that she makes the food to our liking. It's in the lady who cleans the dishes. Over the 10 years that she has worked with us, not once have I ever found a dirty speck on our utensils and cutlery. It's in the beggar girl who will share her only packet of biscuits with the stray dog sitting beside her. Heck, it's in every one of us.

In fact, it's not even human spirit. It's Divine Spirit. It's everywhere. And it is awe-inspiring. You wont have to go too far searching for it. You'll see it when you look in the mirror.

Thanks Haathi!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sunrise & Sunset Chaser

One of the best moments of any day for me is watching the sunrise or the sunset and seeing the array of colours on God's canvass. I read a beautiful article written by someone who shares my love for sunrises and sunsets called 'When Heaven and Earth Kiss'.

If you love 'em too, do read! Here it is

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's Been A While...

...since I've come here. Dunno why, but I haven't felt like blogging this past week or so.

My classes have been going alright. There are a couple of courses I don't like too much and there are others where I am transported to the banks of the River Indus and feel like I am walking on the paved streets of Harappa. (I'm studying Ancient Indian Culture.)

It's amazing what a teacher can do to mould your views about a course. S/He can make a terribly dry subject come alive while another could make every minute in class feel like eternity. It's one thing to have passion and dedication for what you teach but I also feel it's important to understand where your students are coming from. That's why brilliant professors don't always make the best teachers.

Nevertheless, going back to school has been a nice experience. There are a grand total of four students in class! Not surprising for an "unmarketable" degree like a Master's in Ancient Indian Culture.

Academics apart, one of the biggest changes that is happening in my mind. I've been re-examining my philosophy and approach to life. Some of it is encapsulated in my previous post and then there is some more. More about it in another post.

I have a bunch of your blogs to catch up on! :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It Ain't A Party, But What the Heck

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ok, Stop!

I had one of those 'Ok, stop!' moments. You know when you're doing something or feeling something you shouldn't be and that little voice in your head that has been softly telling you how imbecilic you've been finally says it's had enough and screams 'Ok, stop!'? That's what happened to me.

I'm feeling so much better today. Woke up early, had a good workout at the gym, pushed myself to lift a little heavier, ran a little more than I usually would and it felt simply fabulous. I thought a lot about how I was feeling, the tiredness and everything and told myself I can not let these things pull me down.

Often we get so caught up in the now that we lose sight of the bigger picture. I was so obsessed with the bad things in my life that I lost sight of everything that is going well for me. It wasn't this particular episode that got to me but it was the last straw. Kind of like the last drop of the solution that creates the precipitate in a titration experiment. (Chemistry practicals, 12th grade, it scars you for life!). Whatever... Basically, it was a lot of stuff that ended with that email

I did mail my ex congratulating her and wishing her the best for the wedding. I really am happy for her. The hurt that I felt was because I was being selfish. If I really cared for her, I should have been able to share her joy instead of feeling bad. So I've decided try and put the 'me' thought aside for a bit and be happy for a friend. What we had was fantastic while it lasted, sadly, life had other plans for us. Does that mean we shouldn't move on with our lives and be miserable forever? Of course not. I'm glad she's taken the next step with her new relationship. Graduate student life in America can be pretty lonely and it's good she's found someone she can share her life with.

And me? I've moved on too. Dated a bit since we broke up and it's been fun. Haven't dated for a while though. Crap! And therefore, still single.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I got an e-mail on Saturday morning from my ex-girlfriend telling me she's getting married 'soon'. I was taken completely by surprise. It was a bolt from the blue. She's marrying the same guy she told me she was 'attracted' to before we broke up. There were so many emotions flooding my mind when I first read it, shock, wonder, hurt... I don't know what else. I was caught off guard and it just felt numbing. I felt like a zombie for a couple of hours after that.

For the first time in my life, I felt tired. Tired of what life was throwing at me. The last year has been a real test for me. I thought I did OK with what I had faced earlier. But on Saturday, I was drained. Sometimes the shit gets too much to deal with. It's just that what happened earlier has taken so much out of me that this one felt like the knockout blow.

I'm not feeling sorry for myself at all. I know everyone has their troubles. But it's just that I've run out of a little steam right now. It's the kind of moment when you're on the mat in the boxing ring with the referee counting upto 10 and you're trying desperately to get back on your feet.

I'm pooped. Yet, I know I'll be back stronger.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Consciousness Is All There Is

If you've been visitng here for a while, you must've figured out that I am interested in spirituality and, in general, the search for meaning in life.

Earlier this morning, I went to an interesting talk by Advaita master, Ramesh Balsekar. It was my first time there and another person (who also visiting for the first time) were given seats right in front of him. He spoke of many spiritual concepts during the talk which I could appreciate but there was one in particular that I found difficult to digest.

He says everything that happens is the will of God and that everything is predetermined. To someone like me, who has been brought up shunning ideas of 'luck' and the such, it was slightly unsettling. I've always been taught that you have to work for achieving what you want. Agreed, the achievement of the goal may not be in our hands, but should we not give our very best in something we have chosen to do? If everything was God's will, why would I do anything? I might as well sit back and do nothing because God will do it anyway. And what about the law of karma? Are we not the resultant of all our actions, emotions and thoughts from this moment backward?

I'm not rejecting what I heard. But I'm trying to understand if what he said makes sense to me. I'm trying to find reasons for him saying what he did. Maybe it's just another approach to spirituality. Honestly, I don't know. I'm still trying to figure it out.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In the Company of Stoners

It's strange that almost all of my friends are stoners. And I'm not talking about the odd joint every other weekend. We're talking about 3-joints-a-day people.

There would often be times when everyone around me would be stoned and smiling for no particular reason and I'd be completely comfortable there. I can't tell you the number of times I've been hot-boxed. (If you don't know what hot-boxing is or have never experienced it, trust me, you aren't missing out on anything) My friends say I was passively stoned but I really don't know what it feels like mainly because I've never tried the stuff.

I have to say though that some people make the most intelligent conversation when they're slightly stoned. I don't know what it is that drives people to do it. Maybe it's the high or just the escape from the world. A journey into your own world. They seem to have a sense of idealism. And maybe that's what I like about them. I like being with people who have some deeper philosophy that guides them or people who even question the system. I guess for some people, dealing with the world the way it is gets too much for them. Hence the escape through weed or marijuana or whatever it is that they roll into those papers.

Honestly, I have had my weak moments when I've felt like trying it. I don't know though... I don't fancy artifical stimulants for a high. Certainly not smoking weed or marijuana. I prefer a good run or a workout at the gym. But I think I'm a stoner at heart.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Did you know...

... 'Khan' is an accepted word on Text Twist?!?! Daggit!

By the way, the game kicks ass!

A Room with a View

That's how the world looks from my window. In the centre is the Rajabai clock tower and on its right (or is it left? Crap! I have serious issues with 'left' and 'right'. People tell me it's because I'm a southpaw. Doesn't matter, I still drive hell into the Mumbai cab drivers :) ) is the Bombay Stock Exchange. The sun rises from behind the tower in the mornings and I can't tell you how beautiful the sky looks in its morning glory. Splashed with all shades of blue, purple, yellow and orange. The simple joys of life :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Friend's Loss

One of my closest friends lost his grandmother on Friday morning. It was the irony of ironies. Friday, September 1 2006 was also his birthday. When his mother called from his grandmother's house, he thought it was going to be his grandmother calling to wish him. Instead, he heard his mother sobbing and telling him of his grandmother's passing.

It was only when I texted him asking how his day was going that he told me what had happened. I dropped my work and went to his place. It took me an hour to get there since he lives a little far away from where I am. When I got there, it was a familiar sight. Many people looking out the window, staring into nothingness, the empty look with eyes set on the floor. I helped in whatever way possible. Doing the odd jobs etc. But I was most happy I could be there for him. He was there when my father passed away and was one of the friends who helped carry my dad's body during the last rites. Having people close to you around when the world seems to be slipping from under your feet makes a big difference. They may not fully understand your pain or your loss. But their presence does take away a little pain. I hope and pray for his grandmother, his mother whose has felt her mother's loss the most and the rest of his family.

On life's journey, there are no guarantees. Adi Shankaracharya, one of the great spirtual masters of India, said in his great work, the Bhaja Govindam, 'As water on a lotus leaf is very unstable, life is extremely unsteady.' You never know when the drop will go back to the pond.